Why I don’t do coffee, lunch or wine with authors and authors-to-be …

I would love to have a buck for every time I have had an email, a voice message, a text or even a face-to-face comment:

I would like to have coffee or wine with you …

My response is always a No.

Okay … I’m going to say it again: don’t ask me out for coffee or to meet you for a glass of wine late in the day. “Why?” you ask. Because it is a money drain—my kiss-off time costs me way too much to the bottom line.

What you are really saying is, “Judith, I want two to three hours of your time and advice and I don’t want to pay for it.”

Hmmmm. Maybe because the internet is peppered with so much free info, that it’s become the new normal—everything and everyone should be free?

If you are my friend, you know that I don’t drink coffee and I don’t drink wine. I start my mornings early (4 to 5 a.m.) and rarely work less than 12 to 14 hours a day. And, I don’t do evening outings unless they are social with friends and I can just unravel with no strings attached. I just don’t—I’ve had a long day. A cup of tea, salad or chai isn’t going to do it for me. They aren’t payment for what you really want from me to help you with a strategy to market your books, write a book or just become successful in the publishing path. That’s why I created ongoing time and events where you can get that:

I love sharing information and giving advice and have done it for years. I do it when I speak from the platform; I deliver my online coaching via tele-coaching where you can ask me ANYTHING about publishing, book marketing, your own strategies, etc., on Fridays at 7 AM and Noon Mountain Time for subscribers( a bargain at $27 a month); my weekly radio shows offer tons of publishing and marketing advice (free); my blogs and articles are topical and in-depth (free); the webinars I deliver are loaded with sage advice and how-tos (free); and my social media via Tweeting, Facebook postings and LinkedIn (all free) share nuggets of ahas, info and tidbits daily.

I’ve got decades behind me in gathering my intel. I put in time every day expanding my knowledge. I take the time to attend functions, conferences and read books that I pay for so I keep my learning curve in motion.

I have many clients with finished books who have a “quick 5-minute” question that needs an immediate response. They get it.

And, of course, my monthly paying clients who are deep-in-the-heart of getting their books created, written, and published.

Yes, I love giving advice and sharing info. With the Tuesday and Saturday blog, Wednesday ezine, Thursday podcast plus the daily Tweets, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook postings. Now, John Kremer has kicked me in the tush to concentrate on Pinterest and my eye is turning toward to Instagram after one of my podcasts. So, there is plenty of “free” stuff to gather from my brain already.

So, my question becomes:

What would make anyone think they have the right to “pick my brain”?

It’s not gonna happen, sorry. My brain costs money to maintain. There’s training, classes to attend, reading (I have to buy books), costs of memberships so I can network and absorb information groups share only with members, attending conferences and mastering my skills. All cost me money.

I have to protect my investment. I’m still in my “A game.” How fair is it to me to give away all the knowledge I have acquired that I use to make my living, pay my bills, support my family and eat?

If you are offended … well, I believe it’s your problem, not mine. Maybe brain picking is part of your MO … it’s not mine and never has been.

If you are an internet user, and I certainly am—Google is my online best friend, check it for what you are looking for. But, and it’s a BIG but, if you need more info or help, it’s time to pony up. All professionals do some form of freebies—but there is a limit to it. Before you ask someone for “free” help, ask yourself this: What have you done to earn credit with him or her? What have you done to already repay him or her for what you are now asking? What have you done …?

I have one full-time person and two part-timers who work for me. I wonder how they would feel if I told them I would decrease what I was paying them because I could get something on a project that they are working on for free—online? I tad pissed, I suspect.

My two bits for today …

 

 

Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35, How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos has earned 7 national book awards in 2017Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged Bootcamp, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2018, the dates are June 23-25.  Participate in her Judith Briles Speaking Unplugged Bootcamp held in March and November. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow.

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact me.

 The Book Shepherd® is a registered trademark.

5 Comments on Why I don’t do coffee, lunch or wine with authors and authors-to-be …

  1. Tawana S Collins says:

    Thank you for the great services that you already provide.

  2. When a colleague of a friend wanted to take me to a “nice” dinner in exchange for reading and evaluating his book, my response was: Am I wearing a sign that says “Will work for food”? Great article, Judith, and absolutely on target.

  3. Well, to each his/her own, but I don’t at it that way. I go out of my way to seek writers and I meet several on every trip. Last year, I brought a blind writer to my RV, went to a conference with another writer and had a lovely visit with a writing tutor and his wife. Hubby and I met with yet another writer last fall and we had dinner with her and her husband. We had a great time. I share my knowledge freely and vow to continue doing so. We are presently at Thousand Trails RV park in Clermont, FL. Drop in and see me! I’ll have dessert waiting. Deborah Owen/Creative Writing Institute

  4. I know this story all too well. I have a one-question freebie limit (and I stick to it). Beyond this, you need to purchase a resource or service. I even launched a “Borrow My Brain” and “Pick My Brain” consultations to respond to this. I asked one persistent pursuer if their doctor gave free consults, and to let me know when they do — I’ll change doctors!

    It is an insult to say the least. There are lots of places to get good free advice — online groups, live groups and more. I’m in several groups where people can ask questions, and host a monthly “Indie Author Help Desk” to share the wealth of knowledge I’ve acquired. That’s more than enough “community sharing.” I love people and look forward to great relationships with writing colleagues, as long as their motives are pure.

