For You, “All Signs Point to Yes”


Jen Adams

I’m not sure how old I was when I was first exposed to the wonders of the “Magic 8 Ball,” but I do remember sitting with my girlfriends in middle school, shaking the ball over and over until we either got the answer we wanted or had bubbled over the little window in the top.

And yet, despite thinking of it as a children’s toy — these days it’s sold by Mattel — the Magic 8 Ball is actually most popular with adults.

We care very much about our futures. We’d love to have a clue as to what’s next for us … whether we’re on the right path … even if we have to ask something as silly as a black billiard filled with purple liquid and a 20-sided dice.

Perhaps that’s why the Magic 8 Ball started life as a serious fortune-telling tool, inspired by a real-life clairvoyant in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Madame Mary Carter made her living as a fortuneteller, offering visitors answers from “beyond the veil” mysteriously scratched out on a chalkboard. In the 1940s, her son, Albert, used her branding for a product he was certain was going to be a best seller … a portable, pocket-sized tube you could ask yes/no questions about the future.

He partnered up with Abe Bookman to form Alabe Crafts, Inc, and the duo put out a cylinder filled with a dark liquid and light floating dice … the “Syco Seer Miracle Home Fortune Teller.”

It flopped. So they tried again, putting the floating dice in a smaller tube, and then later, an iridescent crystal ball.

Nope. That idea didn’t work either.

But it did garner the attention of an interested customer — a group out of Chicago, Brunswick Billiards, who wanted to know if the crystal ball could be replaced with an 8-ball and used as a fun promotional give-away item.

Oh, why not? The product was dead in the water anyway … surely it wouldn’t hurt to turn it into “The Magic 8-Ball” for a marketing push!

No, it didn’t hurt at all. Turned out, a new, less serious look was just what the product needed. The Magic 8 Ball became one of the hottest gift items of the 1940s and 1950s … and still sells approximately 1 million units a year today.

A great outcome — just not in the way the inventors had expected. But unlike Albert and Abe, you don’t have to wonder what the future will hold for you when you’re a writer.

Though you might be constantly inventing new headlines, hooks, and angles for your clients, you’re actually on a proven path. Direct marketing traces its origins back hundreds of years, and continues to generate trillions of dollars in sales.

Plus, unlike desperate toy inventors, you can shape your future to be something you’ll truly enjoy by choosing specific niches … working only with clients you like … and focusing your energies on products you love, whether they’re serious products for adults or fun toys for kids (of all ages).

It’s all about what you want for your life. So what do you see as your ideal future as a writer? Whether you’re mid-way in your journey or just starting out, I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

Then, tomorrow, I’ll reveal how writing lets you start fresh on the future … as many times as you want … just like a unexpectedly popular, no-batteries-required toy from the 1960s.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: December 22, 2015

21 Responses to “For You, “All Signs Point to Yes””

  1. I write to understand things and then to pass them along to others. As a scientist I found that, when I was in the flow, I was often the pen or a scribe, not the sole author. I have ten self-published books and more on the way and I am still learning about marketing. I write on how science ans spirit are coming together for the first time since the Ancient Greeks. Back then these great thinkers said that science and philosophy were the two sides of the one coin of knowledge.

    Guest (Jesuis Laplume)December 22, 2015 at 1:54 pm

  2. If I had a fairy godmother, I would be at the web intensive. I would have been the first in line. I don't, but I am so excited about the My Money Making Website work I'm doing with Nick Usborne. I can't tell you how much I wish I'd found you years earlier. But I know good things come when you're ready. My magic 8 ball gave me AWAI, and I am happy!

    Guest (Anne McDonald)December 22, 2015 at 2:09 pm

  3. Hi Jen, I'm looking for a portable income that I can use to make more flexible choices with. I want to work primarily in the mornings and from wherever in the world I might wake up that morning. I have been travel writing a bit but don't see any immediate steady income from that and so I have turned much of my energy to copywriting.I'ts easy to get side tracked and the abundance of material and reading can be overwhelming at times. I clearly see it as a way to accomplish my portable income goals

    Jed VaughnDecember 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm

  4. Just starting on copy writing path. Huge TY to writers (Writer’s Life/Barefoot Writer) as their enthusiasm is encouraging & contagious!
    Been writing (not realizing it was “copy”) for years. Ads, logos, contests, product descriptions (my eBay Store) & welcome/renewal + membership offers for a professional org. Having just moved to mountains of NC, I’m now ready to reinvent myself!
    Hoping to connect w/writers overwhelmed & needing help w/small projects allowing me to collaborate & learn from working professionals & build my portfolio w/o having to land clients immediately. Suggestions would be much appreciated.
    My Barefoot Writer wish for 2016... Hang out a shingle - Professional Copy Writer! Happy Holidays!

    Sundance1484December 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm

  5. Hi:I have always wanted to write a book. People tell me all the time that I need to write a book about my life, I just can't seem to know how to start a book, and then what to do? Life is such a mistery, I have had alot of different things happen in my life that people cannot understand why, but it has happened. I would love to write about what I have seen and what I would love for my life to really be like. Sincerely, Becky Eckert

    Guest (Becky Eckert)December 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm

  6. First, good chatting with you at BC. Having just been healed of Graves Disease after 12 years and battling back from diabetes to no longer being diabetic, it has lit a fire under me to help others beat diabetes and other auto-immune disorders. 1 of my magic 8 balls... I want to write to inform and help others. That's what I want!

