Are your books about “issues”? Social awareness? #amwriting #asmsg #LGBT

Are your books about “issues”? Social awareness? #amwriting #asmsg #LGBT

I doubt I could write a book that wasn’t about some issue close to my heart

Do writers have issues they talk about in their books? I’m inclined to say “duh!”, but I do understand that is not always the case. The issue could be to simply entertain the reader. Far from all literature is socially aware. Duh! For me, it seems odd, not to write about social issues in my writing, and while my books never just deal with one issue, and not always with societies “big” challenges, I’ve yet to write a book about “nothing”, even in Ross Deere, I’m looking at issues related to our sexuality, what it determines and what not. Albeit, I’ll grant you, it’s probably my least socially aware book. Then again, it’s Erotica.

Published with an indie publisher

A great example of “male Erotica”. Read the referenced post to learn more, but even something as “superficial” as Erotica holds deeper revelations. No pun intended.

Not really the best forum for social activism, But even this book, in researching the genre for it, I’ve learned more about erotica, and authors about erotica, sexual boundaries, what drives us, how we’re defined as beings, the hell of boxing people into neat categories of str8, gay or whatever, that I have to conclude that writing Ross was an extremely educational venture, as this blog post symbolizes.

In Family Ties, my first novel, I was looking at family, from a very personal point of view. At the time I wrote that book, my main concern wasn’t (to be honest) any burning concerns. I was writing about my own life, my family, and the ultimate test of family. In our case the death of our mother. Trust me when I say that I had no idea that what I wrote about in the book came to pass less than eleven months after I wrote the story, when my mom passed away. Yes, she died form Alzheimer’s, but very unexpectedly, and very much unlike Anna Meyer.

In Jonathan’s Hope (and the other two books in the trilogy), including the one that’s yet to be released, there are a lot of different issues I’m looking at, from age difference in a relationship, homophobia (in general, and specifically what it can drive a closeted gay man to), homelessness among LGBT kids, sexual abuse, old age and yeah, I could go on. Just re-reading Jonathan’s Legacy again the other day, I realized just how many issues that found their way into that book, or, as my publisher put it:

“There are quite a few chunks of Hirschi political statementing […]”

Yeah, that pretty much sums me up. LOL I’m a fountain of political statements… 😉

The Opera House, a book about the loss of a child, and a father's long and difficult journey back to a happy, prosperous life...

The Opera House, tackling social issues including the loss of a child, LGBT homelessness, parenting etc….

I think that as a gay father, parenting is often on my mind, it’s almost a red thread through most of my books. From Family Ties to Jonathan’s Hope (and the entire trilogy, really) to The Opera House, where I put parenting to the ultimate test, i.e. the loss of a child. They tell me that the first chapter is so challenging that I’ve been strongly and actively discouraged from ever reading it at a convention, even though I’d love to. It’s a beautiful chapter and it says a lot about my emotions and convictions around parenting. But alas, losing a child isn’t for everyone.

Book number four is about child abuse and pedophilia, in terms of social activism a difficult book to write. And I am very glad that the reviews were as kind as they are, because this was a very difficult book to write, for so many different reasons. Writing about losing a child to cancer was bad enough, but writing about a child being killed at the hands of a sexual predator, that was very difficult. I think I once told you that I often feel the loss of a character as much as I feel the loss of a real human being. Yes, just today, I was ridiculed on Twitter for saying so, but it is the truth, and no matter what people think or say, to our minds it makes no difference how the memories were created, from within or from the outside.

After The Fallen Angels of Karnataka, I had a long dry spell. Writing that story had drained me, but a few months after it’s publication, I found inspiration in a dance performance, and from it, I wrote Willem of the Tafel, a political story about racism, and how we’re treating our planet. Unfortunately some people don’t understand the basic idea of Willem, that racism is bad, and unacceptable, no matter whether it is a black majority manipulating a white minority (as depicted in the book, or a white majority harassing the black minority, as we see in real life in so many places, not just in the U.S.

I still remember telling my American publicist about wanting to write a story about a black main character, and that they basically told me to re-consider that idea. In other words: “nobody’s going to read a story about a black man…” So I painted him white (get it?) and painted the whites in black, but the real issues at heart are still omnipresent, and the very same.

