Why You Need Call to Action in Your Infographic

Creating an infographic for your nonprofit organization or business is a great way to boost awareness, increase conversions, and generally entertain and attract viewers. But while we get caught up in creating the most amazing infographic possible, we often forget one teensie-weensie little detail: the call to action.

If you’re unsure of what a call to action is, it’s basically a direct action that the person viewing your infographic can take to interact with you, your nonprofit, your business, or your product. If you’re a nonprofit, a call to action can be something like, “Donate to our cause today at www.____.com.” If you’re using your infographic as an advertisement for your services, a call to action could be, “Contact us today at xxx-xxx-xxxx to get a free quote!” or “Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!”

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Better yet, why not advertise your business or your services by giving people a taste of what you have to offer, or a way for them to interact with your cause? A call to action doesn’t just have to be a direct order to follow, like, or donate. It can be anything that gives people the tools to act on what they’ve learned from your infographic.

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The whole point to using infographics is to get people to engage in new ways with your idea, product, service, or cause. If you don’t include the call to action, people may walk away with more information but they won’t have a way to apply it. Give your audience a call to action, and boost your business, idea, or nonprofit cause to new heights.

Using Infographics In Lieu of Web Copy

As a startup, small business, or even a more established company, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the quality of your website and the content therein. In the “Digital Age,” people Google your business name to see what you’ve got before they decide to invest in your services, product, or message. Obviously, you need to make the best impression possible. But how do you make the best impression possible without boring people to death with plain ol’ text?

Keep it Short and Sweet

One recommendation for improving existing copy, or creating awesome new content, is to keep it short and simple. People didn’t read War and Peace when it was assigned reading, so why would they want to read a long webpage now? Of course, there’s a ton of really important information you need to include in your web copy to make sure people know exactly what you offer, what your successes have been, and what your business or company in fact does. So how do you do this without making them read an entire novel?

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Infographics, of course!

Using an infographic on your website, rather than pages of copy and text, can help attract readers to your site and create conversions (subscriptions, sales, clicks, etc.) better than simply having pages and pages of stuff to read. While you may think your business is fascinating, sometimes your information comes across as drool-worthy. Spice it up!

Need an “About Me” page? Use an infographic! This is especially great for startups, freelancers, and individuals who are the face of the company. Investors and consumers alike enjoy knowing the person behind the product or service they’re purchasing (without reading a novel).

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Want to explain why your services are better than the competition? Using infographics to show the two paths a person could take can get the point across much better than saying “We’re better than everyone!” You can show … rather than tell.

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Do you want to have a memorable image you can use for other marketing as well? This approach works really great if you’re in the service industry, or plan on having a large marketing campaign for your product. One consistent infographic or template/style can help people recognize what you’re promoting.

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Have a blog or specific message you’d like to share? Supplement the page with an infographic that summarizes the content. Not only will it look great when shared across social media, email, and more – but it will also help people remember more of what you said!

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As you read this blog, didn’t you find yourself looking more at the images than the text? Did they get the point across and illustrate the different techniques better than words alone? This is the power that infographics have! Not to mention that infographics are a unique way to represent information; people and consumers are drawn to the novelty and creativity that infographics provide. Stand out from the crowd! Use infographics on your website and within your web copy; your business will thank you for it.

Show us how you’re using infographics, whether to spice up your web copy or in other ways! We love seeing what you create. Comment in the comments section below, or show us what you got on Twitter and Facebook!

So You Made an Infographic… Now What?

If you’re new to infographics, or have only used them a few times, you may be wondering what exactly you can do with them once you create them. Creating an infographic is half the battle (as you now know), and you want everyone to see your awesome work, right? Using Easel.ly’s infographic templates is easy, but what you decide to do with your images once you’ve created them is entirely up to you. Nevertheless, here are a few recommendations to make sure you get the most bang for your creative buck.

