There are times when entrepreneurs have to take a stand. Plant their feet. Stick to your guns. And damn the consequences. This was one of those times.
A while back, Charlene found out about a publisher who was looking for long format blog posts on writing books for her blog. As usual in these cases, there was no actual promise of anything beyond the exposure that one would get from this activity.
We talked about it a bit and decided what the hell. Maybe though this activity we could make contact with a budding Tony Robbins or John Sandford or someone of that ilk and skill level and work with them to help grow their reputations, their brands, and their sales.
So I dug down into my archives and found a couple of posts that I thought were suitable and Charlene wrote a couple of new ones and we put together a little 5 set package.
Now the thrust of our effort was to make sure that nobody who was considering actually writing a book was entering into this process wearing rose-coloured glasses.
Books are a highly competitive marketplace, and the demands on writers are Herculean, to say the least. And when we formed our partnership, one of the founding principles was to be true to our own characters, which are very much in the ‘tell it like it is’ vein.
So the posts we submitted were decidedly free of the aforementioned rose-coloured glasses, as you can see from the titles:
• A Branding Strategy For Authors: Ignore At Your Own Peril
• Who is Your Audience? Who is Your Customer?
• Consider Giving Your Book Away for Free (Something To Think About Before, And After, You Write That Book)
• Ways To Make Money As An Author – (2 Parts)
As posts go, these were rather blunt instruments, designed to make sure that people know what they are getting into when they decide to write a book and or get into the book writing business.
Since Charlene and I are both people who have written books, we weren’t speculating on this world and since a couple of authors I know personally had shared their book writing and publishing stories with me we weren’t exactly writing from a zero experience/insight base.
In business, a lot of times, the only way to find out what’s real and what is not is to run something up the flagpole and see who salutes. (pardon the corny pun).
The publisher in question actually accepted three out of five of the posts we submitted, with some suggestions for ‘modifications’.
But it was in the posts she took issue with that she revealed her the true character of her business.
After reading the correspondence between the publisher and Charlene, we got together and talked about this situation.
The conclusion we drew, was simply this: This publisher was looking for posts that would communicate all the positive aspects of writing and publishing. (10% of the fun) But she was very reluctant or even, one might say, not in the least interested, in posts that describe the reality of what is a rather cutthroat business. (90% of the not so fun).
The Sticking To Your Guns Part
After a bit of discussion, (and we always have very productive discussions, because we are good partners), we decided that If we can’t tell a whole story to the people who would be reading these posts, then we didn’t really want to be part of that particular process.
Charlene’s Last Word On This Matter
“Thank you for your candour and comments…Please believe me when I say I have thought long and hard about your request for changes.
We clearly serve the opposite ends of the same market with two very different viewpoints. You like to shine a light on the 10% of the market who are brilliantly successful and use them as excellent examples to motivate the 90% who are much less so. I help the folks who inhabit the 90% of the market which become jaundiced or frustrated and want to know how to get a return on or what’s next for their investment.
We both know that being an entrepreneur is not all rainbows and unicorns and is never an overnight success story. Being an entrepreneur is hard work, takes a plan, involves strong laser focus and dedication, and excellent execution. Stuff that is not really understood or necessarily deemed essential in the beginning. And without which, success is nearly impossible to attain.
You are clearly a successful publisher with a winning formula. I admire that. I am a successful entrepreneur who just happens to be an author. Negative comments is part of my ‘mantra of trust’ and how I have earned the nickname “Bullshit Slayer”. Accordingly, I will respectfully decline your offer to guest post. And wish you nothing but huge buckets of success.”
We both understand being positive when you are selling. But the business we are creating is, in as much as we can control it, not going to be encumbered by bullshit of any kind.
We want to make sure that people understand the reality of any given situation before entering into it, ( as is the case of people deciding to write and publish books).
And we want the businesses we deal with to understand what we honestly feel needs to be done to eradicate their pain points, move to the next level successful, pull off an acquisition, streamline their operations or even just implant a system that will make them more efficient, productive and profitable.
We also understand that sometimes potential opportunities are not going to be perfect. Our job, at the outset, is to determine just how imperfect any situation might be to make it worth the effort required to alter, improve or repair it.
Sometimes it won’t be our cup of tea. Sometimes it will be beyond repair. But most times it won’t. But sticking to our guns or adhering to the principles that are our cornerstones is something on which we have to always stand firm.
We have a monthly email series devoted to sharing how we think. Interested? Sign up.