Wherein I make excuses, warnings and other comments that have nothing to do with writing how-to books.
Wherein I make excuses, warnings and other comments that have nothing to do with writing how-to books.
My apologies this is a long post but I felt it was important enough to warrant my time and yours.
Running a business — no matter how small or how large, how successful or challenged — is an exhausting and frustration-inducing effort. And some days it just doesn’t seem worth the trouble. And I admit it, sometimes my communications can let just a little of that frustration, anger and yes, exhaustion show.
It’s been a bit of a rough week or two.
New releases (my book “101 Writing Tweets: 101 Tips … ” has just been released) are always a bit of a challenge. After all, there’s the rush up to the posting on Amazon, followed by the first of the marketing efforts and then the endless waiting (well a week or two anyway), followed by a few days of sending out notices and watching the downloads and the reviews. Then comes the initial sales, slowly trickling in and hopefully turning into a stream. Overwork, followed by sitting on one’s hands, followed by overwork, followed by gnawing on one’s finger nails coupled with elation followed by fear followed by elation followed by fear … well, you get the idea here.
Add to that, my local RONA building supplies had a sale on laminate flooring so I decided now would be a good time to repair my bedroom floor. About 15 years ago I installed laminate incorrectly and it’s finally officially died. I’ve been smart enough to avoid replacement so far but bit the bullet this year. Unfortunately, since then I’ve become less mobile so my son has been trying to install this stuff. Of course, we did it wrong … directions, who needs stinking directions … and had to start again. Meanwhile the furniture from our room has made the whole second floor into a climbing apparatus. (The cats love it — the humans not so much!) So my wife and I have been forced to spend the last week on the pull-out couch in the study. This is a 30 year old couch with a mattress that wants to be a bag of frozen peas — a thin bag of frozen peas at that. Sleep? What’s that?
Then to top it all off, one of my email accounts decided to fill up. No big deal normally but this happens to be one that has my mailing list notifications on it. And of course, as I’m eliminating the spam, I’m reading the cancellations. Which is not a smart thing to do. Now 99% of them are cool — too busy, not quite what I wanted, and so on. But I’m dealing with the public and I’m teaching a topic that many people have unrealistic dreams about. So naturally, I have a few — let’s say, less than stable clients. It’s inevitable and all things considered, there are very few of them (less than 0.2% by my estimation). But it only takes one to really bring a person down. And of course, I’m reading all of their rants.
Needless to say by the end of the day, I was really bummed out and ready to chuck it all.
That’s when it happened…
I received this email…
Dear Glen Ford,I loved the language you used in your e-mail – and got the book right away. Thank you.I will be delighted to send my appreciation of the book to Amazon as soon as I finish it. The end of this week. DV.Your writing is a pleasure to read because I know that at the end of it I will have learned something without having to go through the nonsense and time wasting stuff others send. In fact, I have unsubscribed to all of them yesterday. But never you of course!!I have written stuff over the years in the form of Newspaper columns and some were main features in Magazines and I would now like to publish them in book form. But, they say that e-books is the way to go as they outnumber ‘real books’ five to one!All the best with your new book.Sincerely,Renee.
Dear Glen,Delighted to get a reply – and so soon – and the answer is “Absolutely not! Not even a hint of objection – use whatever you want if it’s any use to you.”Yesterday I randomly clicked into a file, your file. Life was too busy for me to do things for me but I kept them “for the time I would have time for me.” I had another look at that video. Wonderful. I love your manner, your honesty, and your clear concice delivery without any bs. Not a minute wasted.It seems to me that very few people know how to do that, in fact you’re the only person I’ve come across. That is why I was able to tell you yesterday that I had ‘unsubscribed’ from almost everybody who came through to me on the email. Not you! You’re kept there with family and friends.I loved the way you said right at the start how long the video would run so I knew right away that I could watch immediately and of course because of the way you are – your use of language – I knew I was interested. I lost too much precious time in the past listening to those long-winded …who in the end had nothing worthwhile to offer.I celebrated my 80th birthday in January this year and I can’t take the risk of losing any more of that precious time. So. I now have much more time to be selfish to do what I want to do without feeling guilty. Should have done it years ago! Thank you for helping me to do that.With love to you and yours,Renee
Now you may think that I’m posting this rather long blog to either bitch or crow … and you’d be wrong. (Well maybe there was just a little of bitching and crowing).
