I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I came from a working-class family and anything I’ve ever had in life I busted my butt to get, from my first car to my education. I work hard for my money and I don’t want to throw it away. At the same time, there are times when you’ve got to invest a little bit to ensure your safety and that of your family.
I addressed this with a couple of blog posts back in our fulltime RVing days, one titled Frugal Vs Foolish and another titled How Much Is Your Life Worth? Unfortunately, there are some people who just don’t get it and will make really dumb decisions just to save a buck.
A good example is the gentleman from up north who e-mailed me a couple of days ago telling me that they were putting their RV away for the winter and asking me advice on how to winterize it. I pointed him to a couple of YouTube videos on winterizing RVs, and he wrote back and asked me why he should spend $20 a gallon for RV antifreeze when he could get the cheap stuff for $12 a gallon at his local discount auto parts store. I’m not sure what antifreeze he could buy for that price these days, but if it was from an auto parts store, I told him it was probably automotive antifreeze and not made for RV water systems. He wrote back to tell me it was for car radiators, but so what? Antifreeze is antifreeze.
By now, I should know I should just disengage when I run into people like that, but instead, I tried to explain to him that he did not want to be putting ethylene glycol-based antifreeze in the water system of his RV that he was going to be drinking from next summer, even if he was going to flush it come spring. Yesterday evening I received yet another e-mail from him, telling me that he had bought the cheap stuff for his car and his RV and had already winterized the system, and he wasn’t going to waste money on that stuff that I was probably getting a kickback from.
I could have written back and told him then I don’t get a kickback because I didn’t recommend a specific brand of RV antifreeze, but really, what good would that have done? I thought about just writing back and telling him Rest in Peace, but that would be snarky, wouldn’t it? No, seriously, wouldn’t it?
And cheapskates are certainly not just an RV-related phenomenon. These days I hear from just as many authors and wannabe authors as I do RVers, all asking me how I became a bestselling independent author and how they can do it, too. I always tell them that it takes a lot of work, a lot of luck, and the support of some very good people. I urge them to invest in good editors and proofreaders, to spend a few bucks on professional formatting if they can’t figure out how to do it themselves, and to hire a good cover artist.
That’s a lesson I learned myself when my first Big Lake mystery novel came out. I just threw together a quickie cover and released it, and it sold a few copies to my daily blog readers. But after a few months, a popular book review blog wrote about the book and said, “We’ve never read such a good book from a new independent author with such an ugly cover. If this author wants to be successful, he has to invest in good cover art, or else he can just forget it.”
I took their advice and had a good cover made, and two or three months later, that book made the New York Times bestseller list. Now all of my books sport covers by an amazing artist named Elizabeth Mackey, who I refer authors to all the time.
And I hear the same thing back from them over and over; they can’t afford to pay someone to make their covers, or to edit their books, or to format them. How can they get the kind of sales I have and the readership I have without spending that kind of money? The simple answer, my friends, is you can’t. Whether it’s a product to keep you and your family safe, or to grow your business, as the old saying goes, there ain’t no free lunch. It’s all money well spent.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.
Thought For The Day – Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.