Jonathan's Legacy Cover

The final book in the trilogy, Jonathan’s Legacy deals with questions of child abuse, homelessness among children as well as LGBT families, to just name a few. The entire trilogy focuses on these issues.

Book number six is about family, again, and parenting, but from the perspective of someone with a physical disability. They even get to raise a child with a disability. But it’s also about parents failing at their task, and parents who do their best at raising a child with a disability, not always realizing when to let go, and when to not let go…

Book seven is the first one, mentioned above, Ross Deere – Handy Man. After that, I wrote books two and three of the Jonathan Trilogy, again looking at various topics, from very old age, losing a life-long partner, finding love again, but also, one of the most important questions I’ve tackled recently, whether for better or worse has a caveat. But there’s also a cultural or ‘racial’ context, as I’ve actively tried to include characters to reflect the multitude of our society, which is more than just caucasian.

Book ten, Shorts, is  – if anything – my most “political” one, as it brings up a great many different aspects of modern LGBT life, for many different reasons. The struggle of the LGBT community is ongoing, and the book tries to highlight the struggles we face, as mundane as they may be. We’ve been reduced to mere sexual beings for such a long time, that it’s about time we focus on other aspects as well.

When I re-read my books (which I do from time to time, because I primarily wrote them for myself) I often find new aspects of my own personality, questions that were on my mind at the time I wrote the book, things that have found their way on the pages of the story. My readers, on the other hand, often find other things they focus on, depending on their own struggles, the questions they’re fencing with at the time they read the story. I’m glad that so many people find so much depth and so many levels within the pages of my books.

Have a great week,

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Hans

The unsung heroes of the indie publishing industry #amwriting #amreading #asmsg

The unsung heroes of the indie publishing industry #amwriting #amreading #asmsg

Author PAs, proof & beta readers, convention volunteers etc., heroes who help keep this industry alive

As an author and former publisher, I meet a lot of people. And many of them are business associates. They provide me with services for editing, proofing, cover designs etc. and I pay them, usually with money, although forms of bartering services do exist. Now this post is completely unrelated to my rant about people using us for freebies or exposure. Quite the contrary. This is an ode to the unsung heroes of our industry, people without whom we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

In this novel, our two main characters look after Frank, a young child with cerebral palsy. Affected by the same disability, this book caught Tracy's attention

In this novel, our two main characters look after Frank, a young child with cerebral palsy. Affected by the same disability, this book caught Tracy’s attention

They’re all readers, book aficionados, reading several books a week. They all have day jobs of some sort and volunteer their time to authors and publishers, investing their free time and vacations. I could name dozens of such people, from Randy Gresham and his DJ:ing (plus much more) at GRL to Jor Barrie, who proofreads for my publisher to Petronella Ford who loads all the USB sticks with our author/publisher content for the UK Meet. Just three amazing individuals, heroes really, to represent hundreds if not thousands more.

One of these heroes that I work with, and who tirelessly helps me, posting my banners and my name in dozens of online groups for contests every day, and who is pimping my books to readers, is Tracy Willoughby.

You’ve met her a couple of months ago on this blog when I interviewed her about her life. Tracy isn’t just a reader, she’s also an author PA, spending several hours per day helping almost a dozen authors with various tasks.

I’ve heard of personal assistants, I had one myself at one time when I was a director at a large industrial firm, and I’m familiar with virtual assistants, but I was unfamiliar with the exact tasks an “author PA” did, so I asked Tracy to enlighten me:

Basically a PA does whatever the author needs.  In my case I pimp their work which means putting it in different Facebook book promotion groups.  I also keep track and remind them of takeovers.  For those reading this and don’t know, takeovers are when an author gets on a Facebook page and talks about themselves and their books. They can be a lot of fun. For the author I PA for I help post links in her takeovers.  Also she knows she can message me and ask me to do whatever she needs. I try to come up with ideas to get her sales up. I keep a folder with her and other authors with everything i may need to help them. Every PA is different and does things differently.
Tracy works for free. She doesn’t charge a dime. When I asked her about it, she first claims that she isn’t – and I quote – “good enough”. Mind you, there are those out there who charge up to $50 an hour. I’d have to sell 25 books/hr just to pay her. Needless to say, I wouldn’t. Not that she isn’t worth it. I can’t afford to. Tracy certainly is “good enough”, mind you, a combination of low self-esteem and a slight disability, not to mention Internet trolls have gotten to Tracy and made her feel badly about herself and her calling.
Spanish_Bay_recommendation

