Some days, days like today, when the new computer is unsatisfactory and needs to be returned, the old computer is on the fritz (which is why you bought the new computer), but the new computer has not yet been returned and the even newer computer has not yet arrived, the roof is leaking and must be replaced, and the air conditioner, while new, needs to be paid for, you only need to look out at the adorable pupperina to know that everything is right with the world if you just stay in the moment. A dog. That is all.
The pupperina that is. She broke the TV.
The TV was on a table. She was tethered to the table. She’s been tethered to the table many many times before. But this time, she jumped just right and pulled just right and whirled just right. And crash, down went the TV. It fell – just right – and the screen cracked.
We’re headed to Best Buy.
It a good thing she’s cute.
“Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.” ~ Richard Dawkins
As I mentioned in a previous post, agents and editors want writers to have an established platform when pitching a book. I’ve spent the past month consulting experts and reading books and blog articles on the topic while I try a few techniques. For example, I tackled Twitter with some success even though I’m a major introvert. I’m growing my social media following, blogging more often, and gathering additional subscribers to my email list for Write Now Columbus.
No matter which book I pick up, which expert I talk to, which blog I read, the bottom line comes back to one thing: Generosity. If I’m not offering my followers and readers valuable information, I’m doing both of us a disservice.
Learning this reminded me of a saying I heard years ago. “You have to give it away to keep it.” Seems like a paradox, eh? But in yet another area of my life, it’s proving true.
The books and blogs and experts talk about “noise to signal ratio.” If there’s too much “noise” (Buy! Buy! Buy!) and not enough “signal” (Here’s a helpful thing.) people will turn and run. If I follow someone or subscribe to their blog and all they do is pitch their wares, I won’t hang around.
Why would I expect this to be any different when the tables are turned?
To address this, my current experiment is to share 99% useful or humorous (laughter is also a gift) information. I offer techniques I’ve found helpful, answer questions, and (of course) share cute animal photos. Cue #Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog. Use her hashtag on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts!
The remaining 1% of my platform is sales pitch material. This might be a link to my newsletter, a request to follow this blog, or an announcement of a class I’m teaching. It’s just a fraction because, when people think of me, I want them to see me as helpful and entertaining rather than as someone chasing after their wallets.
The unintended consequence of trying to be “of service,” is that I no longer dread “marketing.” More than once, when I’ve been sad or in crisis, a mentor has advised me to reach out to help someone else (unless I’m in a deep deep depression for which I need medical intervention). Invariably, just as in the rest of my life, if I can be useful when promoting my business, I feel better too.
What is your experience with being generous in business? I’d love to hear about it!
Despite her name (Scarlet as in “Scarlet and Gray,”) the pupperina is wholly uninterested in this sports thing probably because it does not include doggy snacks.
And no, I am not writing. Sometimes you need a day off.
When I first began blogging in April of 2006, I thought of each title the way a poet might. The title didn’t so much introduce the “poem” (blog article) as enhance it. It was its own “line” in the poem.
I was idealistic and much younger then. I was still in MFA school.
And, I hadn’t read this stack of books on using social media effectively.
With overburdened schedules and a flood of information, readers scan titles for the helpful or entertaining. It is the age of the micro-blog, the mini-article, the itsy bitsy essay. If the title doesn’t catch a reader’s attention, it is lost.
You’ve probably already noticed a change here. What I might have previously titled, “The Farmer” became “Good? Bad? How Can You Tell?” and what I contemplated calling, “The Introvert’s Dilemma” was posted as “Twitter for Introverts.” These are still creative, I hope, but more informative. They promise information.
Don’t worry. I’ll still post photos of #Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog with silly titles.
Those promise to entertain!
And now I shall go enter “Effective Blog Titles” into the google machine and see if the experts agree.