Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Writing or Selling?

I think I can write, but I know I can’t sell – it’s just not in my DNA, but all jobs require it.
There are people who can sell you any garbage they want to (an especially prevalent skill set in politics) but I can’t sell anything, even if I know you’re looking for it. This can be a problem, because all jobs require selling. It starts at the very beginning when you apply for a job – you’re trying to sell your services to an employer, and the more adept you are at selling, the more likely the sale will happen (you’ll be hired) and the more likely it is that the pay will increase with each negotiation.
I guess that’s why I also hate job-searching – the process doesn’t play to my strengths.
In addition, throughout your tenure, opportunities will come up to convince (sell) your employer, co-workers, and customers on ideas and decisions. This is why salesmen are always in demand.
We sell throughout life – securing a spouse, negotiating what game we’re playing with friends, what kind of pizza (there is no other type of food, right?) we’re going to order, what house, what town, what …
After 2-1/2 years of indie publishing without generating a lot of sales volume, I’ve decided to give Kindle Select a test drive on a couple of my stories (“Anti-Social” and “Reconcilable Differences”.) I resisted doing this before, because it means that the stories I put in the Kindle Select program can’t be sold ANYWHERE ELSE. As Dean Wesley Smith says, it makes no sense to limit your sales to ONLY Amazon.
However, Amazon puts a huge pool of money out there to distribute among the eBooks that are borrowed through the Kindle Lending Library or other Amazon programs – even if someone only reads 10% of one, the author gets a share of that money. This may work into a more profitable use of “free” giveaways than my ill-fated attempts at free earlier this year.
We’ll see whether it works – the eBooks need to stay in the program for 90 days. Who knows – it might bring in a little more money, maybe even generate a little more traffic to my other publications. Obviously, just writing isn’t enough – I have to find ways to sell.
Now, I’m not blind to the possibility that I don’t know how to write anything interesting enough to buy. But as POOR A SALESMAN as I am, the fact that anyone has bought stories from me… well, I MUST be writing something worth reading.
Just saying…

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication: “Close Enough”) can be found in many places, such as:

Connect with him on Facebook at:   http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink

Monday, September 22, 2014


There’s an Aesop’s fable about The Bat, the Birds, and the BeastsIn short, the Birds and Beasts are going to have a major battle with each other. Not sure who will win, the bat refuses to commit to either side (planning to avoid suffering any ill effects from the fight), but instead PEACE breaks out, so the bat tries to crash the celebrations in each camp, only to be shunned and driven out by both.
In most renditions of this story, the moral is stated as “He who is neither one thing nor the other has no friends”, but what this is really about to me is COMMITMENT. If you won’t stand for something, why would anyone else want to stand with you?
It’s hard to trust people who won’t make a decision because they don’t want to be caught making a mistake. It’s even harder to trust them when they try to palm their decisions and mistakes off on someone else.
None of us are perfect, and no one has a crystal ball. We are given free will (freedom to make decisions) not a free ride (freedom from consequences.) A sign of true leadership is to empower others around you to make decisions and doing what you can to ensure their success, while owning the failures along with them. Responsibility is about stopping the buck, not passing it.
So how did we wind up with a leader (misnomer) who leads from behind? Who sticks his finger in the air to see which way the winds of opinion polls are blowing before he makes a decision? Who only takes credit for good things that happen and is never responsible for the bad, regardless whether he was involved in either? (really, the answer is simple – he never committed to any one thing, and so the hope-filled and hope-seeking voters interpreted his forceful lack of commitment as a commitment to WHATEVER they wanted to see.)
There seems to be a pathology at work here.
How can someone say it wasn’t their idea to withdraw our troops from Iraq (which opened the door for ISIL), and then in a speech about stopping ISIL a couple of weeks later take credit for that same withdrawal?
And if you can’t back up your decision with firmness instead of backing away from it with a parsing of words, how do you expect to come up with anyone willing to truly commit to a coalition of the willing?
If only he could act (or be) committed.
Just saying…

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication: “Close Enough”) can be found in many places, such as:
Connect with him on Facebook at:   http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink

Monday, September 15, 2014


What does that title mean? Is it:
“What am I writing today?” (What topic will I write about?)
This is something that has recurred to me quite often over the decades, but even more so now in this age of emails and texts and tweets and LOLs. Our lives are being hosed by a flood of information, and it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish the important things from the junk.
“What? Am I writing today?” (Is this the day I’m supposed write? Am I going to?)
What period (pun intended) am I in? I’m not used to this undefined mass of characters – it makes my brain have to work harder to make sense of things. Misspelling (deliberate or otherwise) can be confusing, but usually you can understand whether they meant THEIR or THERE or THEY’RE. But my life needs structure- it must be full of question marks… and ellipses, if I’m going to get it right.
“What am I, writing today?” (What kind of person am I, to write on today, of all days?)
One of the hardest things about talking to people when they aren’t in the room with you is you lose a lot of subtext and intent that is conveyed through visuals – there is more meaning than just what the words carry.  A phone call loses part of this subtext, but at least you can still hear the punctuation accompanying the spoken words (most of us humans DO still use inflection when we speak.)
 “What am I writing? Today.” (What topic am I writing? Not tomorrow, but now.)
140 characters just doesn’t cut it – the punctuation is the first to go, and with it clarity. People who think that they know exactly that they’ve captured all the possible meanings in that text message they received also are the kind who think that they really can multi-task. Without single-minded focus, something is always missed.
 “What? Am I writing? Today?” (What are you asking me? You want to know if I’m writing? Today, or when?)
We need punctuation in our lives – something that helps us filter through everything and understand what it all means – the important parts. There are no shortcuts that give you a truer insight into what’s going on.
Really? A can of alphabet soup is not an effective form of communication.
Just saying…