Tracy’s recommendation of Spanish Bay in one of her many online groups on Facebook. I couldn’t do this, and so I’m grateful for her (and others) who help us spread the word about our books.

 

Nothing is more valuable to me than a reader who thinks my books are “da shit”, who reviews my work and tells their friends about it. Tracy, who also suffers from cerebral palsy, took my book Spanish Bay, with a CP character to heart, and she pushes for that book every chance she gets. And I know for a fact that word of mouth beats any paid advertising. I’ve seen it happen often enough.

Asked about her motivations and how much time she helps her authors, Tracy had this to say:
Some days more than others, usually a few hours a day, but I really don’t keep track.  It all depends how many authors I PA for. Right now, I just have the one with a bunch I help on the side.  At one point I had three authors I PA’d for, plus I also helped others on the side. I just do stuff as needed. I’ve been known to be up at 11 pm pimping for authors or attending takeovers. I once spent a whole day on an author event helping out when said author couldn’t make it. An author event is where an author will host a bunch of takeovers for different authors.  
On a side note I love being a PA for authors. Actually I love helping authors in general. Getting a thank you publicly or in private or like one time when I got an acknowledgment in a book is way better then getting paid.
That final sentence says it all!
As an author, father & consultant (to name three of my hats), I have so many things to do. Just today I translated a document for a client, proofed one of my own books for several hours, worked on reviews (getting and writing) and now I’m writing this post, that’s not even mentioning cooking or the tech support for my aging dad. When I’m interacting on Facebook or other social media, I will share a book trailer, or share a snippet of where I’m at in the book process. But to pimp my own books? No, that’s not who I am.
People like Tracy (and all her unnamed sisters and brothers out there, including Petronella, Jor and Randy) are our unsung heroes, the ones who make sure we find the time to write, or as Tracy told me on the phone the other day:
“I’m so grateful for all the books you guys write. Without you, there wouldn’t be books for us to read!”
Who am I to argue with such a profound statement? I try to do right by people. I pay invoices on time, I try to help my amazing publisher if I can, I try to help fellow authors if I can. With fans and people who work for free that is not so easy. So we send them books, signed of course, we thank them when we meet them in person, with e.g. chocolates. But as Tracy says, helping us authors is a hobby for many readers, and for her,
[…] a thank you or when they get a new fan/reader because of my efforts, that makes feel like a part of something. If you believe in an author why wouldn’t you help if you could.
Hans M Hirschi
So, today, I would like to use this post to say thank you, to all of you who volunteer your time for authors, publishers and conventions, in whatever role. You’re the true heroes of the indie publishing industry. Thank you for reading, and for helping us do what we do best: pen down the stories that come to our minds.
Thank you!
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.
Hans M Hirschi
author at times
Observing emotions at a family event, great writing material #MondayBlogs #asmsg #amwriting

Observing emotions at a family event, great writing material #MondayBlogs #asmsg #amwriting

Emotions, emotions, emotions: high and low, making for great inspiration

I’m still exhausted after a weekend full of emotions. Not to mention that sleep was not at the top of our menu these past days. Getting up early on Thursday to fly to Switzerland in two jumps to Lugano, via Zurich. Meeting family and friends all afternoon and well into the evening, not to mention a first dip in the pool with the kid. Same procedure on Friday, playing in the pool, playing in a playground before the official festivities began at 2:45 p.m. with a short bus ride to the only farm in Switzerland producing, among many things, rice. From there, and a wine tasting, back to the hotel, another pool dip and a trip to a dinner on a hill with an amazing view from the local grotto: stunning.

Family Ties, the first novel I've ever written. And as such it is very autobiographical, and the emotions run high...

