Connecting – Part II: Search Engines

In the last post, I talked about the main way clients and I connect: referrals.

Today, I’ll talk about a different way of connecting that happens much less often. Clients don’t often find me through search engines, but when they do, my circle of connections is greatly expanded.

In late 2004, I received a phone call from Ton-Nu Phuong-Thao (or more easily PT) with questions about my editing services. She said she and her husband Kenny were translating her parents-in-law’s memoirs from Vietnamese to English and looking for an editor. It was only when I suggested a meeting that she told me she lived in Dallas, several hours away from my home in San Antonio. When I asked her how she found me, she said she had done an Internet search for “editor in Texas.”

In our early conversations, I told PT that memoirs and family histories usually have limited audiences unless the subjects are already in the public eye.  But when I read the chapter she sent for a sample edit, I realized this was a story that needed to be told.

Editing the book was both a joy and a challenge – to preserve the individual voices of Truong-Nhu Dinh and Tran Thi Truong Nga and the beauty of the Vietnamese language style while making the book easy for Americans to read. Then I introduced the Truongs and their book to Grace Anne and Ken Schaefer at GASLight Publishing, who loved the story as much as I did. The Last Boat Out: Memoirs of a Triumphant Vietnamese-American Family was published by GASLight earlier this year and has received excellent reviews. (2/1/08: The book is now out of print.)

More recently, I got an e-mail from an Air Force reservist deployed in Afghanistan, Ted Janicki. Ted is writing some articles for the base newspaper and inquired about editing because he wants to produce an excellent product. He found me through a search for “editor.” I did a sample edit on an article he sent and found the article well-written, informative, and touching. He mentioned that he and a buddy were keeping journals while deployed, and I suggested he post to a blog. I know many people would be very interested in what he has to say, and the blog can be the basis for a future book.

He was hesitant at first – he has little free time and wasn’t sure he wanted to commit so much of his limited leisure time to writing. However, he is now motivated and has become the Air Force Spokesman for You can read his updates at I think you will like reading his posts and hearing what it’s really like for our troops. I look forward to editing future articles for Ted – and hopefully a book in the future!

You will also find a wonderful opportunity to support our troops. Any Soldier, Inc. was started in August 2003 by a family to support their son and his comrades. Sergeant Brian Horn, stationed in Iraq at the time, volunteered to distribute packages to soldiers in his unit that didn’t get mail. The effort has grown from a family supporting soldiers in a single unit to an organization supporting troops in all branches of service stationed in harm’s way. Learn how you can help at, which includes links to pages for all branches of the service.

Ted’s Internet search for an editor connected me with a writer who has great potential. And it introduced me to a great organization that I didn’t know about, which I have now introduced to you. I hope that connection will also help Ted share his experiences and inform and touch many readers.

Search engines don’t produce a lot of connections for me, but the connections I make can be powerful.

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