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Friday, February 15, 2019

MEAN


For the life of me, I will never understand mean people.

Like the person who knocked the side mirror off my car.  What was that all about?  Did it make him feel powerful?  Did he get a thrill?

I want answers.  Why are people mean?  So, I found out what some experts had to say.  

Author, life coach, and speaker Martha Beck believes mean people are hurt.  Really hurt.  "At some point, somebody—their parents, their lovers, Lady Luck—did them dirty.  They were crushed.  And they're still afraid the pain will never stop, or that it will happen again," says Beck.


Dr. Marcia Sirota, author of the article "What Provokes Us to Be Mean to Nice People" in the Huffington Post states, "When we're overtired, overly stressed or really angry, it's much harder to contain our impulses, and something nasty can leak out: a hurtful comment, a selfish choice, a thoughtless act."

Dr. Monica Frank, founder of Excel at Life and a clinical psychologist says that most people are mean because of a distortion in their thinking or some flaw in themselves.  She breaks meanness into two categories:  
  1. the unintentional meanness which refers to behavior or statements that the recipient may perceive as mean but that weren't intended to be hurtful 
  2. the malicious meanness which is behavior or statements that have the purpose of hurting the recipient.
Thank goodness, I've only encountered one malicious (mirror-smashing) mean person.  Most of my run-ins fall into the second category, the unintentionally mean—

the friend who agreed to help me out, and then changed his mind,

the agent to whom I paid a mentoring fee, but never responded to my query,

the local newspaper reporters who refused to write a feature about my book.

Words are every bit as hurtful as actions.  People have told me:

"I told you so" after I lost a talent competition.  Nobody wants to hear someone's musical selection would have been a better choice. 
"You look like a boy" after I had my hair cut.  Nobody wants to hear this if looking masculine wasn't the goal.
"Look at those thighs" after I showed a coworker a photo of me.  Nobody wants to hear this.  Period.

Dr. Frank believes people are unintentionally mean because they: 
  • lack awareness or social skills
  • are misunderstood for humor or sarcasm
  • are sharing an honest opinion
  • have misdirected intentions (as in trying to be helpful)
  • have low self-esteem coupled with jealousy
  • need to feel superior
  • have displaced anger
  • have a mental illness  

However, the intentionally mean are mean for a different reason—they are pleasure-seekers.  Dr. Frank says, "People who act mean based on this reason are doing so due to a self-centeredness and complete disregard of others.  They seek to feel good at the expense of others."  She believes people who are intentionally mean engage in this behavior for attention, power, money, or respect.

According to Dr. Frank, "Usually, unless you have done something significant, it is not about you."  To shake off meanness she says, "Focus on living your life and don't get involved in the pettiness of mean people."

Tommy Cestare, the founder of The Leading (a website dedicated to improving people's lives by writing about the bright side of life) takes Dr. Frank's advice one step further.  He believes that a person with a positive outlook would not let mean people bother them.  He says that positive people have the confidence to brush it off and move on because they’re confident in their own abilities and aspirations. 

He states, "Someone called you ugly? You’re happy with your body so who cares what they think? Someone’s avoiding you? They’re loss, you know you’re awesome. Someone doesn’t believe in your abilities? You believe in yourself so why should you care about what they think?"

For a junior in college, Cestare impresses me with his maturity and positive lookout on life.  In the post "Let People Be Mean to You," Cestare says we should "let people disrespect you, cut you off on the road, leave you out of certain events, call you mean names…whatever it is.  Because these situations are the best teacher to show how confident you are in yourself.  They tell you more about you than anything else."  

Cestare also urges us to be more sympathetic toward mean people.  They may be are going through tough times and should therefore be given the benefit of the doubt. 

It's been noted that it's easier to be mean than it is to be nice.  And it's amazing that the seconds for someone saying something mean has the ability to make us feel depressed for hours, even days.  The time we have to live is much too valuable for being miserable.  