Family Ties, the first novel I’ve ever written. And as such it is very autobiographical, and the emotions run high…

Saturday was marred by the miserable weather (rain, more rain, and then some…) but spirits were high as we entered a bus to travel across the border to Italy for a great and highly magical lunch before watching a show with various birds of prey, from owls to eagles and falcons. Amazing! The highlight was of course the dinner that night, with competitions, a short movie presentation, speeches and then some. But it isn’t the “content” of what we did that is the focus. Rather, it is the emotional context that provides me with great inspiration moving forward.

No, I won’t use my aunts and uncles as characters. I did that in my first book, Family Ties. Ain’t happening again. Ever. However, I’ve always been a study of human emotions, and it is these emotions, which manifest themselves in the weirdest and most unexpected ways at such events that will provide me with LOTS of input.

The first real test came on Friday when my uncle called to notify us that they were lost, somewhere in Locarno. My dad tried to explain how to find us, I sent them our location to his iPhone, hoping he would understand how to start the GPS (no such luck). Thirty minutes later, the next call: “I’ve done something stupid…” Trying to change lanes without looking, he’d forced an octogenarian to take her refuge onto the refuge, blowing both tire and cracking the wheel. When my dad and I arrived at the scene, the police were right behind us and luckily, we managed to avoid any police action. Later that evening, the lady was waiting at the hotel and I had to calm the heated emotions flowing between the two. Thing is, in situations like these, emotions run high, they soar without inhibition and all of a sudden there’s a spark and voices explode, insults fly backwards and forwards before you cue the next item on the list: tears.

With views like this, who needs anything else? I absolutely love this landscape, and to let my soul dangle for a while, just enjoying the view. This is Lago Maggiore, looking south, into Italy. Makes you feel emotions, too, and it is in this context I usually use locations in my book, to elicit emotions.

With views like this, who needs anything else? I absolutely love this landscape, and to let my soul dangle for a while, just enjoying the view. This is Lago Maggiore, looking south, into Italy. Makes you feel emotions, too, and it is in this context I usually use locations in my book, to elicit emotions. Photo: Private

Add a dash of shock (the emotional state after any crisis) and yeah, my uncle must’ve been grateful that I was present to sort things our for him. What I take with me from that exchange is the interaction, the way these two nagged at each other, how even the smallest word would trigger an escalation, how communication broke down. I had to mediate and make sure that both got to keep their faces. Last night, I sent her flowers, with an official apology from the family. This is kind of funny. Remember we spoke of honor last week, the kind of honor that ISN’T honor, but dishonor. So, allow me to show you real honor (at least in my book): when my uncle was losing his mojo, he “sullied” our family name, at least in the sense that the lady began to associate the name “Hirschi” with idiots.

Here's a shot of the reception before our final dinner. And the day's adventures wore out my son, who fell asleep in his pappa's arms. We put him to bed and he sadly missed the entire evening. But he had a great weekend, too.

Here’s a shot of the reception before our final dinner. And the day’s adventures wore out my son, who fell asleep in his pappa’s arms. We put him to bed and he sadly missed the entire evening. But he had a great weekend, too. Photo: Private

Now, in an honor culture, I would’ve had to punish her, teach her a lesson. maybe a pig’s or horse’s head in her lawn? Kill her even? But that’s now how I’ve been taught how to do things. Instead, I apologized for ruining her Friday afternoon. Even though it was an accident, and even though she provoked my uncle with her nagging, it was still unfortunate, and not a conscious effort to destroy her day. That’s why we call it accident. In my world, you best restore your honor and hopefully replace the bad memories associated with our name with the scent of a beautiful flower and some nice chocolates. What do you say? Preferable to a horse’s head in bed? I’d say so…

There were no more crisis, but in a family where you enjoy the return from the dead (one of my uncles had a recent liver-transplant, and it is a joy to see him recover so well), where you see how the mere mention of a dearly departed (sadly, we’ve lost two family members in the past five years, including my mother) draws fresh tears from people, when you see how people have fun and enjoy the company of people you don’t get to see very often, how the presence of a little child among all those seniors is infusing them with energy, smiles and lots of laughter, well, needless to say, it provides my subconscious with tons of material if I ever need it.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

I’ll try to catch up on sleep this week, because I was totally exhausted of looking out for everyone during these days. Fun, loads of fun, but I simply long for my bed. “Unfortunately” there won’t be much of that, because I’ve been sent the edits for my final two books this weekend, the new second revised edition of Common Sense as well as the final book in the Jonathan Trilogy, Jonathan’s Legacy. And since Jonathan’s Legacy has an attached publication date, it has priority. I’ll focus on that today. Can’t wait for that book to reach you. Have you seen the trailer?