I wrote this post because of how I felt after the emails. And what we both can learn from this delightful 80-year young lady.
How did I feel?
Absolutely top of the world. My blue funk was gone, and I was smiling (between the yawns but can’t have everything).
It doesn’t take much to express our thanks — this email probably took Renee less than 5 minutes to write. And I doubt that she thought much about it. But she found something she liked about the videos and complimented me on it. The result is something that I will remember. Maybe she hated the rest of the video (I know I do) but she found one thing to praise.
It’s something we all need to remember and practice in our businesses.
How often (and loudly) do we complain? And how seldom do we compliment? With the internet this tendency has become worse. Perhaps because we believe that the internet gives us a level of anonymity. Or simply because the person at the other end isn’t quite real to us.
But the truth is our complaints are often ignored … but our praise never. If we can bring a smile to the face of the person at the other end of our internet lifeline, we’re far more likely to achieve our goals. If we can make them say thank you, we are one step closer to winning our dreams. All it takes is one little honest sentence praising something that they did.
It’s a simple truth but a truth we so often forget.
And our businesses will thrive or fail on the result.
So let me put my advice into action now.
To the 90.0% of you who have enjoyed what I have shared. To those of you who have read my books (and bought my books). And especially to those who have told me how much you have enjoyed my books. Thank you. Your thoughtfulness and willingness to learn has given me much joy. I and my team find joy in creating learning. But we experience joy when we see you learn.
To the 9.8% of you who have not found what I have shared of value, but dealt with me professionally, thank you. Your advice and yes, your identification of why you didn’t continue has helped me to improve.
And to the Renees of the world, thank you for reminding me why I love to help people.
My latest book 101 Writing Tweets just finished its free giveaway period on the Amazon Kindle. It is now available for general sale … cool. If you didn’t download the free version I hope you’ll buy it and support your local writer. To make it easier for you …
101 Writing Tweets is for sale at the grand price of just $0.97 US .But NOT for Long …
(Sorry for the salesy post but I figured I should at least say something and I’m in copywriting mode at the moment )
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. It’s been a very busy time lately and I’ve found that I’m having problems keeping up with my blog posting. But hopefully that will all change soon.
I’ve just finished a major project fot ThreeO Project Solutions Inc. publishers of the popular AceIt computer based PMP exam preparation courses. The new PMBOK Edition 5 has just been released and they needed the course updated. I also spent some time becoming certified as a trainer for the live version of the course. Which is a wild feeling since I’ve been writing the new editions for some time and yet still had to go through training in order to teach it. (PMI rules not ThreeO’s).
I’ve also just launched GlenDFord.com which is where I will post my blog entries on Project Management, Management, Entrepreneurial and IT topics.
And on a less happy note, due to having made the mistake of dealing with NosuchSolutions for the Howdoyoublog.biz domain, we had to make a quick but massive renaming to Howtoblogcourse.com. Not fun. not nice and my partner Paul has promised a blog entry on his experiences — once he calms down.
And I’m in the process of resurrecting my daily tips and tweets as PMPsicle on Twitter for both writing and project management. (The writing ones have started already. Project Management is still a work in progress.)
As part of this latter project, I’m in the middle of writing a new book “101 Writing Tweets” which is going to be a selection of 101 (go figure) tips and tweets on writing quality how-to-books for Kindle. I’m quite pleased with how it is going and I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s going to be my first inexpensive Kindle book and I’ll release it with a free promotion hopefully later this month. I’ll post to both my blog and Twitter as soon as I have a publication date.
That’s it for now. Keep checking back for more news.
Okay and here it was going so great … I remembered St. David’s Day … before it happened for once in three years. And then I go and get so busy working on paying gigs that I almost don’t post a St. Paddy’s Day post.
And I didn’t even get my Corned Beef & Cabbaage <cry>
I guess I should have seen it coming … after all, over here we’ve been celebrating for three days now. It seems that for us folks over here, the longer that we’ve been away from Erin the more we celebrate St. Patrick. And given that the last members of my family to live on the isle was my Great-great-grandparents I normally give it my all. But this year has been — interesting — in the Chinese sense.
