Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can I Pick Your Brain?

I am blogging about this in response to another blog I saw on the subject. I didn't completely read that author's total opinion, but I read enough to post a big, "You tell 'em sister!" In my line of work as a publisher and marketing specialist, I run into prospective clients who basically through the excuse of preliminary research, put my staff to work to put together proposals, get print quotes, ask endless advice, ask for multiple meetings, etc. -- all under the guise of "picking our brains" and potential business. While we've gotten better about discerning the difference between real business opportunities and those who make endless requests only to spend time drinking coffee with us and going nowhere fast ... except off to either another publisher with our materials (usually one that in their minds is less expensive) or to try and self-publish (again, using our materials). Whether people set out to deliberately use and run, isn't the point. The point is that our time gathering materials and allowing you to quote "pick our brains" is time spent and money lost. Not to mention that while these folks might mean well, it's ultimately disrespectful when they don't acknowledge the value and cost of our intellectual capitol. In one case, we had a woman endlessly asking for more meetings to quote "pick our brains" and asking for us to gather more print quotes all under the guise of "information gathering." Yeah, we gathered the information and she took off with it somewhere else. I've even had prospective clients ask to meet me for coffee just to spend a couple of hours asking me endless questions about publishing, with absolutely no intent of ever doing business with us. Complete strangers, mind you, will ask to sit down and have coffee with me to take it no further than the opportunity to once more quote "pick my brain." So, here is the real deal (would I ever give you less?). If I have valuable knowledge that you want to possess then respect its value. It's knowledge that I earned through education, research and experience. If your sole intent is to find out what I have stored in my brain then hire me as a consultant and respect the knowledge's value. It didn't come to me for free, therefore, why should it come to you (someone I either barely know or don't know at all) for free? What makes you so special I should just give it away? If I'm going to be charitable, it's going to be for a cause or a person I care about. So, next time you ask endless requests under the guise of hiring someone, or you ask me out to coffee to ask me a billion questions about publishing (and I don't know you), please don't expect a "yes." It's not happening. Respect that brain you want to pick! Or heck, buy my book Vanity Circus on our website or Amazon.

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