Have a wonderful week,

Hans

“Honor”: rarely has a word been misunderstood and abused more… #LGBT #amreading #asmsg

“Honor”: rarely has a word been misunderstood and abused more… #LGBT #amreading #asmsg

From “honor culture” to “family honor”, what people really mean is something else entirely

Every day, people around the world are suffering under what we our societies are usually referring to as “honor”, be it from a cultural perspective or on a more intimate, family level. And I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to read people express fears about their family’s honor.

So before we go into detail about this, let’s have a look at the word “honor”, and how it is defined. The online version of Merriam-Webster has this to offer us:

  • respect that is given to someone who is admired
  • good reputation : good quality or character as judged by other people

  • high moral standards of behavior

What people will refer to is usually the second part, when they say shit like “my family’s honor” needs to be respected/upheld etc. as a means of justifying locking their girls up in the house, killing  a sister/daughter/brother or forcing women to wear some sort of veil. Oddly, the second part (and the complete and utter dismissal of “good”) is the exact opposite of what we consider high moral standards or behavior. Now, in all world religions, without exception, killing is wrong, and the golden rule everywhere is “to treat others as you wish to be treated”. You don’t need a PhD to get this. Killing is wrong, hitting is wrong, making people do things against their will, is wrong.

Yet all of the above is considered okay in the name of “honor”. Please people, would you get yourself a new word? Because it’s not your honor we’re talking about here. Vanity? Perhaps. Illusions of grandeur? Likely. Stupidity? Guaranteed! Non-existent self-esteem? You betcha! Let’s face it. If a man’s “honor” (this is ridiculous…) hinges on his wife’s behavior, or his sister’s or daughter’s, what a poor schmuck isn’t such man? Honestly? This just makes absolutely no sense. And to inflict pain, harm or whatever on someone else is never honorful, quite the contrary. You’re a creep! You disgust me. How do you expect me to respect you if you do not even respect your own family members?

Social Media phenomenon Qandeel Baloch was slaughtered by her own brother for allegedly dishonoring the family. Sadly, many youth still think this is a "necessary" task for male members of a family. Source: YouTube

Social Media phenomenon Qandeel Baloch was slaughtered by her own brother for allegedly sullying the “family honor”. Sadly, many youth still think this is a “necessary” task for male members of a family. Source: YouTube

Just this week, in several noted articles in Swedish papers, a Facebook group was discussed where young boys and men discuss “honor” in the light of the killing of a Pakistani woman who was a human rights champion. She was killed in the name of that wretched word. Oddly, it seems that even in our enlightened country (or so we’d like to think, here in the home of soft porn), boys are completely open about sharing such godforsaken and backwards views, saying that they’d hide, hit or even kill their own sisters if they behaved in a similar fashion. And when I say open, they do so under their real names, actually saying (only their sisters would know if they mean it) they’d kill a sister for  going out with the “wrong” guy or kill a sibling for being gay. Imagine. No shame for inciting a crime, for threatening others to their lives, for openly defying the law and the moral and any ethical standards of our nation (and just about every other one out there, because as far as I know, murder is illegal in all nations).

So, maybe we should just stop referring to “honor” killings or “family honor” and just call it for what it is: lunacy, idiocy, absolute and utter crazy. The only people with honor are the ones who try to live their lives under the loving light of the rainbow, because love will always trump hate. There is no honor in hate, never has been, never will be.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Have a good weekend.