Share, Share, Share

With Easel.ly, you can download your image straight to your desktop or phone/tablet’s camera roll, and share it across your social media from there. You can also save the infographic to Easel.ly’s “Public Visuals,” and let fellow Easel.ly users see the awesome stuff you’ve created (and maybe even use it themselves). Use the JPEGs, PNGs, or PDF files in promotional materials, for a page in your book, for a classroom lecture, or for a boardroom presentation slide. You can also use these infographics on your personal or business websites, on your blog, or in your emails. Whichever way you choose, your information, cause, or business will get a lot of exposure. But how do you know how many people are using, sharing, or viewing your infographic?

Embed and Link

When you create an infographic using Easel.ly, you’ll see the “Share” drop-down menu in the Creation function (when you’re editing and building your infographic). There are choices to share by email, share with link, or embed the code. If you share by email, your contacts will be sent to view the email in Easel.ly’s “Public Visuals” section, and same with sharing the link. Using the Easel.ly space, you can also embed code that will take people directly to your image, and allow them to either use it themselves, or use it as a template for their own infographics.

 

If you have a blog or a website that you’ve created the infographic for, or you want to insert the image into your email or some other form of web-based communication, we strongly suggest that you embed the code. This allows your infographic to appear exactly where you want it to on your page, and has the added bonus of letting people see the infographic in larger detail by linking back to Easel.ly’s site.

Don’t know what embed codes are? Neither do we!

Just kidding! Basically, embed codes are lines of code that you source your image from – the “home base” of the infographic, so to speak. So whenever someone shares your image, that embed code follows the image, and the audience of anyone who shares your infographic can engage with it on Easel.ly when they click it. Embed codes are the little links at the top of images that often come in the form of “Click here to view larger image” or “Easel.ly” in the case of our platform.

But how in the world do you get the embed code?

Step 1: In the Creation window, click “Share” at the top of your toolbar.

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Step 2: Drop down to “Embed Code” and click it.image01

Step 3: Click “Copy” to save the code to your computer or mobile clipboard, then hit “Done.”

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From there you can insert the code into your blog, website, or email template by inserting the code into your “Text” or “HTML” fields when creating a blog post, web page, or email in your chosen platform. Any time someone copies or shares your image, it will automatically embed the source and send people back to your infographic here on Easel.ly.

 

Bonus tip: Want to know how many people have viewed your infographic? In the same drop-down menu as the “Embed Code” button, there is a “View in Browser” option. Click that, and you’ll be sent to the URL page for your infographic. In the top right hand corner, there is a counter for how many views your image has earned (clearly, we have some sharing to do for the infographic below).

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Have questions? Comment here or ask us a question on Twitter or Facebook.

Using Infographics to Promote Your Startup Business

Whether you’re bootstrappin’ it or trying to find investors to help you grow your business or share your message, you’re always looking for some new way to reach more people. While you’ve probably used infographics to help you share data or just spice up a blog post, have you ever considered using infographics to help you market your startup?

Cheap and Easy

Compared to other methods (SEO, online ads, social media promotions, etc.), infographics can be a bootstrapper’s best friend. Why? Because you can do them “in house” (in your mom’s basement, if that’s where you’re living right now) for just the cost of an Easel.ly Pro Account ($3 a month, in case you were wondering). After creating an awesome infographic, you can share it across multiple social media platforms, via email, and even in your media or press kits, affiliate marketing information, and more. Total cost? $3 and a couple hours of your time.

Why Use an Infographic?

Consider how many words people see or read in a day; some estimates say we see up to 55,000 words a day (not that we read them all). To catch someone’s eye, you’re going to need more than just a block of text. On top of that, investors and consumers alike are inundated with marketing campaigns; the average person is exposed to about 5,000 ads or brands in a single day – they don’t engage with the majority of them. So what do you need to stand out from the crowd?

Using infographics to reach your investors or audience will make sure that your information is actually engaged with (someone opens your email, link, or blog), and they help people retain the information you provided. The visual centers in the brain actually trigger responses and memory better than the written word; people will remember what they saw more than what they read. Use this to your startup’s advantage!

