Tag Archives: Work

Would You Work For Nothing? Why I Don’t Believe in “Free”

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)The current conventional wisdom is that the ONLY way for authors to find readers is to give books away. At least give one away and then all the readers who took advantage of the free offer will love your book so much they’ll come back and buy your other books.

Maybe they will. After they read the other hundred or so free books they have in their TBR pile.

Get noticed! Get on the bestseller lists by giving your books away. Only you’re not a best “seller.” You are a best “giver.”

In an economy where the price of everything has risen in recent years, books are not only cheap, they are free. Why? Does a book have less value than a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread? Do you go to the supermarket and look to see what they are giving away today? Or the gas station or the mall? When’s the last time the movie theater didn’t require you to pay for your ticket or your popcorn?  

No one is giving anything away except authors. Maybe it’s a result of the glut of books on the market. But even if you’re giving your books away you are just one of the thousands of authors who are doing the same thing. You’re going to stand out how? By writing such a brilliant book that the free readers will flock to buy your others?

I’ve read a couple of outstanding books in the past year. Some of those were by fellow Samhain authors Sophie H. Morgan and Donna June Cooper. One was a free book which was the start of a series by Jeffrey Archer. (I’ve resisted buying the second book—even though I’d very much like to read it—as the digital version is priced at $9.99! Yikes!) Cooper’s and Morgan’s books are in the $5 and under range. I either purchased their books or they were given to me by the authors in exchange for honest reviews.

While I don’t believe an ebook should be priced the same as a print version since there’s no cost for printing and paper and shipping, I don’t believe in free either. The same amount of work went into the book (writing, editing, cover, formatting).

You might get one of my books for free if you won a contest or entered a Goodreads giveaway. Maybe you’ll read it. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll love it and check out my other books. Maybe you’ll buy them. Maybe you won’t.

All I know is I’ve worked since I was sixteen. None of my employers ever suggested I shouldn’t get paid. I wonder why so many authors began suggesting it to themselves. I mean I love a good sale as much as anyone but I also wonder how many readers who take advantage of free books would be willing to work for nothing.

#authors #free #books

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Days Like This

Yesterday began with my brilliant idea to teach my husband to brew coffee.  I suggested it would be nice if he occasionally had coffee ready when I came downstairs in the morning instead of waiting for me to make it.  I’m pretty sure this somehow caused a tear in the fabric of the universe because the rest of the day threw me curve balls.

A friend I haven’t heard from in months called to thank me for her birthday card.  I’d begun to wonder if our 25-year friendship had somehow dissolved, but I guess it was simply on hiatus.

After I looked at the calendar to see when I might get together with her, I realized I have another dear friend whose birthday is in a few days and I had to get a card in the mail.

I discovered my daughter’s wedding gift registry online.  She’s chosen the most gorgeous, elegant Kate Spade dinnerware. 

As the morning progressed I began to wonder if a migraine was headed my way so I took a chunk of migraine medication and off to work I went.

Shortly after I arrive I discover my credit card payment is still in my purse.  It was due yesterday.  Luckily a coworker is headed in the direction of the bank and offers to drop it off for me.  I have the best friends, don’t I?

More fun time ensues when staff is confused about a special offer on retail merchandise.  A phone call and some new signage is required.

A text from my daughter.  Her fiancé landed his dream job.  Yay!

A coworker fresh out of college stops in to say his job hunt has taken an upturn.  Fingers crossed for him that a position he’s just applied for will parlay into an interview and work in his field of interest.  I feel good about this since someone I know just landed a dream job.