Hans

How I use Triberr and hopefully make the most of it. #MondayBlogs #Marketing #amwriting

How I use Triberr and hopefully make the most of it. #MondayBlogs #Marketing #amwriting

Triberr helps me get my blog posts, aka my writing, out to a broad public

Another week, another blog post to write, and today I figured I’d give you some more (I’ve written about my use of Triberr before) insights into how I’ve recently developed my use of the platform. Now Triberr is for free, for newbies, and I still find that most beginners see this as a sort of Klondike and give up early if they don’t find gold in the first few weeks. I’ve been using Triberr for over three years, when fellow author and friend, Brandon Shire, invited me to his LGBT tribe. To recap the basic functionality of Triberr, you upload your blog posts to Triberr, where people will share it to their Social Media followers, be it on LinkedIn, Facebook or – mostly – Twitter.

Here's a tribe mate who shares actively. They also share my stuff. So all good here. I share all twelve of their posts.

Here’s a tribe mate who shares actively. They also share my stuff. So all good here. I share all twelve of their posts.

Like other aggregation platforms out there, Triberr only works when you input, and for the most part, you have to give MORE than you get out. I know this sounds harsh, even illogical, but allow me to explain. And since I only use Triberr on Twitter, I’ll stick to it for now. When you share someone’s post on Twitter, they’ll see that, and they might just share one of yours. However, there is no guarantee. I’ve had people on Triberr tell me they only share a certain topic etc., afraid they’d lose followers. I won’t even try to argue that point. Because I’m sure there is someone out there, following you on Twitter, who will be offended by a off-topic tweet about something else than they expect. However, for the vast majority of Twitter users, they won’t even notice.

Understand Twitter to understand Triberr

To understand how Triberr works these days, you need to understand how Twitter works. A few years ago, there were a few people who had HUGE fan followings (the net difference between followers and people you follow is called “fans”). These days, these accounts are still out there, but there are also accounts with huge followings but literally no fans, because of the #followback trend. It’s not uncommon to see people who follow tens, sometimes hundreds of thousand of people. Picture their Twitter flow. Yes, exactly. Like a train running amok. You won’t ever see a tweet sitting still, that’s how quickly they roll down your screen. I know, I follow a few thousand, and I can barely read my stream. So I don’t. Rarely. What I do watch is my mentions, and – every now and then – I look at my stream. HOWEVER, that’s not necessarily a problem (who watches water run down a river for days?) What Twitter allows you is to search for things. Which is easy, using smart hashtags (these things here: #) or just any word, kind of like Google. There are certain hashtags that are more widely used than others, but that’s how people find things. And share, comment, retweet from there.

Here's someone fairly typical on Triberr. This person is fairly active, posting almost daily, but sharing extremely selectively. I have stopped sharing such posts, because of my new 1:10 rule

Here’s someone fairly typical on Triberr. This person is fairly active, posting almost daily, but sharing extremely selectively. I have stopped sharing such posts, because of my new 1:10 rule

Back to Triberr. Knowing this, I blog using lots of hashtags, hashtags that make sense to me and my writing. I limit myself to three per post, because, well, common sense (and because someone who knows this, told me it’s common curtesy), unlike Instagram where people create entire sentences and paragraphs with hashtags: #making #it #fucking #difficult #to #read #if #you #ask #me… But then again, to each his own. On Triberr, you become member of tribes, usually centered around a common goal, e.g. writing or blogging or SEO or LGBT. Brandon Shire’s LGBT writer’s group was the first tribe I joined, with a few members and a relatively small reach (i.e. the combined number of people following us on Twitter). But that’s fine, because again, it’s not just about how many people you have in your following list, it’s about hashtags and being found, and the more often your post is shared, the more tweets there are, the more likely you’ll be returned in those search results, and found, and read etc.

Here’s how I use Triberr

Today, I’m a member of 76 tribes and I have a potential (this number is BS, but it’s everybody’s twitter following combined, the number of people any of my blog shares could potentially reach. Right. You get the picture… BS) number of people in my reach of 44M. In reality, it’s more like a few thousand, but that is still pretty good. I check my Twitter feed (mentions and DMs) maybe three or four times a day, and on average, I have more than 20 of them waiting for me, every time, which means loads of people have liked or retweeted my posts. That is the point of Triberr, to have as many of my posts read by as many people as possible. Because in the end, what I want, is for more people to discover (and buy) my books. My blog, Triberr and Twitter, are merely a means to an end. Well, plus I can’t keep my mouth shut about this and that, and the blog is a great outlet for that.

