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Interview and seminar

Here’s a conversation I had with Hugh. Inside-baseball writing stuff.

And, if you like, here’s a free online seminar to sign up for.

Who you know

One of the mantras of networking (and the many social networking sites that people are flocking to) is that it matters who you know. The goal of having a thousand or more friends online is that you’re well known. Connected. A click away.

I wonder if there’s a more useful measure: who trusts you?

Blogs and self promotion

A few years ago, Oprah sold her autobiography to a major New York publisher. You can imagine the delight among booksellers.

At the last minute, she backed out, never really explaining why.

I wonder how many books she would have sold? A lot, certainly, but as many as the titles she regularly promotes?

Here is a fascinating statistic:

Last month, I posted excerpts from my new book. I also wrote a glowing post about Garr’s new book on presentations.  Guess what? My stats show that I sold more copies of Garr’s book than mine.

The truism of the web: people talking about you is far more effective than talking about yourself.

Clearly, just about everyone who reads my blog enjoys my writing. You’d think that a significant percentage would then hustle over to buy a copy on Amazon the moment they heard about it. But, just as Oprah is at her best when she’s talking about somebody else’s book, something funny happens when a blogger talks about his work.

Cory and Mark both have terrific books out. And as co-editors on the world’s most popular blog, you’d think that they could use boingboing to sell a ton of books. But it doesn’t happen. Lucky for bloggers, if you write a good book, a few other bloggers will write about you and then the sales start happening.

Once again, what do you know, it takes patience. It’s not a direct, first-order promotional thing, the way old media is. Instead, it’s one thing causing something else, which leads to a conversation and then, maybe, a sale.

Interesting irrelevant aside: how come books get blurbed and promoted by other authors, but movies don’t get blurbed and promoted by other directors and actors?

The first thing to do this year

Google yourself.

If you’re a salesperson, your prospects already do.
If you’re looking for a job, your prospective employers already do.
If you’ve got a job, your co-workers already do.

What do they see? Do you know?

If you don’t like it, you can fix it. Start a blog, even if it’s just a few pages worth. Have some colleagues suggest you for wikipedia (if the powers that be think you’re notable enough) or make sure you’re represented on HubPages or Squidwho or write an article for ChangeThis.

You can be finished by tonight. It’s worth it.

Solving problems

There are three ways to deal with a problem, I think.

  • Lean into it.
  • Lean away from it.
  • Run away.

You lean into a problem, especially a long-term or difficult one, by sitting with it, reveling in it, embracing it and breathing it in. The problem becomes part of you, at least until you solve it. You try one approach and then another, and when nothing works, you stick with it and work around it as you build your organization and your life. [I don’t mean you just bully the problem, or attack it. I mean that you accept it, live with it, breathe it and whittle it until you’ve achieved your goal. Once you start looking forward to your interactions with the problem, then you’re leaning into it.]

Some people choose to lean away from the problems that nag them at home or at work. They avoid them, minimize them or criticize the cause. Put as little into it as possible and maybe it will go away.

And sometimes, a problem is so nasty or overwhelming that you just run away.

I’m a big fan of the first approach. And sometimes, quitting isn’t such a bad idea. The second approach, alas, is the one that many of us end up with by default, and the one that’s least likely to pay off.

If that helps with this year’s resolutions, it was worth thinking about…