Jim Murray

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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The Business Necessity Of Sticking To Your Guns

[ BULLET PROOF]

 

Change Your Thinking
For The Better

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.

Our Approach

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.

The 90/10

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

BULLET PROOF

=

Business Analysis & Analytics ¢ Consulting
Business System Design & Management

Marketing & Communications Development
For Future-Focused Enterprises

Charlene Norman
Analytics & Operations
Program Development
& Project Management

647 991.8743

char@charlenenorman.com

Jim Murray

Marketing & Communication
Strategic & Creative
Development & Execution

289 687-3475

onandup3@gmail.com
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 candor 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.”

Net Net

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.

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You can find out more about us at:  http://tinyurl.com/y9zc9gvx



"""
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Comments

Jim Murray

4 years ago #35

#43
Thank you Ms Shelley. And you write real good.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #34

#36
Thank you, Paul \, for the kind words. For the record, I probably should have said "only" rather than "simply" -- for as you point out, there is nothing simple about getting words down on paper. My point is that "writing" involves a nexus of activity that includes more than just getting a draft on "paper", it involves re-writing, editing, and often research and a plethora of other activities. Which is why I believe it is so much harder than some, for whatever reason, want to make out. And, oh yes, as to who actually "accomplishes" things other than boasting on social media, here's my most recent: http://tinyurl.com/yadtax9o Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #33

#42
Again, you are correct, Robert. I have known many "writers" who felt they could, with a day or two of research, write well about almost any subject. And it certainly did not take them a lifetime to produce the BS they published.

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #32

#33
Pondered Phil. I believe it's really just a matter of semantics - Substitute 'the connective' for 'the collective'!

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #31

#33
Thanks Phil. I shall ponder that concept for future dialogue.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #30

#35
Yes, Robert, you are correct that every book of merit on the planet took if not a lifetime to write, then at least far longer than simply (or not so simply) the wordsmithing of it. My most popular thin eBook to date was wordsmithed in about a month, but it is the distillation of decades of work in my core business. See Http:/www.yachtbuildadvisor.blogspot.com for some of the industry and media reviews. Ian Weinberg might write a monograph on a topic in neural surgery in a week or two, but it is actually his lifetime of research and experience that is making it possible. I am baffled by authors who believe that minimizing how long it takes and how hard it is to write a worthwhile book somehow reflects positively on them. And my point to Paul \ was that I think he is underestimating the valuable pre-wordsmithing experience he brings to the nominally 4-day book project.

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #29

Interesting discussion gents. Before I finished my first book (25,000 skinnied down from 45,000 words written over 3 condensed years in a 20 yr time span including 2 years hard editing and ripping etc) I never thought about any of this. After I finished, I had a newfound respect for the 'artistes' in the fiction world. I also came to the conclusion that none of us, not one in the non-fiction world can claim to be an expert on anything. Merely a helper or a guider. I am still trying to figure out what we call ourselves.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #28

#29
I guess, Paul, playfulness is in the eye of the beholder. My point was that you may underestimate the value and the magnitude of your own work. And that you likely underestimate how much you actually put into your projects -- which includes all of the hard-won experience you've accumulated. Moreover, that, if anything, your modesty regarding contribution may mislead some to think its all easier than it is. I don't see an insult here or ever for that matter, intended or actual. I truly hope your day gets better than it obviously has been until now.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #27

#26
Ian, you make an excellent point. The writing police no doubt received their early trading in the world fashion (couture?). I do, however, take some mild exception to your use of the term "collective" -- for it seems to imply that individuality can flourish within a collective, which it cannot. But that is a discussion, I think, for another time. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #26

#29
I guess, Paul, playfulness is in the eye of the beholder. My point was that you may underestimate the value and the magnitude of your own work and how much of it you actually put into your projects. And that, if anything, your modesty regarding contribution may mislead some to think its all easier than it is. I don't see an insult here or ever for that matter. I truly hope your day will get better than it obviously has been until now.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #25

#26
Ian, you make an excellent point. The writing police no doubt received their early trading in the world fashion (cloture?). I do, however, take some mild exception to your use of the term "collective" -- for it sees to imply that individuality can flourish within a collective, which it cannot. But that is a discussion, I think, for another time. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #24

#27
I am sure, Paul, that it is great book (let)!, but if I may be so bold as to say, it took more than four days, even by your account. I guess we see the process of writing differently. I see it as more than simply getting the words onto the "paper". Cheers!

