Archive | September 2015

Cut the blarney, guys; we’ve heard it all before

Today I am going to deviate from my normal topics and touch upon that age old subject of women, men, and romance.  The catalyst for this is a recent series of Facebook interactions where, once again, a complete stranger messaged me telling me:

Laurel i really don’t know you, but looking at your profile and picture, I must say your the most beautiful woman i have ever seen and you also remind me of my ex who passed away peacefully from cancer…… Hope we could be friends if you don’t mind…you must be as young as 28 don’t know but if am wrong, please tell me. What’s the secret to your beauty?

Twenty years after airing on the BBC, women still love Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett in "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austin, a novel where good manners and integrity win out over flattery and deceit.

Twenty years after airing on the BBC, women still love Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin, a novel where good manners and integrity win out over flattery and deceit.

In essence, this is a variation on a tried and true pickup line routine.  Tell a woman she’s beautiful, tell her she looks younger than she obviously is, and abracadabra you’ve just had a magical night of hot and heavy sex rivaling the contents of a best selling erotica novel and with absolutely no obligation to see her after breakfast.

For some reason that escapes me, men actually think this works.  It’s a routine I hear at least four times per month on social media and (for some bizare reason) on skype, usually from men serving in one of the branches of the US armed forces.

There is nothing of course in this that gives a woman ANY reason to respond.  Okay, you gave a generic complement that may or may not be sincere and you are actually delusional enough to think it’s flattery.  The sheer fact you exist and said the words “pretty,” “beautiful,” “young,” or “sexy” is supposed to be enough for us to 1) want to talk to you, 2) be massively interested in everything about you, and 3) immediately do for you a strip tease resulting in a nice one night stand.

Really?  And you expect women to take you seriously? This is egotism and it’s based apparently on the fantasy that anyone with a functioning penis is good enough for a woman, that she owes you sex any time you want just because you can get blood flowing down there.

Newsflash guys:  you are not the only male with a functioning penis. The fact you have one (every male does) is not a reason to interact with you for five seconds, let alone have sex with you, especially if you are a stranger.  Furthermore, every woman over the age of 25 has heard this lame blarney before, perhaps even fallen for it when she was too young to know better, especially if she came from a conservative family where her parents and her religious community treated the proper functioning of the human body as dirty and taboo.

In my 20s I fell for the blarney, in large part because I received no guidance growing up beyond "don't have sex before marriage."

In my 20s I fell for the blarney, in large part because I received no guidance growing up beyond “don’t have sex before marriage.”

Indeed, I will affirm that women from conservative backgrounds are more vulnerable to sexual manipulation from men simply because our parents don’t offer constructive guidance beyond “don’t have sex until you are married.”  No wonder lazy men target American women; women in America are so much less likely to be provided with proper sex education and proper guidance on how to spot blarney and predatory sexual conduct.

But past a certain age women, even American women, learn to spot the blarney.  We learn that flattery has but one purpose:  exploitation.  We learn to be skeptical of any man offering a complement, especially when it is about our bodies.  We have difficulty enough believing we are beautiful.  So when you tell us, as the chap this week did, that we are the most beautiful woman you have ever seen, we know at once you are lying.  Very few of us look like the standard of beauty we are given in the media.  So don’t tell us we meet that standard; we don’t.  We’re real women, not photo-shopped fantasies.

But let us suppose for a moment that you really do find someone attractive.  You genuinely want to get to know her — not just how she feels naked in the dark.  What should you do?

RESEARCH HER.  Approach her from a stance of common ground. Find something on social media that is genuinely a common interest and start by asking her about it.  For example, “what do you think about the latest poll numbers showing Bernie Sanders surging ahead of Hillary Clinton in (insert state name here)?” or “what do you think about the latest film starring (insert favourite actor here)?”

When you approach her from a stand point of common interest you are showing 1) you like her enough to spend a few minutes learning about her on your own time and 2) you are interested in who she actually is and what she actually thinks.