In walks the Ecosure inspector and the real fun begins.  This is not something we take lightly.  The annual Ecosure inspection is beyond any inspection the health department does.  The score affects the store manager in ways I don’t like to contemplate.  We will hear about a bad score for months.  Panic sets in because I’ve not once, in eight years, been at the store during an inspection, and so I’ve never been the shift supervisor on duty when they arrive.  I call my manager when I can’t find the paperwork I’m required to have.  Meanwhile the inspector is poking and prodding and shining her little flashlight into every nook and cranny and making notes on her Palm Pilot-like device.  What is she writing down?  How bad can it be?  My manager arrives but the churning in my stomach doesn’t stop.  Everything is out of my control at this point anyway.  My fellow partner and I eye each other worriedly, but there is nothing more we can do.  When I hear my manager’s unprecedented, “I love you!” from the back room, I have a feeling it’s going to be okay.  We got a 94.  Whew!

The work day continues fairly normally until I go outside to sweep.  There is a bird fight happening on the plaza sidewalk.  Birds squawking and flapping about.  It takes me a while to figure out what’s going on.  Apparently they are attacking one of their own, weaker members.  He escapes and takes cover on the outdoor patio.  I see him in a corner first and later he hops behind the garbage can near the door.  But when I go over there with my broom I can’t find him.  I soon discover why.  He’s inside the store. 

Great.  How am I supposed to capture a bird inside the store?  I should be happy he’s not flying.  I can’t figure out what’s wrong with him from the few glimpses I’ve gotten.  He looks a bit gimpy.  Maybe he’s a baby who can’t fly.  His feathers don’t look quite right.  He hops around.  I can’t worry about this now.  Too many customers and too much closing work to do.

The evening progresses.  At 8:15 the bird makes another appearance.  A regular customer comes in while I’m trying to figure out how to capture the bird.  For some reason the customer jokingly asks if he can help me.  He’s not aware there’s a bird in the store, but I say yes, you can help me catch this bird.  He takes off for the restroom.  (The customer, not the bird.)  When he comes out, he realizes I was serious, and even though he mutters something about not wanting to catch the flu (bird flu, I presume) he picks up a napkin and goes after the bird. (Meanwhile, my helpful fellow partner is suggesting a call to Animal Control or 911.)  This gimpy little bird leads the customer on a merry chase around the store, but somehow, he gets hold of the bird which squawks like nobody’s business, gets the bird out the door and tosses him into the bushes out front.  Hip, hip hooray!  We can now let nature take its course.  Not only do I work with the best people, have the best friends, but also the best customers!  I reward him with free coffee for a week.  (The customer, not the bird.)

Was there anything else out of the ordinary that happened yesterday?  Probably not, but I’m not teaching my husband any new tricks any time soon, either.

Visit me at www.barbmeyers.com

 

The Trouble with “Low” Morale

It’s come to my attention recently that morale is low in the workplace.  A couple of my fellow worker bees had to tell me such was the case because I had absolutely no idea we suffered from low morale.  What is this?  Where does it come from?

My dictionary defines morale as a “state of mind, especially associated in some enterprise, with reference to confidence, courage, hope, zeal, etc.:  the high morale of the workers.”

So if you suffer from low morale I guess that means in your state of mind you’ve lost confidence, courage, hope, zeal, etc.  You’ve lost enthusiasm for what you’re doing.  If that’s the case maybe you should be doing something else.

Notice the definition refers to a state of mind.  Which is your perception, your attitude.  So if you’ve decided you have low morale, you probably do.  You’re miserable in your job, you’ve got a bad attitude about it, your morale plummets, and sadly you start to bring everyone else at your place of employment down with you.

I’ve noticed how quickly low morale can spread.  One person’s discontent shared with another adds a layer, shared with another, adds another layer, until wah-la!  We’re all miserable and we don’t know why.  It’s because negativity spreads like wildfire.  All you need is to drop one unhappy person into the middle of a group where everything was just fine and pretty soon, one of two things will happen.  Either Mr. or Ms. Unhappy will find him or herself in the minority, ignored and ousted or their unhappiness and discontent will seep into the environment and poison it and everyone they touch.  Sadly, the latter happens much too often.