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #23

I would contend that there are those that have the talent for 'effective' writing and those that don't. The downside of over-coaching those deficient in this talent is the resulting divergence away from personal authenticity. Indeed in the marketing sphere there is a wealth of technique and expertise available and required for effective communication. But this is a very different space from the place of personal communication. I believe that the collective loses value through the coercion of individuals to conform to norms and standards. We are, each one of us, unique in our subjectivity. The richness and inherent potential of the collective is a product of our diversity. Therefore since our subjectivity is inherent in our communication, I believe that each should narrate according to personal authenticity. The only 'modifying' element that needs to be respected in our free communication should be awareness and sensitivity for the subjectivity of others. Thereby the act of communication is both a contribution of our personal unique subjectivity together with a value contribution to the collective - making it better than it was before you engaged with it. I conclude therefore by suggesting that the 'amateur' writer be encouraged to do his/her thing and personally decide whether to heed feedback and modify their delivery based on their own needs and motivation for communicating. Those that seek guidance in enhancing their effectiveness - well that's a different matter. However even in morphing to greater effectiveness, the need for personal authenticity and sensitivity to the environment should be respected.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #22

#21
David, this whole thing about writing books baffles me. I've known several writers of non-fiction books who spent months writing books that made them less than a paid feature article in a mid-level magazine pays its author. (Apparently, by Paul "Pablo" Croubalian's own words, he can write an entire book in less than three days, but I've never known anyone else who could.) Let me give you an example of a feature article I wrote for PassageMaker Magazine a few years back. https://www.passagemaker.com/web-extras/disaster-in-anacortes-videoweb-extra#! This multimedia piece ran to about 6,000 words total, appeared both in a print version and in a digital multimedia "extras" version. Research, interviews, writing, and editing took a total of about 10 days. And the piece paid on completion more than I would likely have made from a non-fiction book that would have taken not only months to write, but on which payment would have dribbled in over months or even years. When it comes to writing books, I've taken to writing eBooks that deal with my core competencies, and I generally give them away as advertising and promotion. My "Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects" has broken through 5,000 distribution copies and received strong reviews throughout the yachtbuilding industry and yachting press. https://www.yachtbuildadvisor.com And it has generated several strong consulting gigs for me, the sum total of which paid better than any half-dozen books I could have written and published. If a writer feels that he or she needs to publish a book in order to be an "author", so be it. But it generally doesn't make financial sense for most. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #21

#21
David, this whole thing about writing books baffles me. I've known several writers of non-fiction books who spent months writing books that made them less than a paid feature article in a mid-level magazine pays its author. (Apparently, Paul Croubalian can, in his own words, he can write an entire book in less than three days, but I've never known anyone else who could.) Let me give you an example of a feature article I wrote for PassageMaker Magazine a few years back. https://www.passagemaker.com/web-extras/disaster-in-anacortes-videoweb-extra#! This multimedia piece ran to about 6,000 words total, appeared both in a print version and in a digital multimedia "extras" version. Research, interviews, writing, and editing took a total of about 10 days. And the piece paid on completion more than I would likely have made from a non-fiction book that would have taken not only months to write, but on which payment would have dribbled in over months or even years. When it comes to writing books, I've taken to writing eBooks that deal with my core competencies, and I generally give them away as advertising and promotion. My "Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects" has broken through 5,000 distribution copies and received strong reviews throughout the yachtbuilding industry and yachting press. https://www.yachtbuildadvisor.blogspot.com And it has generated several strong consulting gigs for me, the sum total of which paid better than any half-dozen books I could have written and published. If a writer feels that he or she needs to publish a book in order to be an "author", so be it. But it generally doesn't make financial sense for most. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #20

#21
David, this whole thing about writing books baffles me. I've known several writers of non-fiction books who spent months writing books that made them less than a paid feature article in a mid-level magazine pays its author. (Apparently, by Paul "Pablo" Croubalian's own words, he can write an entire book in less than three days, but I've never known anyone else who could.) Let me you an example of a feature article I wrote for PassageMaker Magazine a few years back. https://www.passagemaker.com/web-extras/disaster-in-anacortes-videoweb-extra#! This multimedia piece ran to about 6,000 words total, appeared both in a print version and in a digital multimedia "extras" version. Research, interviews, writing, and editing took a total of about 10 days. And the piece paid on completion more than I would likely have made from a non-fiction book that would have taken not only months to write, but on which payment would have dribbled in over months or even years. When it comes to writing books, I've taken to writing eBooks that deal with my core competencies, and I generally give them away as advertising and promotion. My "Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects" has broken through 5,000 distribution copies and received strong reviews throughout the yachtbuilding industry and yachting press. http://www.yachtbuildadvisor.blogspot.com And it has generated several strong consulting gigs for me, the sum total of which paid better than any half-dozen books I could have written and published. If a writer feels that he or she needs to publish a book in order to be an "author", so be it. But it generally doesn't make financial sense for most. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #19