I used to blog five times a week, Monday through Friday, and that was a lot of work. Meanwhile, I’ve begun to work daytime again, and I just can’t justify the time it takes to blog, plus I’ve also ventured into videoblogging on YouTube, and each of those episodes takes even more time than a blog post, so net? I’m not sure I’m saving that much time. But in the interest of keeping my writing up, finding new readers, and keeping existing fans happy in between books, I keep my blogging up.

Now I see a lot of this, and this person is auto-sharing their own stuff. But worse than this are those who post lots of posts and share zilch. This one got muted, and I'll never see them again. Their loss.

Now I see a lot of this, and this person is auto-sharing their own stuff. But worse than this are those who post lots of posts and share zilch. This one got muted, and I’ll never see them again. Their loss.

I’ve often wondered how and what I should share on Triberr, and I’m not one of those who worries much about “content”, although I will not share religious posts or political posts that go against my personal convictions. That’s it. Easy. However, I have some three-thousand people in my circles on Triberr and hundreds of posts every week, so what do I share? With my account, I can share about 500 posts weekly. In the past I’d share everyone on Mondays and then share those who shared my stuff during the remaining six days. However, there are so many people on Triberr acting as leaches that I’ve recently changed my position. That is also an effect of me not blogging as much any more, and my posts “drown” in the sheer mass of blog posts on Triberr. So this is what I’ve decided:

  • I will share any post (with the exceptions mentioned above) if the blogger shares at least ten times as many posts as they post
  • I will not share anyone who shares fewer than ten times their own post, and I’ll tell you, there are people on Triberr who publish fifty or more posts, a week (god knows how they do it…)
  • I will mute anyone who doesn’t share. I have three thousand people to sieve through, I can’t be bothered with non-sharers. This is a tough rule, because on Triberr, you have no vacation. Even on the seven seas, I make sure to log onto Triberr at least once a week, preferably daily, to share! That’s the level of commitment required to make this work
  • In my Tribes (I now “own/run” four of them), I will let in followers who share freely (which most don’t, because they don’t get it)
  • In my Tribes I will toss people out who haven’t shared for a month. I see that kind of information in my tribes. It’s better to have fewer people in a tribe than a bunch of leeches who clog on the goodness of others. It only demoralizes people to see that others aren’t pulling their weight. And sadly, on Triberr, most tribes are inactive, some of them are huge.

Some words of advice on using Triberr

Makes you wonder why anyone would want to join Triberr in the first place… Well, here are a couple of reasons and benefits I’ve found because of joining:

  • More followers on Twitter (I’ve grown from 1K followers to over 7K in these three years, organically, I might add)
  • I’ve found friends on Triberr, I’ve interviewed people for my blog, read and reviewed books and have been interviewed/reviewed
  • I learn a lot from the posts I come across. While I can’t read the hundreds of posts I share, I will read probably two-three every day, about all kinds of topics, from books to SEO, Marketing, learning and whatever else that catches my interest.
  • Given the number of people who share my posts (about 150 on average), I have a much better reach with my tweets than I could’ve ever imagined, and sometimes, out of nowhere, you get a new reader, a great comment or an offer for something.
  • Do I see an increase in actual book sales? Is it worth it? Can I write another blog post about this subject please? The short answer is: dunno. While my sales have increase YOY, I don’t know why.

What does it take to reach this level?

  • Time (I’ve been at it for three years, no breaks), perseverance and sharing, LOTS of sharing. And you give, a lot, before you can expect to get anything back.

Why do people fail? Easy, they don’t understand or care to bother with the sentence right above this one!

If you have questions about Triberr, or if you’re interested in joining any of my tribes (or others), feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help, provided you’re willing to invest. No, not money, but the time and effort needed to make it work. And I’ll be honest with you, I have little time for jokers and “shiny object” chasers. Do you know how much time it takes me, every day, to sieve through all those posts, deciding who’s going to be shared and who isn’t? I don’t need any more jokers in my stream. No thank you.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Have a productive week.