I was hoping you’d ask that question. Infographics are traditionally used to… drum roll please… show information in graphic ways. Crazy, right? So think about what information you have about your startup, whether it’s data, your goals, your other affiliates/investors, or how long you’ve lived in your mom’s basement so you could bootstrap this whole thing. The more unique and captivating your graphics and your presentation are, the more attention you’re going to

receive.

Need some ideas?
You can tell the history of your startup:

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You can highlight your target audience or consumer demographic:

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And you can introduce yourself:

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You can highlight the growth of your startup:

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… and so much more.

Infographics are one of the best tools that a startup has in their arsenal to attract attention. The price is right, and you get amazing returns. Set yourself apart from the crowd so your startup gets started!

Have you considered using infographics for your small business or startup? Show us! Connect with us on Twitter (@easel_ly), Facebook, and Instagram (@easel.ly).

Show vs. Tell With Infographics: Making a Point With More Than Just Words

Infographics are, obviously, for sharing information in graphic ways. But many people still use infographics as a way to tell their points rather than show their points. This could either be because using images or objects in an infographic can be time-consuming (trust us, we know), or because there isn’t clear enough data to illustrate your point. For nonprofits, using visual information can result in a huge amount of response. A really good infographic campaign can boost awareness, increase donations, and result in more volunteer recruits.

Why Visuals Matter

Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners? That means that the majority of people are going to choose a visual image over a block of text any day. When you use symbols, graphics, or clip art in your infographics that make a clear point all on their own, people are more likely to get drawn in and retain the information. As a nonprofit, you want sensitive information and data to stick in someone’s brain so that they can recall it later and continue to interact with your nonprofit or your message.

Visuals also cause a faster emotional response in the brain. Think about it- what will make you cry faster? An image of a sad puppy, or reading a block of text describing the sad puppy? Especially when you’re discussing an emotional topic like the struggles of American youth, you want people to be drawn in and react to the information you’re providing. Imagine the infographic below being only a block of text. Would that get people to donate or volunteer?

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What If I Don’t Have Data?

The hardest part about creating an entirely visual infographic is that they (seemingly) rely heavily on the presence of data. If you don’t have data, why not use infographics to share your projections, or the number of people your organization has helped? You can use images that invoke an emotional response, or use infographic templates that show the intended outcomes of your nonprofit’s program(s). Focusing on the visuals just gives you a chance to approach your campaign in new and creative ways. Make it visual so you can make it happen!

Using Infographics to Teach the (Real) History of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, more commonly referred to as Cinco de Drinko, is a Mexican holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, a small city in Mexico. No, it’s actually not a holiday dedicated to drinking copious amounts of margarita mix. Shocking, right? Well in case you were wondering how to actually demonstrate the history behind this holiday without driving people to drink, here are a few infographics you can use. You can also use infographics to explain how Cinco de Mayo has evolved from the holiday it once was into the holiday it is now. See the infographics below, or create your own to illustrate the history of the day, as well as the commercial event it has become. This is but one more great example of how we can use infographics to engage, entertain, and educate.

History of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for “Five of May,” for those of us who don’t know a lick of Spanish. It marks the day that Mexico won their victory over France all the way back in 1862. It all started over a “little” disagreement over debt repayments in 1861, which ended in France and much of Europe knocking down Mexico’s door to get their money. France liked Mexico so much they tried to take over, but the Republic of Mexico fought back. On May 5, the tiny Mexican army beat out over 6,000 French troops.

That’s something to celebrate, right?

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Cinco de Mayo Today

Cinco de Mayo was celebrated in memory of the Battle of Puebla throughout Mexico, and is still big hurrah in Puebla to this day. While it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day (which is September 16, in case you were wondering), Cinco de Mayo was a major event for the country and the Americas in general, and was celebrated heavily in the 18- and 1900’s.