It’s surprising how often the misery has nothing to do with the workplace.  Unhappy people are unhappy with virtually every aspect of their lives, so naturally they bring that state of mind to work with them every day and look for some more things there to add to their misery.  They look for more people to pile on to their sympathy bandwagon.

Frankly, I don’t want to hear about how low morale is in the workplace.  What I want to know is what are YOU doing about it?  Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?  Have you lost your enthusiasm for your job?  Too bad.  It might be tough to duplicate or improve upon in the current market, but I encourage you to try, because I’m tired of your attempts to bring the rest of us down with you. 

My dad used to always say, “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

Maybe a little gratitude for what you do have in the workplace would help.  Maybe if you tried to lift up and encourage your coworkers instead of reiterating how miserable they should be you would find a little more joy in your job.  Maybe, just maybe, you should consider what your life would be like if you lost the job you’re complaining about now and were unable to duplicate it.

It isn’t anyone else’s job to lift your morale.  Go back and read the definition of what morale is.  It’s a state of mind.  It’s your state of mind.  Your choice.  Your opportunity.

A Barista Bemoans

A Barista Bemoans

1. “I wanted that iced.”  Usually spoken at the hand-off counter by a customer who doesn’t know the difference between an iced drink and a hot one and didn’t order it iced so we assumed they wanted it hot.  Also usually after you’ve created the perfect hot beverage with perfectly timed shots and meringue-like foam.

 2.  “Can I get some water?”  Usually requested by an individual you’ve never seen before who has no intention of ordering or paying for anything.  Occasionally requested by non-regular customers who apparently have no running or potable water in their homes and must search out the local coffee emporium to order drinking water.  These individuals rarely have any concept of the appropriate use for words like “please” and “thank you.”

 3.  “I don’t want whipped cream.”  Usually this is mentioned after you’ve topped a drink that comes with whipped cream with the perfect dollop of whipped cream.

 4.  “Can I get that with skim milk?”  To which we might reply, “Yes, ma’am, we have non-fat milk.”  “Well, I’d prefer skim milk.”  Um, they’re the same thing.

5.  “This doesn’t taste right.”  Okay, we’re happy to remake it.  What doesn’t taste right about it?  “I don’t know.  It doesn’t taste right.”  Is it bitter?  Too sweet?  Too strong?  “It just doesn’t taste right.”

 6.  “One minute.”  This is usually followed by a finger in the air directed at whoever is trying to take orders and move the line along and is always offered by someone on a cell phone.  Get a clue, people.  If you’re on your cell phone having a conversation you are not ready to order coffee.  Step aside and conclude your phone call.  Then and only then should you get back in line.  The back of the line.

7.  “I don’t know what I want.”  Okay, then, step out of the line, study the menu board some more and narrow down your choices.  We don’t know what you want either, but here are some ideas before you step up to the register:  Do you want a hot drink?  A cold drink?  A drink with coffee?  A drink without coffee?  Something sweet?  Something not so sweet?  If you have questions, ask, but don’t stand there staring at the menu completely clueless when there are ten people standing behind you who know what they want.

8.  “Is this my vanilla latte?”  Usually asked right after you’ve set a vanilla latte on the hand-off counter and called it as a vanilla latte.  Almost always asked when there is only one customer waiting and the only thing ordered was a vanilla latte.

 Some more favorites: 

 The man who brings in his sandwich baggie full of coins and proceeds to count out three dollars or more in pennies, nickels and dimes to pay for his drink.

The people who hand you a ten or a twenty and wait until you’ve counted out their change, including the coins before they say, “Oh, I’ve got the change.”

The exercise freaks who stuff their money inside their sweaty clothes and then pull it out in a crumpled damp mess and hand it to you.