Gone are the days when “hey baby, you’re hot; let’s have sex” will work with grown women.  Women are more intelligent, better educated, and much more civilized than that.  Despite what you might have seen in the entertainment industry, women are actually quite picky about sexual partners — as females across nature tend to be.  Just look at what most male birds have to go through in order to woo their way into relationships!  It’s lady’s choice, guys and you have to offer more to us than simply a functioning penis.  Because we really don’t care yours work, especially if you are a rude, egotistical bore.  Given the choice between your egotism and a man of good manners and courtesy, we will take the well mannered and humble gentleman every time.

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Take a chance and trust

Trust is the foundation of all relationships — personal, financial, and professional.  If you want people to patronize your business then you must convince prospective customers that they can trust you.  If you want someone to vote for you or your political cause, they must trust you and what you are telling them about the issues and the state of affairs in the world.  If you want to build friendships, or find romance in your life you must trust other people and prove yourself trustworthy in return — even in casual situations where perhaps all you are looking for is personal sexual gratification.  Trust is at the heart of all of this.

Many times I’ve been asked the question “what is the line between faith and gullibility?” I could never answer that question because I really do not know.  Perhaps the answer to that can never be known in the present, but only by looking at the past and thinking about the choices we make through the distance of time.

Trustworthiness is a major reason why Bernie Sanders now leads in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Trustworthiness is a major reason why Bernie Sanders now leads in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But what I do know is that the person who never trusts and is never trustworthy achieves and gains absolutely nothing. To live is to risk.  To play it safe is to be trapped in loneliness and depravity.  Yes you might get hurt.  You might get cheated.  You may choose badly and not realize it for a long time.

All you can do is your best.  Live your life with integrity.  Earn the trust of those around you.  Give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove unworthy.  I would far rather trust and connect with people than not trust and live alone and isolated.

Take that chance and trust.  The rewards are worthwhile.

Repost: Book Pricing Tips

The following just arrived in my email from Book Marketing Tools.  I think it contains excellent analysis and information.

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reviews help authorsBook Pricing Tips
Many self-published authors tend to price themselves out of sales.
This happens because:
1) You know how much time you spent to write the book, time or money spent on editing, time or money spent on the cover, time spent on learning to self-publish, plus the priceless view you have of your own work (rightfully so), all which combine to make you put a higher price tag on your book,
2) Self-publishers aren’t making many sales, so they often price their book higher to earn more per sale since their sales are infrequent. We get that… but we’ve always been a proponent of the fact that you can sell more books with a lower price, and while you’ll earn less per book, you will make more in aggregate than you would with a higher price book.
Now we have proof, with numbers directly from Amazon!
Amazon is usually pretty guarded with their stats. They don’t share much, but they recently shared some numbers regarding book sales at different price ranges here.
Here is the quote relevant to book pricing:
“It’s also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that at the lower price, total revenue increases 16%. This is good for all the parties involved.”
This is directly from the largest marketplace in the world, who specializes in ebooks. How much clearer can it get?
Sure, we would all love to sell at $14.99 or even $9.99, but that’s not the reality for the self-published author. But, you can still make good money selling at $0.99, $1.99, $2.99. Especially for the new author, with so much competition out there, you don’t want price to be the reason people aren’t willing to give you and your books a shot.
Once you have a strong following of readers who love your books and want to buy more (you’re building that mailing list, right?), then, you can experiment with $3.99, $4.99, even $5.99. Many self-published authors are now able to command those prices, but they were not always able to sell their books for those prices. If you try to start at that price, for whatever reason, and you have very few reviews and hardly any fans, you’re going to continue to not sell many books, and you will earn less than you would with a lower price point.
Your goal is to reach as many readers as possible, and to get them to want to buy every other book you come out with in the future. The bigger fan base you are able to build now, the easier it will be to sell books in the future with every new book you write.
Get people in the door with a lower price, build a readership, get them to fall in love with you and your books, THEN price your books higher.
Here’s to selling more books!
-Shawn & R.J. from Book Marketing Tools