Hans

 

I’m in-schooling my son, and it’s teaching me about honesty #asmsg

I’m in-schooling my son, and it’s teaching me about honesty #asmsg

Children learn through careful observation of adults

I’m in-schooling my son this week, and it’s not the most “fun” of activities. Picture the parents of a good dozen kids from Sweden, India, various African countries etc sitting in the school library from nine to eleven every morning, kept away from work, some with their laptops to keep a semblance of normalcy, some trying to entertain their older kids, whose school term hasn’t started yet, some reading, while others try to strike up a conversation, quietly, even though that’s against everything we were all taught once, when we went to school.

Then, after two hours we get to go back into the class room and pick up our kids to go home, where we try to entertain them as best as we can for the rest of the day, while we are not getting much work done, if any. I write this blog post late in the evening, just as I recorded my vlog late last night (and uploaded it all night). I’m not complaining. It’s two weeks that will spearhead the scholastic career of my son. He’ll spend the next twelve school years in that building, hopefully laying the foundation for a bright academic and professional career. That again being the foundation, which is far more important, for a happy and fulfilling life.

Here are my son's bath toys, the three ducks and his sea plane. I'll let you decide who's who... ;) Photo: Private

Here are my son’s bath toys, the three ducks and his sea plane. I’ll let you decide who’s who… 😉 Photo: Private

My son is three years old, and we’ve already made some crucial decisions that are going to impact our son’s life for a very long time, if not for his entire life. Some decisions, like what school to pick, are obvious. Others probably not so much. Kids are amazing in terms of how they learn, how much they can absorb and how quickly they do so. A lot of what children learn is through observation, and imitation. That is something we often forget, as parents, as role models, or citizens.

A few weeks ago, during our weekly bath ritual, my son was playing with the three bath ducks I’ve collected on my trips with Lufthansa. Two “bigger” ducks from the Frankfurt hub and a small one from the Munich hub. There was my son, in the tub, with a daddy duck, a mommy duck and a Sascha duck (I’ll leave it to you to figure out which duck was cast in what part). What really amazed me was that already, at this age, he understands the societal norm: mommy, daddy and child.

So I asked him: where is pappa? (I simply assumed that daddy duck was me, since he refers to me as daddy, currently in the most horrific British rendition of that word). He picked up the momma duck and said, “this is pappa” to then proceed to play with his toy sea plane to which he referred to as “non”, which is my dad’s title for grandfather in Romansh. Long story short, last Sunday, replacing mommy with pappa wasn’t so easy any more. All the parents he sees, all the silly shows he watches on YouTube, particularly one Peppa Pig (I never knew I could despise a kids’ show quite this much…) have already cemented his perception of what a family looks like.

Sascha and the discoveries (a fraction) from his pappa's old bedroom. Always learning, every waking second.

Sascha and the discoveries (a fraction) from his pappa’s old bedroom. Always learning, every waking second.

Now this isn’t about my son, as much as I love him. It’s about all of us, but primarily our kids. They learn not from what we say (all you parents know that “don’t do this!” or “don’t do that!”, no matter the infliction or volume of our voices, rarely keep our kids from doing exactly that: doing whatever we don’t want them to. No, the best way to keep kids from doing things is to lead by example, which is difficult. I don’t jump into muddy puddles like daddy Pig, but Sascha thinks this is fun. And whatever else he sees. But those are relatively harmless, if annoying, anecdotes. Shoes will dry eventually, clothes can be laundered.

I’m thinking about the big things, the things we hear on TV, the things we read in the papers. And naturally, as a father, I worry. I can’t imagine my son watching the innuendo we see on TV every day. Now I’ll grant you, Sascha is too young to see Donald Trump lie on television, but he will. It’s just a matter of time. It will be a different politician, a different name, different circumstances. It could be anybody, a friend, a relative, a teacher. Lead by example, not with our words.

I wish more people would understand that: walk the talk, that’s the way this world needs to go. When I turn on my TV it’s mostly the opposite. That is frightening.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Have a great weekend.

Hans

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