    Guest (JJ)December 22, 2015 at 3:25 pm

  7. I am very intrigued with your writing ideas. However I am limited financially. So it is necessary to be very careful with the business ventures with which I become involved. Also. I need to find the activity you've presented that is going to provide me with the highest potential to financially succeed. Can someone provide me with further information regarding this angle of interest?

    Guest (Someone Seeking More Information)December 22, 2015 at 3:25 pm

  8. Hi Jen,I am getting started soon.I'm drawn to Grant writing,so I think that's where I'll begin.That seems to be the only choice that appeals to me.thank you,Bruce

    Guest (Bruce)December 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm

  9. I want to write about real things, inspiring things that when read, will give the reader hope, joy, confidence that someone out there has been thru what they are going through and are still alive and smiling. i also would like to write to children. i have five grown children whom i taught to read, write and speak with great articulation. i am brand new and would really like to make money writing.

    Guest (BJ)December 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm

  10. I would love writing from home.I am retired from the legal secretarial/assistant field; had my own business as legal secretary/assistant and bought and sold apartment buildings, writing my own advertising; once had employment inquire of an advertisement written by me. Any suggestions?

    Guest (Opal)December 22, 2015 at 4:53 pm

  11. So I outlined a business plan that I feel will revolutionalize this industry to one of you fellow copywriters and never heard a word back if you,were really interested in me and my writing you would have accessed this information.I don't mean to,sound rude but the idea that I would pay you to show me how to copywrite is ludicrous sorry the methods that your company uses to attain capital is insulting and out dated.The new way is coming and it will be as beneficial to the copywriter as well as the company sorry if I come off as mean but this mentally feels like a scam and you know who suffers are the copywriters as a whole sorry Hugh Hogan.

    Guest (HughHogan)December 22, 2015 at 5:19 pm

  12. Where to begin but with a gift. A hope to communicate, well pleasing in sight and sound. Growing up with readers, always in class. A library at my fingertips. high spirited inquisitiveness. The baby of the family. A raskel with a big heart, a twin. One an introvert the other extrovert. The business world of sales and promotion of a wholesome life. With all the spiritual content. It seems some have the nack, to turn a phrase. As a composing musician, inspiration is well noted. I'm 58 now, a lot of water under the bridge. Nevertheless with a broken down body, compassion and desire both a gift of life, make me reach higher than I have been before. Love of your fellow man can be a driving factor, love of God the inspiration.

    ronw13December 22, 2015 at 6:25 pm

  13. Fantastic story Jen! Looking forward to the rest of this week's emails!

    Steve CoombesDecember 22, 2015 at 6:31 pm

  14. Hi Jen..I've always written, my whole life. Mostly for my family and friends, poetry. I also wrote letters to inspire or lift someone's spirits. I've always wanted to write other forms but I've not really perused it. I know my gift and love for writing is from God. I love it. And will always write. My Mom did also, she always said you never should have to pay for publish. If you're good someone will pay you. Because I always entered contests. Haha.. thank you Jen for all you do.

    Guest (Angela Allison )December 22, 2015 at 7:32 pm

  15. Lots said about writing but nothing about how to get the clients. Join AWAI? Probably when I earn a dollar with writing. Until then, I am not a writer, am I?

    Guest (IVANHOE)December 22, 2015 at 8:27 pm

  16. I love to write about so many different things, which is what appealed to me about AWAI. I would like to get the point where I can pay for my horses and new barn with my writing. I also love the freedom that it would afford me to travel.

    CSMBSDecember 23, 2015 at 3:55 am

  17. I see myself being able to afford to stay home and practice my religion in security. Being able to have the expensive diet plan I choose for myself. Getting the (alternative) medical treatment I desire and need. All along with being able to recover from my illnesses in a secure place and the comfort of my home. I see myself taking Karate and kickboxing classes, and taking writing classes. I see myself being able to afford nice gifts for my family and friends, and being able to loan them and give them money. I can't wait to get going!

    Guest (Shahidah)December 23, 2015 at 10:52 am

  18. I have already written enough newspaper columns, poems, essays, and posters to wall paper Georgia. problem is, I have no marketing skills, hate to sell anything, especially myself and my work.
    All Best, Elizabeth

    Guest (Elizabeth Andrews)December 23, 2015 at 4:59 pm

  19. Jen you have some great insight on writing ideas! I love the description on the 8Ball discovery. As I moved to the next post in my e-mail I Found a pitch Describing a model of the new Star Wars droid BB8. The roly poly robot is the latest lucrative 8Ball take out there. Now that's a magic 8Ball!

    mike1000December 23, 2015 at 10:03 pm

  20. As a retired professional music educator and a continuing church minister of music, I believe that God can use my life experiences to positively touch others, just as God is going to use AWAI and Joshua Boutwell to enlighten mine.
    I have been an insulin dependent diabetic for fifty years. I wish to encourage other diabetics that they too can find God's purpose and plan for their lives, and be successful.

    Sincerely in Christ, Pamela Diane Worley

    Guest (Pam D Worley)December 25, 2015 at 2:35 pm

  21. As Leonardo da Vinci's reincarnate, my future is predetermined.

    EXACTLY half a millennium ago when he was EXACTLY my age (63), he was about to be laid off by The Holy See. And without unemployment benefits, he'd be forced to leave his homeland Italy for France where, under King Francis, he'd be the Court's events' planner for his few remaining years.

    Though I plan on living longer, perhaps MY King Francis is Pope Francis. And my lifeline's the very Holy See that turned on Leonardo[?].

    Guest (Chris Morris)December 26, 2015 at 8:25 pm


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