Every once in a while I am contacted by an author who saw one of my reviews on Amazon with a request to review their book. If, after perusing their website or Tweets, they seem like a good fit, I write back that I am happy to oblige. I usually note any time limits that I have in my reply, along with my process so they know what to expect. Unfortunately, I realized this lesson in courtesy, fairness, service, let’s just call it generosity, is one that many of us still need to learn.
“John” is a prime example. He’s an author with a book he wants reviewed, by me, he tells me in his email. After I respond back in the affirmative, he replies back with a form email (kind of like his initial one to me, to be perfectly honest), without even a “Dear Elizabeth” or any greeting at all. There was only one sentence: thanks for agreeing to review my book.” and then…the attachment. All 200 pages of his book in PDF format. I saw red. It took me a few minutes to compose a reply. Here it is:
“Hmmm…if you ask someone the favor
of reviewing your book, it would behoove you to send them the actual book instead of a 200 page PDF that they then need to take additional time to print. “Generosity first and last”
, especially if you want something from someone. Spreading the word about the work that you do is about service (as in serving others), creating a connection and building trust.
Send your PDF on to the next person on your list. I’m no longer interested.”
And, I hit “send.”
It’s worth repeating: be generous. If you ask a favor of someone, be prepared to be generous about it. If you can’t be generous, don’t ask.
Generosity isn’t doing someone what you think is a favor. Generosity is figuring out – by asking, taking an informed guess, or using common sense – what someone could use, in their life or business, to make things easier. Especially if you are asking them a favor. It’s serving others with the art that you make: whether that is a book or other tangible product or a service that solves a problem. Generosity is making it easy for someone to talk you up, spread the word about your awesome skill and become a fan.