In the past few weeks, in the vernacular of salespeople, I’ve been girding my loins to make an “ask” about a promotional opportunity for my book.
It’s not the technical aspects of the proposal which have me daunted so much as the prospect of being greeted with scorn. Like many of us, I’d rather walk blindfolded, backwards and barefoot through a ten-mile brier patch than spend thirty seconds asking someone for their time or money.
Yet as I came here the other day to read a column by one of my WU colleagues, I was greeted with a pleasant reminder of how things can change. How what was once inconceivable or a struggle becomes acceptable, then commonplace. Even a source of pride.
Tiny Coffee, Big Quandary
Slide your eyes to the end of this post and you’ll see my visible reminder: a short piece of code enabling the reader, if so inclined, to send the article’s writer a virtual cup of coffee. (I include this example for transparency and accuracy! Please do not interpret it as a hint.)
The plugin is discreet, yes? It isn’t contained within a pop-up, or heralded by intrusive music. In terms of calls-to-action it’s one of the gentlest I’ve seen.
All the same, because I was unpublished when it arrived on WU, because I didn’t want to seem uppity, I had to work to rationalize its use.
In the end I chose to proceed because:
1. I appreciated the opportunity for my colleagues.
Interestingly, I was never conflicted on whether they deserved the right to be thanked in a tangible way.
2. It was time to stop being a snob.
When I read someone else’s article, I noticed my gratitude wasn’t related to their publication status but to whether they could pinpoint a writing problem, and guide me to a helpful solution. Often the writers most able to do so were the ones closest to me in publication rank, maybe because they seemed less godlike.
3. I didn’t want to cause a contagion of smallness.
If I held back, others might read my reluctance as implied criticism and second-guess their own decision to use the plugin. Nobody else should be saddled with my psychological baggage.
4. Finally, it was time to signal to myself that I was serious about this writing gig.
Unless my goal was to write forever without expectation of financial reward, I was only delaying the inevitable. Why not claim this small step forward in the quest for professionalism?