It also marked a day where other countries could celebrate Mexican heritage and culture. Many places began celebrating with Cinco de Mayo festivals, the U.S. incorporated it into their holiday calendar, and it was a big deal for Mexican immigrants living outside of their mother country. Then, over a century later in 1989, Corona decided to capitalize on the event, releasing ad campaigns supporting Mexican-American diversity conveniently around the time of Cinco de Mayo. Thus begins the association we all have with Corona and Cinco de Mayo.

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So… no. Cinco de Mayo is not actually a holiday honoring the Patron Saint of Patrón or Mother Margarita. Hopefully you can use these infographics to properly illustrate the history and actual timeline of Mexico’s biggest victory over France. And please leave the sombrero at home when you go out for cinco drinkos.

Bonus Trivia: Since Cinco de Mayo, 1862, no country in North, Central, or South America has been invaded by a European power. I’ll drink to that!

Reasons You Should Thank a Teacher Today

It’s Teacher Appreciation Day, which is part of the longer Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States. Today is the day to let your teachers, your children’s teachers, and your college professors know how awesome they are (or were). They don’t hear it often, so make sure you let them know.slika1

Did you know that the average teacher’s salary in the U.S. is about $50,000? While many people consider that to be a decent salary with even better benefits (Pension plans! Summers off!), teachers spend more time working in 9 months than most people do in an entire year.

Aside from planning the curriculum and actually using their skill set to teach us vital information, they have to deal with district standards, misbehaving kids (you), cranky parents (probably you again), grading homework, and all kinds of stuff we can’t even imagine.

In light of all that, it’s easy to understand why the majority of teachers who quit do so within the first five years of being hired. After that, about 30% of all teachers leave their jobs before retirement, citing “low pay” and “large work load” as the main reasons.

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And yet, the teachers we all know and love stuck around and dealt with our confused looks, bad attitudes, and terrible essays. So why not give them a big hug, shoot them an email, or… make an infographic about why you love them?

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From Easel.ly, we’d like to thank all the teachers out there for their big brains and even bigger hearts. You’re awesome!

11 Activities Using Infographics & Data to Teach The Election

 

US presidentAre you using infographics to explain or teach the election?

If not, you should be.

The election is a treasure trove for infographics and data representation.  There are so many things to analyze during election season–candidates, issues, numbers, polls, statistics–this is the infographic lover’s jackpot.

Without visuals, we surely would drown.

The 2016 election is capturing the attention of the nation unlike any other election for a very long time.  Take advantage of this to teach about the American political system, showing students how to show off election issues that will make the difference for a long time to come.

How do infographics enhance the election?

You can use infographics to teach candidates’ views, look for patterns and alliances, take and represent poll data, and count delegates leading up to the conventions.

Teach candidates’ views:

Create infographics focusing on each candidate.  Whether you’re creating a timeline of the candidate’s life or looking at candidates’ positions on critical issues, this helps students get to know who’s running.  You can do this several productive ways.

Activity One: Assign students or groups to research each candidate, preparing age-appropriate guiding questions for each group, then compile the information and create one giant web-style infographic, showing where candidates overlap and clash.

Activity Two: Have students display the infographic about their candidate, giving a short presentation objectively outlining the candidate’s platform. Prepare a guided note sheet for listeners to record critical facts from each presentation.

Activity Three: After hearing group presentations, have students use their note sheets to create a position statement as to which candidate should be elected.  Students can then write a persuasive piece using evidence from the presentations, notes, and infographics.

Make a delegate tracker:

Many news outlets already have these, but a student-generated delegate tracker means they’ll have to follow the race in real time up until the convention.

Activity Four: Create a spreadsheet or a table with several key states–or if you’re real data junkies, all fifty states.  Have students track who’s winning which state, showing the number of delegates he or she has won.

Activity Five: Next, have students or groups create an infographic delegate tracker to display the number of delegates each candidate has captured as the election unfolds.  Politico and other news outlets have delegate trackers, but the value here is working with massive amounts of data, unpacking it, and representing it as a class.  It’s exciting to see which candidates are pulling ahead.