  5. Russel Hutchings says:

    I’m curious how you started out…
    I mean from day one when you got into this business.
    I doubt very much that when you were seeking information, you rang the person you needed to see that had possible answers you were seeking and then you quickly grabbed your check book and raced off to see them and hurriedly wrote out a cheque for their time and effort…. after all, what would give you the right to “Pick their Brain” for free? I don’t believe for a second thats what you did or the point at which you started. Sometimes people have short memories.

    Everyone has a start point… we all go through it. Certainly there are some who have ‘Tickets’ on themselves, yet there are others who allocate time to reciprocate what they were given at their journey’s beginning and I find that humble.

    Why would a person who started their journey by gathering information for free from some generous people, then as they progress through their journey and find success, fee that they are all of a sudden superior than others and boast that their time is all so precious and at the same time forget where they came from… their humble beginnings? I might be wrong but this smacks of being highly egotistical and elitist to me…. yet such people don’t start off that way… They simple took the wrong turn and somewhere along the way developed amnesia.

    I know of successful writers and business people who have NEVER forgotten where they came from and who gave them a start… feeding information for free, offering a guiding hand when a question needed to be asked. Those who say they work for 15 hours in a day and say their time is WAY TO VALUABLE seem to have a time management issue more than anything else and have tickets on themselves that aren’t worth the amount written on them.

    I guess what I am saying is that “WE ALL” have humble beginnings, we all have a need to gain insight into the industry, we all have at sometime needed a mentor or a guiding hand that was free from having to hand over a cheque to someone who poses that their time is GOLD.

    There is a saying… “Pay it forward”… I feel is a humble way of remembering who you actually are, a humble way of remembering those in the past that have provided you with assistance for “free” as they have wanted to see you succeed.

    Time management and allocating time to those starting their journey is highly rewarding. It brings arrogance back down to even playing field and people remember you for your kindness even if they don’t erect Billboards of Gratitude to stroke your ego. It might only be that a successful person in the industry offers a mentorship to one of two people – that may only be for an hour a fortnight, but it is paying it forward, it provides a helping hand to those in need, of which you were once that person. Of course this doesn’t have to be over coffee or wine, it can be done in your office or somewhere that best suits the desired outcome.

    By taking time in a busy schedule to provide such a service to those starting their journey, can be highly rewarding on a personal level.

    Yes there are many places to gain free advice, but many of those places don’t give a newbie the deep insight of the lessons learned. This can only be attained in many ways from a person who has trodden the very ground that the newbie is taking their first step on.

    Im not saying for a minute that one should give every person that comes to you seeking advice an hour of your time…..RATHER, I am saying good time management and a true desire to be a successful business person who wants others to succeed will ALWAYS find time to mentor, to give someone a hand up. Time management will allow you to allocated time (maybe just an hour) over the course of the week or fortnight to provide such a free service/mentoring. After all, are we really so arrogant that we can find that time to pay it forward? I think more deeper reflection is needed regarding this post.

    Everyone has a start point… we all go through it. Certainly there are some who have ‘Tickets’ on themselves, yet there are others who allocate time to reciprocate what they were given at their journey’s beginning and I find that humble.

    Why would a person who started their journey by gathering information for free from some generous people, then as they progress through their journey and find success, fee that they are all of a sudden superior than others and boast that their time is all so precious and at the same time forget where they came from… their humble beginnings? I might be wrong but this smacks of being highly egotistical and elitist to me…. yet such people don’t start off that way… They simple took the wrong turn and somewhere along the way developed amnesia.

    I know of successful writers and business people who have NEVER forgotten where they came from and who gave them a start… feeding information for free, offering a guiding hand when a question needed to be asked. Those who say they work for 15 hours in a day and say their time is WAY TO VALUABLE seem to have a time management issue more than anything else and have tickets on themselves that aren’t worth the amount written on them.

    I guess what I am saying is that “WE ALL” have humble beginnings, we all have a need to gain insight into the industry, we all have at sometime needed a mentor or a guiding hand that was free from having to hand over a cheque to someone who poses that their time is GOLD.

    There is a saying… “Pay it forward”… I feel is a humble way of remembering who you actually are, a humble way of remembering those in the past that have provided you with assistance for “free” as they have wanted to see you succeed.

    Time management and allocating time to those starting their journey is highly rewarding. It brings arrogance back down to even playing field and people remember you for your kindness even if they don’t erect Billboards of Gratitude to stroke your ego. It might only be that a successful person in the industry offers a mentorship to one of two people – that may only be for an hour a fortnight, but it is paying it forward, it provides a helping hand to those in need, of which you were once that person. Of course this doesn’t have to be over coffee or wine, it can be done in your office or somewhere that best suits the desired outcome.

    By taking time in a busy schedule to provide such a service to those starting their journey, can be highly rewarding on a personal level.

    Yes there are many places to gain free advice, but many of those places don’t give a newbie the deep insight of the lessons learned. This can only be attained in many ways from a person who has trodden the very ground that the newbie is taking their first step on.

    Im not saying for a minute that one should give every person that comes to you seeking advice an hour of your time…..RATHER, I am saying good time management and a true desire to be a successful business person who wants others to succeed will ALWAYS find time to mentor, to give someone a hand up. Time management will allow you to allocated time (maybe just an hour) over the course of the week or fortnight to provide such a free service/mentoring. After all, are we really so arrogant that we can find that time to pay it forward? I think more deeper reflection is needed regarding this post.

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