Last week I posted about the fact that I’ve tasked myself with learning something new about writing, blogging or marketing every month. It’s the best way to sharpen my skills in the writing craft and provide rewarding experiences in my journey as an author. It will also prevent my growth as a writer from becoming stunted.
In addition to learning more about how to increase my knowledge when it comes to my passion as an author, I’m always trying to learn more relating to other aspects of my life…home, work, health, wellness, spirituality…what works for others doesn’t always work for me, but I enjoy learning how others relate and react to the same challenges I face. You never know when you might pick up some precious and useful gems of advice or unearth an “ah-ha” moment that clears up questions, limitations or reservations that may have been holding you back.
As much as I love to learn, something I’m a sucker for is a challenge. Hands down, if the challenge is structured, useful, positive and insightful for any particular area in my life, I’m a willing participant. With regard to writing, I take part in either NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNo usually every year because it is a useful tool in creating a book under pressure. I’ve also taken part in journaling challenges, photo challenges, a platform challenge, and I’m thinking about taking part in a decluttering challenge. Describing them as a “challenge” doesn’t mean I’m in competition with others; they are personal journeys but the journey or portions of the experience can also be shared with the host of the challenge or other participants, if you so choose.
So the other day I thought I landed upon a useful challenge, to occur every day for about a month and a half, and I was led to believe I would be receiving e-mails relating to this challenge every day during the challenge. This challenge would possibility reveal to me useful insight with regard to my spiritual wellness. So I signed up.
Day one: I received an e-mail, a printable journal page for day one and the news that quite a few copies of the whole journal used in this challenge would be given away during the course of the challenge. The e-mail was cheery and optimistic, and left me with the promise of another printable journal page the following day along with a special story. I was looking forward to what the challenge had to offer.
Day two: I received another e-mail, another printable journal page but not for day two, for day twenty-seven. There was also no special story, only additional information on how to use the journal page provided, and that the journal for the complete challenge was available for purchase as a download if I wanted the complete journal today.
Day three: I received an e-mail, but this time not with a printable journal page, or a special story. Instead, I got the news that I would not be receiving any more e-mails for this challenge because the host just couldn’t afford to keep up with the cost of creating, hosting and delivering the challenge. However, I was informed that I could still purchase the complete journal, again only as a download (I prefer actual books) or I could just do the challenge myself with the quick reference guide that had been offered. The host ended with the promise of following up on my status periodically.
So how did I feel after receiving e-mail number three? A good guess would be disappointed, duped and a little dismayed at this marketing ploy.
If you have ever taken part in offering an item for free, you know the best way to do so is via e-mails or by offering a book in pdf or e-book formats because it cuts down on actual costs dramatically. And you do this in order to gain readers who will continue to follow you and who may also decide to purchase other items you have to offer for sale. You do not offer something for free to readers, have them begin to invest themselves emotionally into what they trust you will be providing to them, only to yank it away and ask them to buy a product from you instead.
There is the saying, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. My expectations were high when I signed up for this challenge because so far, the hosts for the challenges I've taken part in before have always followed through with what they promised. It’s possible I may run into this situation again since I’m always looking for ways to learn from others; however, even at the risk of being fooled a second time, I won’t let one bad experience sour my belief in others.
While this last challenge was a letdown, it did teach me something. I thought I was going to learn something about myself personally but what I actually learned was how not to market myself professionally.
And with that, I unexpectantly checked off another lesson learned about marketing for the month of February, so it was actually bonus. J
Have a great week!