Sad, but true, there will always be mean people.  But we can change how we react to them.

We can be kind. 

We can be more understanding.    

We can be positive and self-assured.

We can focus on the good things in our lives.     

✌ and 
COMMENTS

Hey, I loved reading the article about being mean.  From my years of working in mental health and now at the school.  I can say that some people are simply mean, and have distorted views of themselves and the world.  Then there are some people that go out of their way to be mean.  Some have mental issues and some do not have any home training or reference to rely.  Simple "yes sir, or please and thank you" are not being said from our young people and when I meet the parents, I can see the reason.  Very sad when I see mean people.  I try to keep myself strong and have a good positive thought life to deal with such people.  G. Smith.







Tuesday, January 15, 2019

THE TEARS OF AN AUTHOR

I'll be honest with you.  My marketing plan did not go as well as I had hoped.   

For my first book, you could say I was fairly successful.  But in my mind, I felt there could have been better strategies for promoting Maggie.  I wanted to be spotlighted in the local newspaper, have libraries buy copies, and secure a lot of school visits.  

This did not happen for me, and it left me feeling frustrated and nearly in tears.

Authors like me who are published by a small press must do most of the marketing by themselves.  So, I learned about marketing well before the release of Maggie.  In fact, I began marketing nine months before the release date.  

After signing the publishing contract, I studied marketing books, read articles on websites and emailed other published authors to find out how they marketed their books.  There was so much to grasp and at times it was mind-boggling.  Eventually, I began to see how the process worked.  Most published authors stressed the importance of contacting the local paper, libraries, and schools.  So, I followed suit.

But school media specialists didn't answer my emails or return my phone calls even after I had mailed packets detailing a school visit program that would benefit their students. 

Newspaper reporters were not was interested in a local author whose book was inspired by a local rescue dog.  

Librarians turned down my requests to read at storytime or to acquire the book for their collection.  

I got angry and whiny, but soon realized that was not going to help the situation.  There had to be other options to promote my book.  So, I worked on developing a new marketing plan.  Not the plan of other published authors.  MY marketing plan.  And here is what I did:    

  • Arranged book signings at local bookstores and gift shops
  • Partnered with non-profit organizations that connected to my theme
  • Placed books in local boutiques
  • Created strategic keywords for my book on Amazon
  • Visited day care centers for book readings
  • Sold my book at craft fairs
  • Developed a unique website 
  • Wrote articles and guest blogs  
  • Created a Pinterest account and made boards and pins that related to my book 
  • Got a book review in local magazine
  • Participated at the Kentucky Book Festival 
  • Placed copies of the book in a doctor's office with part of the proceeds benefiting an animal rescue organization
  • Signed books for Small Business Saturday


As I look back, I couldn't figure out why the newspaper never contacted me, even though my publisher sent a press release and I followed up with emails and phone calls.

But I did learn that the local libraries have a tight budget, and therefore they gravitate toward purchasing books published by larger publishing houses.

Likewise, schools have little funding for school visits.  On top of that, some schools require a background check for visitors.

It took me months to learn about marketing.  And even after a year, I'm still learning.  Marketing is still not easy, but this is what I discovered so far.

  • Authors must learn the ins and outs about promotion.  They must explore how other authors market their books and decide which of those methods might be worth implementing. 
  • Authors must be determined to think outside the box.  Not all of the ideas tooted in books and online are going to work.  Authors should think of ideas that have never been tried and dare to be original, different, and exciting.
  • Authors must be plot a new course when the best laid plans aren't working.  Authors must not give up and accept failure, but be flexible to change their marketing plan when things aren't going smoothly...


even if they have no clue where to start,

even if it means getting a little whiny,

even if it means shedding a few tears.  

✌ and 

Comments:

"Thanks for this honest look at marketing."  J. Cornebise

"Ah, the lessons of life. Everything is more difficult than imagined."  D. Henley