#21
David, this whole thing about writing books baffles me. I've known several writers of non-fiction books who spent months writing books that made them less than a paid feature article in a mid-level magazine pays its author. (Apparently, by Paul \'s own words, he can write an entire book in less than three days, but I've never known anyone else who could.) Let me you an example of a feature article I wrote for PassageMaker Magazine a few years back. https://www.passagemaker.com/web-extras/disaster-in-anacortes-videoweb-extra#! This multimedia piece ran to about 6,000 words total, appeared both in a print version and in a digital multimedia "extras" version. Research, interviews, writing, and editing took a total of about 10 days. And the piece paid on completion more than I would likely have made from a non-fiction book that would have taken not only months to write, but on which payment would have dribbled in over months or even years. When it comes to writing books, I've taken to writing eBooks that deal with my core competencies, and I generally give them away as advertising and promotion. My "Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects" has broken through 5,000 distribution copies and received strong reviews throughout the yachtbuilding industry and yachting press. https://www.yachtbuildadvisor.blogspot.com And it has generated several strong consulting gigs for me, the sum total of which paid better than any half-dozen books I could have written and published. If a writer feels that he or she needs to publish a book in order to be an "author", so be it. But it generally doesn't make financial sense for most. Cheers!

David B. Grinberg

4 years ago #18

Nice read, Jim. You're right about writing: it's not always fun. It could be a laborious "slow burn" to write a book even for very talented writers. Few authors will ever become the next JK Rowling or anywhere near her status. Yes, sometimes reality bites. But real writers soldier on with candor, bluntness and integrity, as you and Charlene have demonstrated. Thanks for another good and meaningful read. I admire your prolific prose. Keep buzzing, my friend!

Jim Murray

4 years ago #17

#17
Michele Williams...We would be honored.

Lance 🐝 Scoular

4 years ago #16

🔫👍👌 👥ed 🐝🐝🐤🐳🔥🚲
Great job
Cool buzz

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #13

"You business is a machine." - from Bullet Proof promotional material. As a mechanical engineer, I agree. I use AudioQuest Niagara interconnect in my home audio system with much pleasure. It must be something right with "Niagara-based" products and partnership :)

Milos Djukic

4 years ago #12

My best wishes Charlene Norman. Fractals forever.
Wishing you both much success with your team effort.

Martin Wright

4 years ago #10

For so many of us, we arw a long way from rhe idea of making a living writing, but we enjoy the process, interaction and even appreciate the work which goes into putting together the eandom sets of thoughts and words which, with luck, reach, inform and entertain others. Everyone thinks it is easu to write, but to write a book is a truly courageous step.. great article showing care, cooperation and craftiness.

Charlene Norman

4 years ago #9

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. They are truly appreciated. Jim surprised me with the idea for this post. He also surprised me with the pics too. I need to point out that while the gunslinger pic does resemble him fairly closely, the lady pic is a bit of a miss for me. ( Her boots are way cooler than mine!)

Jim Murray

4 years ago #8

#1
Thanks @ Pascal. We're actually off to a pretty good start. A couple weeks and we should have a piece of business.

Jim Murray

4 years ago #7

#2
Good points Paul \. These days it's people like you who should be the publishers.

Jim Murray

4 years ago #6

#5
Thanks Phil Friedman. Your point was a big part of our decision not to go forward with that publisher.

Jim Murray

4 years ago #5

#4
Whoa you're right. I;m a writer I can fix that. Thanks for pointing it out Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #4

Kudos on this piece, which is full of genuine insight and advice. I will not rehash any of the discussion about whether more than an infinitesimal number of authors of non-fiction books ever make enough to justify on an economic basis the input of time, talent, and labor. What I'd like to do is highlight and reinforce your point about standing your ground on re-writing or modifying content that you are providing free. When a writer provides free content to anyone, that writer has to keep in mind that the quid pro quo for such "free" work is exposure. But what you want to have exposed is YOU and YOUR work. If the exposure is going to be for something that is custom written for the recipient of the contributed content, then you should be paid for the writing and the editing. IMO. Cheers!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #3

Grrr, that last sentence needs a rewrite, but I think you get the gist.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #2

Well done. Publishers make me sick. So many of them are really in the business of selling books to authors. You and I both know how much work goes into writing a book. Tons of research, revision, etc. that never yields any real pay. That's why I only write free content. I'd rather give it to good people who want some help than be a slave to my jackass publisher. I shall never see me submit anything else to him, ever!

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #1

best of luck Bullet Proof :-)

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