In any case, raise a glass and think — just for a moment — about me while you do it. And have a great St. Paddy’s day.
Erin go braug!
With a son by the name of Dafydd and a daughter with the name Rhiannon, how could I not wish everyone a Happy St. David’s day. Forget the green beer and shamrocks (that’s later in the month). Today is a day for celebrating a country that’s smaller than the GTA (Greater Toronto Area … in other words the city of Toronto plus its suburbs) in population and roughly the size of Lake Ontario (or roughly three times the sq. Km. of the city).
Despite it’s size and small population Wales is the source for the Eisteddfod (a festival of song and story), the King Arthur and Merlin legends, the current incarnation of Dr. Who, Torchwood and actors and storytellers innumerable.
So what’s with the dragons and onions and beer?
The national flag of Wales has a red dragon (y drag goch) on it. This is from the myth of Merlin and the battle of the white and red dragons.
The national flower (?) of Wales is the leek. If you have ever made Potato & Leeksoup, you know that the leek is an overgrown onion. Think scallion for giants. It’s actually a relative of the daffodil so if you see a daffodil on someone’s lapel on March 1, then you’ll know they have some connection to Wales.
As for beer … well, the Welsh are a Celtic people just as the Irish and Scots are — ’nuff said. And I fully intend to raise a glass to my Welsh heritage. (Mind you since I fully intend to do the same thing on St. Paddy’s and Canada day, one might say that’s to be expected).
So a Happy Dewi Sant Ddyd and a tip of my mug to you.
Hey, I had over 800 downloads of my new book “Writer’s Block Demolition” on Friday and Saturday!
But tell you what I’m going to do …
It’s almost Christmas and we’re all suffering from sticker shock so to make the jump just a little easier, rather than a quick return to full price, I’m going to slowly increase the price to normal.
I’m going to start off at $2.99 (as soon as Amazon makes the change) and then increase the price roughly every day by $1 until it reaches the regular price of $8.97 U.S.
So hurry out and pick up the book … cause the price is rising as we speak!
It appears that Amazon doesn’t like this technique (so much for advice from marketing gurus! ) They are refusing to change the price.
Check it out by Friday … you never know they may change their mind. If not the price is back to normal by then anyway.
Sorry about that.
Okay it’s Live and Free!!!!
That’s right my latest book is now live and free on the Amazon Kindle but only for my birthday (Friday the 14th) and Saturday the 15th).
It’s also available in print.
To get your copy go to http://www.learningcreators.com/products/writers-block-book. You’ll find a direct link to Amazon there.
To support the book’s release, I’ve also uploaded a series of 20 videos that answer the most asked questions about writer’s block and finding the time to write. You can find it at http://www.learningcreators.com/time
Akk … I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I last posted. It’s been busy so I’ve totally lost track of the time.
Ahh … what have I been busy at?
I’ve just released a new book “Writer’s Block Demolition: Finding the Time to Write, Keeping Writing, and Finish Your Book” which has hit Amazon (in print last week, on the Kindle on Sunday).
To support that book, I’ve been putting together a new FREE product.
Plus I’ll be giving away copies of the Kindle book.
So keep an eye out on this spot for announcements this week!
I remember my Uncle Bern Reimer.
In those days, memories of the war were strong. Television and movies played endless repeats of how the U.S. won the war. Never the Canadians — it was too much like bragging. And the old men — my Granddad and one of my uncles — would argue about battles they fought. And my uncles Ken, John and Fred would swap stories of the planes they flew. And of kicking their mates out of the bunk above.
I remember how my Uncle Bern would leave the room. How he never participated in any of the discussions. How he would turn off the television when we wanted to watch the squad from “Combat” conquer their way across Europe.
I learned much later that he remembered the taste of the sand of Juno beach.
Last year my son walked that beach with his friends. He never knew my Uncle Bern. But he remembered.
