The Birth of a New Word
Sports fans have probably become accustomed to the term escapability over the years. Primarily used in reference to football quarterbacks who have the ability to scramble and avoid the rush, the word is freqeuently bandied about in pregame shows. For example, Mark Kelso, color commentator for Buffalo Bills radio broadcasts, told ESPN that “You can have all the athletic ability in the world and the strongest arm in the world and great escapability, but if you don’t understand the game and what the defense is giving you and know your guys, you won’t be successful.”
In this older example, Don Banks of SI.com writes that while Michael Vick “is celebrated for his rare talent for escapability on the field, Vick won’t completely out-run the cloud that is now cast over his NFL career.”
I’m not a big fan of escapability, but I’ve accepted it. Sports is, in many ways, defined by it’s lingo and jargon, so it’s not surprising the term has become commonplace.
However as much as I may grudgingly accept escapability, I hate the word drinkability.
In what might very well be the dumbest fucking marketing campaign ever, Bud Light has decided to brag about it’s ability to be drunk (drank? drunked? drinked?). I’m supposed to be impressed because I can drink a drink?
How about McDonald’s bragging about the eatability of their burgers? Why doesn’t Sony proclaim their televisions have watchability?
Now, the marketing genuises out there will say that my very irritation at this idiotic Bud Light campaign proves it to be successful. “The fact that you took time out of your busy schedule of searching eBay for a CC Deville’s BC Rich guitar with the Nagel paint job, playing Dance Dance Revolution, and taking naps, to blog about the beer campaign shows it has made an impression on you,” Mr. Marketing Man says. “And other people are going to read your blog, therefore spreading and reinforcing the campaign even more.”
Maybe that’s true. But I know one thing, I won’t buy any of their beer. Granted, my beverage tastes generally run to Mt. Dew and a little bit of Grape Nehi now and then when I really want to tie one on. I realize my beer dollars aren’t big enough to cause Anheuser-Busch any anxiety but it’s still the principle of standing up to a ridiculous term.
“But that word was created by a bigtime marketing agency as part of a $48 million dollar campaign,” says Mr. Marketing Man. “It gives beer drinkers more tangible reasons to buy the suds.”
If bragging about being able to put a liquid in your mouth and swallow it is a “tangible reason,” then I guess Mr. Marketing Man is right. But as writers, aren’t we looking to display more tangible reasons for editors to purchase our work? What better to push prospective editors over the edge than a catchphrase?
So I’ve decided to follow the marketing leaders and coin my own term: writeability. Instead of just saying an author is a good writer, I’ll say, “William Faulkner possessed tremendous writeability in his day.”
In my query letters, I’m going to brag that “My publications and wide variety of past experience illustrate my writeability as it applies to a variety of markets.” That should do the trick. Editors and agents across the industry will chat about my attention-grabbing phrase and I’ll get more work and contracts than I can handle.
It’s all about the writeability. Which of course, yields books that have readability, meaning that they can be read.
Agents and editors, I’m now alerting you to my phoneability. I’ll be enjoying my chair’s sitability as I await to enjoy your book-contractability to cash in on my work’s readability, made possible by my writeability.