The woman who orders, and waits until you’ve rung up her order to place her gigantic purse on the counter and open it.  She then proceeds to search for her wallet, which is never in plain sight.  She must unzip/unsnap said wallet and root around for some dollar bills usually buried behind twenties and fifties.  Eventually, some ones will make it to the counter, where they will be counted slowly for the cashier’s benefit followed by, “I think I have the sixty-seven cents.”  The wallet will return to the giant handbag, there will be more rooting around for a coin purse and the same procedure will be followed until it is discovered that exact change is indeed not available as was earlier thought.  Coin purse is returned to the handbag, wallet makes another appearance.  Whereupon it is discovered that no more one dollar bills exist within the confines of said wallet and a twenty- or fifty-dollar bill is offered.  Meanwhile, ten minutes of everyone involved’s life has gone by and they will never get it back.

The man who orders a solo espresso, pours cold milk into it at the condiment counter then brings it back to you and asks if you have a microwave. 

Us:  No, we don’t. 

Him:  But my coffee’s cold.

Us:  Oh, did you pour cold milk into a one-ounce shot of espresso? 

Him:  Yes. 

Us:  That’s probably why it’s cold.

Everyday Poetry – 2

Everyday Poetry – 

THIN AGAIN © 2010 by Barbara Meyers

 My skirt is too tight, oh what have I done?

That party last night I shouldn’t have gone.

Or if I went I shouldn’t have eaten.

Those dieting rules?  They’ve all been beaten.

The waistline I discovered just recently

Is now disguised indecently

By a layer of flab around my middle

All right, okay, just one more Skittle…

 

INTERNET DATING © 2010 by Barbara Meyers

He’s not exactly what I thought he would be.

For one thing I thought he’d be taller than me.

He’s got a great smile, yes, that’s true.

But he’s also got toilet paper stuck to his shoe.

In his photo it looks like there’s a full head of hair.

But there’s a spot in the back and none’s growing there…

 

TIRED  © 2010 by Barbara Meyers 

There are dark circles under my eyes

No amount of concealer can disguise.

On my list are ten things I ought to do.

No matter what I accomplish I’m never through.

Another ten will be added before

I set one foot outside the door.

I arrive at work and I really don’t care

If I’m efficient or even effective there…

 

JUST FOR TODAY  © 2010 by Barbara Meyers 

 Just for today I’ll believe I’m okay.

I’ll stick to that no matter what you say.

I’ll be all right even if you don’t love me.

I know there are other fish in the sea.

About how I feel I know you don’t care.

Which makes me very unwilling to share.

You wonder why I sometimes get mad,

And storm off in a mood, it’s because you’re a cad.

You don’t listen to me, your mind’s miles away.

I’ve asked myself often why do I stay?…

HAPPINESS?  © 2010 by Barbara Meyers 

Is anyone truly happy I wonder?

Hearts ripped apart, lives torn asunder.

If you could go back and change the choices you made,

What do you have now that would be worth the trade?

Would you give up your job, your spouse, your home?

Your children, your friends, would you end up alone?

Can you look back and say this was all a mistake?

I wasn’t true to myself, from this nightmare awake… 

Dear Readers:  I don’t know where the inspiration comes from, but Dr. Seuss-like rhyming schemes appear in my head in short, quick bursts.  If I don’t write them down quickly, I forget them.  They are about odd, everyday subjects ranging from the frustration of being a writer to a battling the bulge to the ups and downs experienced during a long-term relationship. 

Above are the first few lines from a few of my poems inspired by everyday life situations. 

I hope you enjoy them.  Come visit me at www.barbmeyers.com

Bad Mood

Do you ever wake up and you’re just in a bad mood?  For no apparent reason?  Maybe the day before you were on top of the world and today, before you even open your eyes, you feel miserable? 

 I woke up in pain this morning, a muscle spasm in my shoulder, my neck stiff from staring down at an espresso bar for six hours yesterday, but it’s more than that.  It’s a sort of defeatist, what’s the point? attitude that goes along with that downer of a mood.  You’re lonely.  No one cares.  No one’s interested.  You don’t want to do anything because after all, what’s the point?

 I don’t know what causes these mood swings.  Hormones?  Something I ate?  My mind playing tricks on me?  I don’t always know what to do to make it go away except to slog on through the day and hope I feel better tomorrow.