Take and analyze polls

Polls help students understand election issues, but they’re critical in real life, too. Students can do so many things with polls and infographics.  Research is a skill they’ll use in their careers, and learning to conduct and interpret polls can be a big part of that.

Whether students design and analyze a simple A/B test or a complex issue-based poll, the results will look like a pile of unusable data until it’s properly represented.  Teach students how to sort, represent, then analyze the data.  This is something the best CEOs, scientists, and academics do–and must do well.

Activity Six: Have each student or group design and test one election-based question.  Teach students how to frame a question so the results will be objective and reliable–and point out examples of leading questions used in the news today. This is a great time to teach lessons on yellow journalism, sensationalism, propaganda, or show students how to look for objectively-sourced news.

Activity Seven: Students should conduct their polls.  Require students to interview a minimum number of people.  This helps students develop confidence.  They’ll quickly learn how difficult it is to get cooperative subjects.

Activity Eight: After students have conducted their polls, teach them data analysis.  This is where a quality infographic comes into play, as they’ll need to show off their data once they have analyzed it.

Activity Nine: Students can use their infographics to self-assess by reflecting about the polling experience, examining the quality of their questions as well as the questions of others, and asking “What does this data mean?”

Activity ten: Ask students to display their infographics by posting to a digital or physical walk.  Do a virtual or real gallery walk to ask and answer questions about candidates’ records and positions based on the data and poll questions students chose to represent.

Who’s going to win?

Activity eleven: Top off these exciting activities by asking for a prediction.  “Who is going to win?”  Students will need to pull from all the sources, infographics, and data to predict, then show how they arrived at their conclusion.

Post their predictions and see who wins.  It’s a long road to November, but everyone likes to pick a winner.  If you teach the elections using research, data, and infographics, students won’t just watch the election on the news–they’ll start to feel a part of the American democratic system.

Infographics for Teaching Classic Literature

Classic Literature 1When was the last time you were one with your Shakespeare? 

If you’re the English teacher or drama coach, you’re probably pretty up on your Hamlet and MacBeth. The rest of us–not so much.

These works can be pretty daunting for students and mere mortals alike. Even with Sparknotes, Thugnotes, and reading Amazon reviews, the classics are tough to understand. They’re classics for a reason. Students benefit when they understand the timeless themes and masterful writing gifted to us in these works.

“That’s just like…” Every time I assign reading that resonates with students, one or two will hang out after class and discuss similar situations in their lives. They find modern applications for the classics when they understand elements of the story. They become storytellers and future writers themselves, seeing that modern day novels and blockbusters like The Hunger Games are brilliantly repurposed themes from classics like George Orwell’s 1984 and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

Writing and storytelling have never been more critical, according to Robert McKee, the author of “Story” and instructor to the stars. McKee feels there is a drought of story these days, so it’s critical we study the craft.

The way students experience the literature is changing. Web writing, advertising, YouTube, Snapchat and Vine are condensing the story, and short pieces dot student landscape.  Students must be able to learn the elements of “story,” in order to create universal pieces, whatever their medium.

Whether they’re reading, predicting, or decoding a piece of classical literature or writing and producing short bits for their YouTube channels, the craft of story is critical. Good stories have universal themes that can apply anywhere with swipe of a pen. They draw the reader in and evoke surprise.  They make the reader say, “Wow…that could’ve been me.”  These themes are what we experience when we read great literature.

Understanding the classics on many levels increase written and cultural literacy, helps students dive more deeply into the human condition, teaches problem solving, relationships, and interdisciplinary subject areas.  Ultimately, students learn to tell a good story themselves.

Unfortunately, many students ask, “Can’t we just watch the movie?”

Here’s where visual learning comes in.  Infographics help students decode the more difficult elements of the story so students can access the text better as they read.

“I thought infographics were about data.  How can I use them in English or Language Arts?” 

