The Review Board

Where Honesty Never Ends.

Chandra, Change, and Citizen Science (Dec Author Spotlight)

chandra_clarke2Chandra Clarke
Website | Amazon Author Page | Twitter @chandraclarke

Greetings!  The Review Board here to feature one of two December Author Spotlights, Chandra Clarke.  In this interview conducted by No Labels Unleashed, she explores Chandra’s many hats—author, blogger, businesswoman, mate, and mother.

nolabels-tfts
Hello Chandra.  Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with The Review Board.  What are three random things no one knows about you, and you are sharing for the first time?

Let’s see, in no particular order:

  • I’m a gamer. These days I don’t have heaps of time to play, but I generally always have a current obsession. I find them a good way to relax.
  • I love to cook. I particularly like planning and making holiday or celebratory meals, and I usually try two or three new recipes for each of these meals, which I’m told is slightly insane.
  • My second biggest weakness, after books, is flowers. I love to have fresh cut flowers around, and I’m really looking forward to overhauling the garden in front of our house. Right now, it’s the same fairly boring green bush landscaping job it was when we bought the place a few years ago. I hope to tackle it next season.

Very interesting indeed.  Although I love flowers, I am butterfingers when it comes to maintenance.  Another interesting thing I discovered on your website.  I read a post, calling for Facebook to ban motivational quote pictures.  How did that come about?  Was there any particular event or series of events that brought that post to fruition?

That post came about because for a while there, my entire feed was filled with motivational quote images. I’m definitely a fan of positive thinking, but a little of this goes a long, long way. And at a certain point, just sharing motivational stuff becomes a substitute for real action.

Logo of Scribendi via Scribendi.com

Logo of Scribendi via Scribendi.com

What inspired you to develop the two companies Scribendi.com and Inklyo.com?

Scribendi.com provides editing and proofreading services to clients, small businesses, and large companies around the world. I started this company back in 1997; I had been working as a managing editor of a newspaper and was seeing all kinds of really awful press releases coming across my desk— text that was badly spelled, off message, and with terrible grammar. I realized there was probably a good market for an on-demand editing service. I left my job and put together the first iteration of the company, and it’s been growing like crazy ever since. We now edit nearly four million words every week, and employ more than 250 people.

Inklyo.com is our content writing startup, and it provides things like blog posts, articles, product descriptions, marketing copy, and so on. We acquired the company last year and we’re really pleased with its growth so far.

Out of all the services offered on Inklyo.com and/or Scribendi.com, which one is:
(a) the most in demand
(b) the one that is the most beneficial to any professional
(c) the one that is crucial to an aspiring writer
(d) a service that is helpful but has not be acquired and/or is underutilized

  • Our most popular service by far is the blog content service, and it’s also the one that’s most beneficial to professionals and companies.  Study after study has shown that websites that have a regular blog get better search engine rankings, more traffic, more customer engagement, and more revenue.
  • In terms of a service that is crucial to an aspiring writer, I’d say that would be the editing service we provide to authors at Scribendi.com. It’s really hard to see your own mistakes, and it’s even more difficult to be objective about your own work.
  • At the moment, the least popular service is probably our newsletter copy service at Inklyo.com, although it still brings us a lot of business. I think that this is because many businesses are distracted by social media and spend a lot of time there. But the best way to reach customers is via email and newsletters; they’re far more personal and relevant than other forms of outreach.

What is citizen science and how did you get interested in the movement?

Citizen science is where average citizens like you and me can do real science to help answer the big questions facing us all. You don’t need a degree to get into it either.

I got interested in this many years ago when I was a member of some science advocacy groups. At the time, there wasn’t much that the average person could do, apart from reading some articles or donating money. For example, if you were concerned about the plight of the monarch butterfly, you could fund research, and maybe read the annual newsletter.

Website: Citizen Science Center
Facebook

Twitter @citizenscience_

Now, with all the citizen science projects available, you can actually do something about an issue. For the monarch question, you can buy and plant a monarch way station, which is a mix of plants that monarchs feed on. You can even acquire and raise monarch butterflies and release them into the wild to help bring back the populations.

There are so many other ways to get involved with citizen science. If you’re interested in history, you can help transcribe the diary entries of soldiers. If astronomy is your thing, you can examine images to look for galaxies, or sun spots, or debris disks. If the incredible toll malaria has on children in developing countries concerns you, you can run a program on your computer to help us learn how to control it.

What’s the biggest impact citizen science has had on your life?

Citizen science has shown me that there are many really good people out there who genuinely want to make a difference. The news is filled with stories about how awful people can be, so this has been a wonderfully restorative antidote.

bethechange
Tell the readers more about your book Be the Change.

Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science is an introductory guide to citizen science. The first part provides a deeper explanation about what it’s all about, the history of the movement, and why you might want to get involved. The second part provides a sampling of projects you can get involved with today, so you can dive right in.

Be the Change is the first book to get ten stars from all assigned reviewers on The Review Board. How did that make you feel?

I knew it had been well received, but I didn’t know until now that it was the first book to do so well. That’s both awesome and humbling. As a writer, it makes me feel like I did what I set out to do, which is to provide a clear explanation of citizen science and to raise awareness of the movement.

Do you have any future writings on the horizon?

For sure. My husband and I are working on a book that will talk about the art and science of being both a parent and an entrepreneur; we hope to release it in the spring. I’m also working on a sci-fi novel, but that’s still in the outlining stage.

You are a lady of many hats. Which hat brings you the most fulfillment and why?

Tough question! If I have to pick, I’d say that on the business side, I love the fact that we help people communicate clearly, and in turn, that helps them achieve their dreams. On the personal side, homeschooling our kids has been tough, but very, very rewarding. I love seeing them connect the dots on concepts, and sometimes, we get into some pretty deep conversations at the dinner table. They’re getting a way better education than I got!

blackdivider
Chandra, thanks so much for stopping by The Review Board.  Thanks to everyone else for reading.  Feel free to like, share, and subscribe.  Have a terrific day!

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About nolabels

I have an appreciation for the unique, love for all types of art, and fierce attractions to brilliant intellectuals (from book smarts to street smarts). Lover of humanity but feel humans have lost their way, just trying to stay true to myself as conformity threatens to take me away. Simply one head, many crowns: Author. Reviewer. Columnist.

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