Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tell No One!

On a recent Saturday, I was at the salon getting my hair done. Now, I don't typically do the salon on Saturdays, but I needed to get lovely for an upcoming speaking engagement I had in Charleston and that seemed to be the only time I could fit it in. So there I was amidst the shampoo bowls, hair dryers and steaming curling irons familiar to most women. After a few hours (yes, hours!) of primping and prepping, I landed on the throne of my stylist so she could handle the finishing touches to my locks.

We chatted about books and business, and she shared with me an interesting and sad incident she experienced many years ago. After sharing a fantastic business idea with what she thought was a trusted friend and business partner, she later learned that he had, in fact, stolen her idea! How did she find out? When she turned on the TV to watch Oprah, there he was onstage telling O, her audience, and the entire world about this new thing he had created! (Okay, here's where you gasp!)  

I could only imagine the pain and anger she must have felt towards this guy all those years ago. But, as is typical of me, I asked, "So what lesson did you learn?" Her answer, "Don't share your ideas with people." I don't blame her for taking that approach. After all, when you get burned, it's hard to trust anyone. You share your big fat hairy idea with that one person you think will be happy for you and maybe help you make it a reality. And, of course, you're more than ready to break them off a piece of the profits when they start rolling in, if only they would contribute their honest input and resources. Isn't that how it's supposed to work? In a perfect world, yes. 

Unfortunately, many potentially successful ideas wind up in the courtrooms or on the cutting room floor simply because some people just don't play nice. And that causes the inventors and idea generators among us to clamp down and go it alone, or worse to stop their great idea dead in its tracks. That's what many authors do when it comes to their book ideas. They adopt a "tell no one" stance and keep the idea to themselves for fear that someone will hijack it as their own. If this is your approach, it's completely understandable. We've heard many stories of stolen ideas that have made millions for their unscrupulous idea thieves. To that, I say what my grandmother used to tell me, "God don't like ugly!" 

Although the silent treatment might work at the start of creating your manuscript, success with your book project will be more enjoyable once you develop the courage to open up and share what you're working on. I liken it to being pregnant (what do you expect from The Author's Midwife?). During the first month or two you keep silent with your news. You nurture your budding seed and settle into the idea of the outcome and the incredible impact it will have on your life ... forever! As time goes by, you begin to show. But even before then, you're bubbling over with excitement and can barely stand not to tell someone. That's when you become open to criticism: Why this? Why now? Was it planned or did it just happen? Can you afford to do this? You do realize this will change your entire life?  

Hopefully, you also get the supportive hurrahs from your supporters; those people who you know will encourage you and offer their help along the way. Those are the people you target to share your idea with. So why share? Because you, like every other aspiring author, need support, encouragement, and an honest accountability partner (or several). Find the people who can be that for you and trust them to hold your idea in confidence. There will come a time when you will be so full of the seed that's germinating inside of you that you won't be able to hold the news any longer. And all of that "tell no one" stuff will fly right out of the window. Choose your time. Choose your confidants wisely. And eventually tell the world that you've got a book inside of you and you're just about ready to PUSH! Oh, what a relief it will be! 

When did you finally tell someone about your book, and what was their reaction?


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".

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