Last week’s infographic feature was all about data.  We showed how even the youngest students can use infographics to represent, analyze, and decode data, layering on more complex levels of information as they master data skills.

The novel is all about relationships, patterns, and themes.  Alll of this is data, too.

Characters, plot twists, events, story elements, and rising and falling action are all things that can be drawn, plotted, or represented in an infographic. Showcasing patterns and relationships are where infographics shine.  The study of literature has all of these in abundance.

Ideas for using Infographics to teach novels and story:Classic Literature 2

Lesson Ideas:

Students can create, critique, and analyze elements of stories, relationships between characters, themes, events, and action in the story using infographics.  Students can use infographics as blueprints to work through stories and create stories of their own.

Lesson 1: Create an infographic of a story the class is studying.

Option One: You, the teacher, can create infographics in advance to prepare students.  Create them to show the characters, plots, and elements of the story to give to students instead of notes. In this way, students have a visual model to reinforce what the class is learning.

Option Two: Give the class an infographic on all of the above elements, except remove the characters, plots, or elements, having students fill them in like a note outline as the class studies the story.  In this way, students are piecing together the story as the plot emerges.

Option Three:  Give each student or group of students one topic for which they will create and present an infographic to the class.  This option allows students to take ownership for a complete area of research and analysis, practice skills in groupwork, and use public speaking skills in a presentation.

Lesson Two:  Create an infographic tying the novel with other things.

Take any great novel, and you’ll be able to connect its themes and events with other fields.  Have students use a novel you’re studying and create an infographic tying it in with each of the major subject areas.  Students should find a relationship between the story and characters and modern-day news stories, mathematics application, physical education, music, science, technology, and careers.  Have students clearly show how the plot, characters, and events in the story connect with all of these things–and more–in the outside world.

Lesson Three:  An Infographic Assessment. 

Create an infographic for any of the following, and have students supply the missing sections as an assessment.  Students must be able to explain or defend the way they completed the infographic with evidence from the story.  Use some or all of the following areas:

  • Elements of story
  • Story timeline of events
  • Themes of multiple stories
  • Relationships of characters
  • Cause and effects.

Lesson Four:  Pure fun.

Have you ever studied the Shakespearean insult?  Shakespeare’s characters had more wit than the modern day Yo Mama joke.  Make an infographic–Rated PG please–showcasing some of the more biting Shakespeare retorts along with a modern-day equivalent.

Lesson Five: Villains in LIterature.

If you’ve studied a lot of literature and you’re heading toward the end of the year, why not have a capstone assignment showing off all the villains from the major novels you’ve read.  Or, if you’re a glass-half-full person, show the good guys, too.

How should I start?

There are endless ways to use infographics and visual learning in teaching literature.  Try a few in your class today.  You’ll be letting students express themselves while helping to create organizers and visuals that take complex subjects and break them down, making students love the classics they read.

Below are hand-drawn infographics.  Art by Nicole Silvia.  Both are amazingly beautiful, but even teachers without art chops can create beautiful graphics using technology today!

Family Tree

CienaosdesoledadMy students are reading “One hundred years of solitude” with another teacher, and they told me how difficult they find to read a book with so many characters, many of them sharing the same names. I remember that when I was in high school and we read the same book, I made a family tree in the first page of my book so I could understand who were they talking about. It was very helpful and I was always coming back to the first page.

I decided to make a Buendía family tree for my students and for myself, because I am a big fan of the book. For the background I used a bright yellow color because I wanted it to look tropical, like Macondo, the mythical town where the story takes place. I started making little squares for the names of the characters, the ones of the Buendía Family I made them green and the other characters had blue squares. Then I just joined them together and added the numbers of the generations on the left side. Under the “Objects” label-nature I found a very beautiful green tree and I put it behind everything and then made it a little transparent. That was a great final touch.

I loved this idea so much that I’m going to do another one with the characters of Star Wars and give it to my brother. I already printed this one and glued it to my “One hundred years of solitude” copy.