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication: “The Red Barrens”) can be found in many places, such as:
Connect with him on Facebook at:   http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Other People Think

We live in a highly interactive world, and whether a decision is personal, or social, or job-related, or civic, there is still a relationship involved. Other people are affected by the decision, and should have some input.
Aside from those who are affected, we also involve experts. No one can know everything there is to know, not even a polymath. We seek out people all the time for their expertise – doctors come to mind. The doctor is there to recommend a test or a treatment, but this isn’t ancient times (30 or so years ago) when doctors were treated like gods and would make the decisions, no questions asked; ultimately we have to collaborate with them on our health and make the final decision ourselves.
It’s good to be interested in what other people think. But it’s something completely different when you rely on others to DECIDE what’s best for you. Believe me, there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to do that for you if you let them – how to vote, what to think, what’s good or bad, right or wrong. How to spend your money. What to do with your life.
You can’t leave all these decisions to someone else.
I think it’s a shame that at the same time in history when the chances and tools for collaboration have never been better, we also seem to have lost the ability to discriminate. What is discrimination? Discrimination has to do with judgment – the ability to look at things and make choices between what you prefer and what you reject. The word has developed a universally negative connotation nowadays (on thesaurus.com there isn’t a single positive synonym for discrimination in the first batch presented), but we all need to be able to discriminate - to judge between the multitude of choices and decide for ourselves what makes sense.
There’s a difference between listening to those others and letting them decide for you. I know it can be hard to stand on your own two feet and accept accountability for making a choice.
“What if I make the wrong decision?” you ask.
Well, life is full of imperfect options (and people) - there will always be mistakes (and opportunities to make better choices.)
“What if someone doesn’t like it and gets mad at me?”
You can’t make everyone happy, and peer pressure is NOT an acceptable criteria for making choices (it’s sad that our society is becoming more and more ruled by the INTIMIDATION of THE MOB.) We tell our kids that – have we grown up enough to listen to our own advice?
So yes – listen and watch and read as much as you can, but when it’s time, be responsible. Own your own mind. Own your own life. Make your own decisions.
Just saying…

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication: “The Red Barrens”) can be found in many places, such as:

Connect with him on Facebook at:   http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink

Monday, September 1, 2014

Do You Know When to Quit?

In Invincible (my favorite movie), Vince’s father tries to discourage him from trying out for the Eagles, telling him that “a man can only take so much failure.”
Just how much failure can a man take? At what point is it okay to give up?
I’m not normally a quitter – I usually describe myself as a person who refuses to tip his king. For those who don’t play chess, that means seeing that your situation has gotten so bad that there’s no point in continuing the game. You are most likely going to lose, so you signify that you have given up by tipping your king over. (I haven’t played chess in at least a decade, but this has transferred to my Scrabble playing, much to my wife’s annoyance.)
I believe that there is value in just completing a task, even if it seems to be a lost cause. In chess in particular, I tended to make rash and foolish mistakes, but I believe it’s possible for the opponent to do the same, so “it ain’t over till it’s over.”
But I also consider tipping the king to be a somewhat arrogant move, because when you do it, you are presuming that you know exactly what’s about to happen, and that you are SO SMART that there is no possible outcome other than what you’ve predicted. It’s like saying: “Yeah, sure you beat me, but don’t feel so smug, because I’M SMARTER THAN YOU, and I KNEW you would before you did, SO THERE!”
On a calmer note, I hear a lot of variations now of the phrase “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Do you want to spend my life in a journey where people just keep giving up? Even if I’m on the winning side of this, there’s something dispiriting about my opponent not giving his all until it’s over.
What is the value of failure? Well, sometimes it can show where the problem is that’s preventing your success, the element you need to reach your goal. Failure isn’t something to be afraid of, but it isn’t something to strive for either. In this day and age of innovation as a buzzword, I can just see someone proudly proclaiming:
“Look how many times I’ve failed! A couple thousand more and I’ll achieve Edison’s level of failure.”
Does failure make success? No – TRYING makes success. It wasn’t Thomas Edison’s thousands of failures that resulted in the light bulb - it was that he kept trying. It wasn’t all the bad things that happened to Abraham Lincoln along the way, all the elections that he lost and hardships he went through – it was that he didn’t give up.
Whatever it is you are doing, no matter how often you fall or fail, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and DON’T QUIT. To make the most of the journey, KEEP TRYING.
Just saying…

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication: “The Wolves Will Come”) can be found in many places, such as:

Connect with him on Facebook at:   http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink