By k | February 28, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

With True Grit,
the remake of the John Wayne classic,
being an Oscar contender,
there is a lot of talk
about how grit is an American attribute.

But what is grit?

“Grit is a willingness
to commit to long-term goals,
and to persist in the face of difficulty.
Studies show that gritty people
obtain more education in their lifetime,
and earn higher college GPAs.
Grit predicts which cadets
will stick out their first grueling year
at West Point.
In fact, grit even predicts
which round contestants will make it to
at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.”

And as Heidi Grant Halvorson points out,
it is one of the nine things
successful people do differently.

By k | February 27, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Submitting a short story
for an anthology
isn’t about the (rather small) royalty check.
It is about getting your foot in the door
with that publisher.

We do this all the time
in business.
We partner up with prospective clients
on small, revenue-eating projects,
hoping to build relationships
for future sales.

The thing is…
getting the foot in the door
makes NO sense
if you’re not interested
in going through that open door.

If you have a story in an anthology,
pitch a full length novel
to the same publisher.

If you are cross-promoting
with another company,
look at what project
you’ll work with them next.

If you take that entry-level job
with your dream company,
consider your next move
within the company.

Don’t simply stand there
with your foot in the door.
That’s a recipe for pain
plus it blocks others.

By k | February 26, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Romance is a very large genre,
yet the pool of productive romance writers
numbers only in the low thousands.
(if that high)
In my few years of writing,
I must have met most of these writers
and as I continue with my career,
I’ll likely work with all of them.

My opinion on the ‘ism’s
(sexism, racism, whateverism)
is that applying that requirement
to whom I will work with
restricts an already small pool of doers.
It makes the difficult rise to success
even more challenging.

There’s a reason why
many people see
Charlie Sheen’s and Mel Gibson’s
‘ism based rants
as a sign of mental instability.

It is because sane successful people
tend to look at success first,
and other factors after.

Consider whether you value your ‘ism
enough to hamper your success.

By k | February 25, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Recent research from
the UK charity Business in the Community
states that
8 out of 10 female managers
and half of male managers
believe that balancing work and family
is the biggest barrier to advancement
for women.

The second highest rated reason
is lack of senior or visibly successful role models.
In other words,
if there aren’t already women executives
in the companies women work for,
they are unlikely to become executives.

I’ve known female friends
who have reached executive status
in male centric organizations.

They, unfortunately, did NOT rise
through the ranks.
(I’ve had friends attempt that route
and they were all frustratingly unsuccessful)

They went to a female-friendly organization,
built their skills there,
until they reached executive status.
They THEN did a lateral career move
into the male centric organizations.

It is easier to break the glass ceiling
when you are in a position of power.
Build your power base
before you change the world.

By k | February 24, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I believe in luck.
You can increase the odds of success
as much as you can
but there is still a possibility
that failure will happen.
When that long shot failure happens,
I call it bad luck.

Recently, I’ve had a string of bad luck.
I’ve seen failure after failure on tasks,
even on simple menial ones.
The odds for each failure is low
yet it has been occurring.

This streak of failures can’t extend forever.
The odds are against it.
So I know it will correct
and I’ll see some success.

I’ll be even Steven in the luck department.
(Actually, based on the odds,
results should be skewed toward success)

That’s why I don’t get overly upset
when bad luck happens.

Bad luck is expected,
but good luck is even more expected.

By k | February 23, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I read that a band was outraged
because an online reseller listed the coming soon date
for their new album
before the band had the opportunity
to formally announce they were releasing an album.
Where did the online reseller get this information?
From the band’s label.

The folks at Wikileaks
are still in hot water
for releasing information
sources came to THEM to distribute.

Here’s the thing, dumb asses…
if you want to keep information secret,
DON’T tell anyone.

When we worked on new product launches,
we would give them silly names
so outsiders
(i.e. anyone not on the product launch team)
wouldn’t know what we were talking about.
We didn’t tell customer service or send press releases.
We only told people
who absolutely HAD to know
and those people we trusted not to yap.
When we went to our resellers
with the product launch,
we assumed our competitors
were receiving a copy of our presentations
(and often they did).
At that point, it was public information.

WE bore responsibility
for any secret information revealed too soon
because it was OUR fault.

If you want to keep information secret,
keep the information to yourself.

By k | February 22, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I have long told people
that I plan to retire at 40
(which is this year).

The corporate folks get excited and envious
because retirement for those in corporate
means the end of work.
They envision retirement
as a weekend extended into forever.
It is a time to play golf
and travel
and sleep in late.

My entrepreneur friends simply grin
because retirement for them
often means working on their own projects,
heedless of an urgent payoff.
They also envision retirement
as a weekend extended into forever
except their weekends are currently filled
with projects important to them.

Happily, because many of these projects pay,
(my writing already pays)
entrepreneurs are often able
to retire earlier than those in corporate.

Plan for retirement
but, if you are an entrepreneur,
plan for a hard working retirement.

By k | February 21, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A large publisher has
a special call out for submissions.
The call is so detailed
and so specific,
that any stories written for it
will not be usable anywhere else.

On the positive,
the number of stories submitted
will be low
BECAUSE of the exact requirements.

On the negative,
the story has one shot
at being sold.
If it doesn’t sell to this publisher,
it won’t be published.

In corporate,
we are faced with this dilemma
over and over again.
A prospective client wants a special product pitched,
with no guarantees they’ll take it.

What does a project manager/writer do?

We weigh the odds of the product
being accepted/bought.
Do we have an established relationship with the prospect?
How many other products will be pitched?
What does our company/brand name
bring to the product
that will increase/decrease our odds?
Can we pull this product off?
Have we done (written) something similar in the past?

Based on these factors,
we weigh the probability
and then decide if the risks
(time, money, morale, brand perception)
are worth it.

By k | February 20, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Yesterday, two writers asked me
to critique their short stories.

Giving a good critique is tough.
(And I must be okay at it
because the stories I critique get published
and the writers return for more critiques).
The writer usually knows
there is something not working
with the story.
That’s why she wants a critique.
She also believes in the story
enough to save it
(otherwise it would go into the trash bin).

So the feedback has to be critical
yet not destroy her faith in the work
(it is challenging to sell a work
you don’t believe in).

In a critique,
I first tell the writer everything that
I love about the story.
This outlines what doesn’t need changing.
It tells her that “Yes, the story is worth saving.”

Then I tell her
what I believe could be added
to make it stronger.
I’ll say something like
“As a reader, I expected…”
or
“As a reader, I wanted to see more of…”
or
“I didn’t expect the heroine to do…”
or
“Is that the ending you TRULY wanted to write?”

I don’t provide solutions.
Solutions belong to the writer
(it is HER story,
and she has to retain ownership of it).
I point out problems.

It is the opposite of what a project manager would do
but then…
I’m NOT in the project manager role,
I’m giving a critique.

By k | February 19, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I recently had an issue
accessing one of my Yahoo email accounts.
I contacted customer service online
and was told
someone would get back to me
within 24 hours.

WTF?

Did they expect me to live
without email access for 24 hours?
Of course, they didn’t.
This was the equivalent
of telling me
to go away, fix the problem myself,
and stop bothering them.

(And they never ever DID
get back to me.)

In today’s go, go, go world,
a long response time for a critical product
is truly no response time.
It sends the signal
that the company doesn’t care,
and it certainly isn’t customer service.

If you care about your customers,
respond quickly
with, at the very least,
an airy fairy email saying you are looking into it.

BTW… I know Clientk response time
sucks big hairy donkey balls
but truly, what do you expect
from a extreme doer who only has time
to write a 100 word post every day?