Yesterday at work a customer who moved away from the area four years ago came into the store.  She said it was nice to see a familiar face.  I remembered her, though not her name.  She used to come in every morning.  I enjoyed seeing her, but somehow seeing her made me feel old.  Older than I usually feel.  Like I’m stagnating.  I’m not moving forward.  I’m not selling my work.  I’m still waiting on “my” editor to get back to me on something she’s had for six months.  Six months!  Yep, I’m feeling pretty special right about now.  I write something unique and different and the entire manuscript is requested by a top level editor.  She’d like to buy it, but it’s a little too unique and different.  So, I’m going nowhere.

Stack that on top of what’s happened to the economy and the fallout we’ve personally experienced due to that, my family abandonment issues, oh wait, I think I might be getting a clue as to why I woke up in a bad mood today.

 You can sit there and tell yourself many things such as you should count your blessings, there are many people worse off than you and God loves you.  But you know what?  Even doing or knowing all of that, doesn’t immediately change the way you feel.  Sometimes I think we’re entitled to our bad moods.  Sometimes I want to wallow in my misery for a little while.  Maybe it makes me appreciate more those days I don’t wake up in a bad mood.  So for today—keep your distance and don’t talk to me.

On a final note, in regard to annoying people who walk into Starbucks, there is a guy, I don’t know what his deal is, but I grit my teeth every time he approaches the counter.  I’ve heard various stories about him.  That he’s homeless, or unemployed.  Unemployed I can believe, but he doesn’t look homeless. He’s too clean to be homeless.  He rides a bicycle that looks like it’s in pretty good shape.  He’s Eastern European, maybe, with a heavy accent and can barely make himself understood.  I see other of his native countrymen occasionally sitting with him and sometimes they buy him something to drink, because one thing I do know:  this guy never appears to have any money.

 If you make the mistake of sitting outside on a break anywhere near him, he’ll start talking to you like he knows you. If you’re a young pretty girl, he’ll try to get you to be his girlfriend.  He’s probably harmless, but I think he’s a little nuts.  Or maybe a little desperate to connect with another human being.  Thinking that now, I’m thinking I should try a little harder to be kind to him when he comes in.  He never buys anything.  He always wants a cup of water.  Some of the kinder Starbucks partners will throw him a free cup of coffee.  And once upon a time they’d give him a sandwich at the end of the night if it was headed to the garbage anyway.  But then he’d make a mess all over the table and leave the packaging there for us to clean up, which we didn’t appreciate, so we stopped doing that.

 But yesterday he came in.  He stands at the end of the counter and I literally have to force myself to go wait on him.  I stand halfway away and ask him what he wants.  He wants water.  So I go make him a cup, ask him if he wants ice, but I have to ask him twice because I don’t think he understands the question.  I don’t give him a straw or put a lid on the cup, because that’s my payback to him for not buying anything and expecting something for nothing.  Water.  Just a cup of water.  And I wonder why I’m so small and petty in dealing with another human being.  Why do I care so much?  Why does he bother me?  I give him his water with ice and I don’t make eye contact because I don’t like him and off he goes.

 I say something to the shift supervisor about him and I remember something my dad used to always say.  There but for the grace of God go I.  And I think, someday that could be me.  Asking for a cup of water and receiving nothing but contempt from the one grudgingly giving it to me.

I think of what Jesus said:  When I was hungry you gave me food.  When I was thirsty you gave me a drink.  If you did this for the least of my brothers, you did it for me.

 I know there’s a lesson there.  That’s probably why this guy keeps showing up.  To try and teach us the lesson whatever it is.  Compassion.  Kindness.  He’ll keep making an appearance until we learn it.  I think of the example of someone else who works at my store, who never seems to have a problem with this guy, the one who gives him a cup of coffee for free.  I should learn more from his example.

 I always say being kind costs us nothing.  Why can’t I behave that way?