(please note, I do not have any interest in this film)
Every September for the past few years, I help my scout troop to remember an even older war. I believe in the importance of teaching the young men and women of my troop about life in the army of that time. Especially as we enter the 200 year celebration. It is a chance for them to remember when our ancestors drove back an invader from our own shores. When British and Canadian forces drove back American troops who were convinced we would surrender our freedom to their view of freedom without a fight. They were mistaken. (And yes, Canadians were involved in the fighting — the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Lincoln Militia and the Ontario Defensibles Regiment all made names for themselves at York, Stoney Creek, Queenston, Lundy’s Lane, Detroit and Washington. In fact, the RNR and Lincoln Militia are still in existance 200 years later and have a reputation well earned on the fields of Europe from Gallipoli to Juno to Afghanistan.)
I remember my Grandfather Reimer.
He was an old man even back then, with grey handlebar mustache — unchanged since his military days. He used to tell us that an elephant stepped on his head and pushed all his hair down past his nose. But it couldn’t get past his mouth so that’s where it stayed.
He loved to tell tales, did my Granddad. We’d sit around quietly listening to the accent of the London streets of his youth. It seemed that the longer he spoke the more Cockney he would sound. Egging him on, we listened intently as he spun one tall tale after the other. Each getting further from the truth until we couldn’t tell imagination from reality.
But there was one set of stories that had to wait until he was much older. Or maybe it had to wait until I was much older. One set of tales that he avoided telling.
I remember one year when I was a teenager. A friend and I made the long drive up to spend a weekend in my Grandfather’s cottages. My friend was fascinated with my Grandfather’s collection of souvenirs and pictures. Bullets in the shape of crosses. A shell casing converted to tobacco tin. A handgrenade, its deadly cargo long removed. And my friend questioned my Granddad about each and every piece in that old white curio cabinet.
Finally, to get some peace, my Grandfather began to tell tales from his younger days. Tales that I believe he hoped to forget. Of why he coughed such a racking, harsh cough. And how the taste of the mustard gas lasted for days after. And mixed with the smell of the trenches.
He spoke of how his best friend in the Signal Corp had gone out for a short run one day. Of taking his Indian motorcycle — a motorized bicycle to our eyes — and going out to look for him when he was late returning. Of finding part of him on the road and part in the ditch. Of how they would clear the piano wire from the roads in the morning. Only to find it strung up again the next day. Neck high to a man on a motorcycle or a horse.
I remember him speaking of the next great war. Too old to serve, he stayed back home that time. Of how the Mounties, he said, would come to his home. Of how they would begin to speak to him in German. Him with his medals and memories. And his three sons and a future son-in-law fighting. Of how he would answer in Welsh and watch them try to reconcile his name with this strange language.
Almost 100 years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the war to end all wars came to an end. And though it wasn’t the last great war, but only one in an unending stream, yet we still remember. Each year we wear our poppies and we remember our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives. Some to defend our freedom from those who would have stolen it away. Some to defend our world from those who now wish only to destroy it. We remember and we celebrate the bravery and gift of those who even now protect our world.
I do not believe in war. But I do believe in the young men and women who risk their lives to protect what I hold dear.
I will remember.
Wondering where the site has been the last few days?
Have you ever seen someone smile through their teeth?
You may have noticed that LearningCreators.com has been down for about a week now. Some **^*&* decided to take over my site with the PHARMA exploit.
This is a really nasty piece of work. While it looks to the people visiting the site as if nothing is wrong, to Google and Bing and the other search robots it replaces all the headings with drug names. All in the name of increasing site rank with Google and Co..
Now I understand trying to build up one’s site by getting links. I can even understand going about it in the wrong way. Understand not agree with! Howver, this particular exploit is just plain stupid! Google has long since learned about it and all that happens is that both the victim and the linked site are banned from Google. So the *(*&^ actually doesn’t succeed in increasing search to their site.
When a commercial site — which mine is — has to be shut down for an extended period then it represents a major hit to revenues. And everyone loses.
Not to mention the fact that I just spent 5 days fighting to clean out every trace of the infection. In fact, I ended up having to recreate the site. So if you see differences or lost functions — blame the idiot that infected my site.
So if you ever get approached by someone offering to increase your search — especially if they admit to being a black hat SEO — don’t just walk away. Run. The damage these crooks do — to both you and their victims — is not worth the few extra search hits.
Oh, and by the way — if you run a WordPress blog, you need to add an Audit Trail and a Security plugin.
And if I ever catch the criminal who did this, I’ll show him exactly what I think of him/her and their 3-year old minds.