The Ride with Mr. Billboard


“Be Curious and Open to New Ideas. Have fun.” Perhaps, Bobbie Christmas, the book doctor, isn’t referring to designing an ad for an electronic billboard.

We, my husband and I, hadn’t designed a billboard ad until last week.

The Experiment In Stream of Consciousness:

I attempt to adjust my attitude and discard the negative this couldn’t possibly work.

I jump in, pick my budget, sign location, prime time slots or not, days of week, upload the design, and hit submit.

Nada. I can’t tell if the program took the upload, but it sure took my credit card info.

The next day, an email: The design must be approved by the moderation board.


I read the instructions again–feeling my stubborn gene kick in,

Make the decision not to pay for the pros to design it.

Change the font,

Eight seconds to catch somebody’s attention,

Minimum amount of words,

Takes five words or less…

I need my husband’s attention and his help.

I discard the headshot. The graphic art of the book cover works. Submit.


I list Half Price Books at Suburban Shopping Center instead of an address for the 2-11-18 book signing,

Insist my website address be on the design,

Put my ego aside,

And play email and phone tag with the rep. in a different time zone, California, or wherever for several days. Mr. Billboard Co. isn’t sharing all the rules.


Of course, I could pay the professionals to design it. I don’t.

I bug somebody with photo shop skills to do it–my poor husband.

We look at the sample ads again. Red background, white letters are best, NOT black letters. Dah! Submit.

We leave on our trip to an Alabama wedding on Friday. Although I’m checking my emails obsessively, no reply from Mr. B.

I make the decision to pay the pros if I have to…or risk embarrassment. The sign is mentioned already on my Facebook.)

Return home.

Beg my husband to call the ad rep, because I have four appointments back to back.

Vetting process: sales rep sends our design to the moderation board for approval for the third time. I already know it will take 24 hours or longer. S L O W.

Don’t give up. Be patient. I work on something else. I write, stew, and go into billboard denial,

Have a beer,

Watch a PBS special,

Answer a hundred emails.

I wake up from a dream about a graphic design demanding to be changed from a PNG to a JPEG. The design speaks to me. “It’s comparable to writing a children’s book: every word counts, figuratively and literally.”

I’m losing it.

Mr. B sends me a promise email. I’ll receive updates from the company about the number of views, blips, and cost per day and per week. Approval pending.

Sure they will. They can’t even return an email in a reasonable length of time. Wait. The ad has been up since Saturday. It’s Monday! Mumble and grumble. I trust nobody and nothing now, but…

I did receive updates, and my sales went up. Smile.


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