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What It Takes

What It Takes

Beyond the Words: Pitching Presentation and Sending

By Callie Oettinger | Published: October 21, 2016

We’ve discussed pitch content in previous articles.

But what about presentation and sending? How should they look and how should they be sent?


In his free Skillshare class, MailChimp’s Fabio Carneiro reminds viewers that research has shown “people delete ugly e-mails.” He makes a good point using design that speaks to specific types of customers, too.

“If you know your audience is mostly developers, you could make your content more technical. You could generally make your design much simpler as well, so that it’s the textual information that stands out. For designers on the other hand, they might appreciate something that looks a little nicer — and for the content to be less technical and more subjective.”

A friend in the music industry always includes a video of her clients performing whenever she shares information about them. Makes sense. The music and the performance are what’s being sold. For a visual artist, images of artist’s work make sense. Why send all text when the work is a painting?

At Black Irish Books, we’ve found the simpler the better. For promotions, keep it short, to an image, the offer, and a link. If you’re sending a newsletter, lengthy content might fly, but for pitching… Too often Steve and Black Irish Books receive pitches that run the length of short stories. The pitch — what the sender wants — is the most important piece, yet it often ends up being a short ask at the end of two pages detailing the life of the sender. On the minimalist side, there’s this: (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

Why Love Rules

By Shawn Coyne | Published: October 14, 2016

Lenny Kravitz Launched His Career with Love Story

Lenny Kravitz Launched His Career with Love Story

What if tomorrow everything you’ve learned about storytelling disappeared?

What would you do?

Where would you begin to relearn your craft?

For those of us who spend a considerable amount of our conscious hours inside our heads, the likelihood of this happening is pretty slim. Barring some highly unlikely blunt force trauma to our noggins, we’re not going to lose everything we know overnight.

But is it not instructive to use our imaginations to consider what we would do if the worst catastrophic fantasy of a storyteller were to actually happen? (more…)

Posted in What It Takes

What It Takes

What It Takes

You Need More Than A High IQ

By Callie Oettinger | Published: October 7, 2016

Knowing how something originated often is the best clue to how it works.”

— Terrence Deacon

The good news: IQ levels are higher today than they were 100 years ago—and continue to increase.

The bad news: Higher IQs aren’t making us smarter.

In a recent interview with the BBC, James Flynn said, “the major intellectual thing that disturbs me is that young people . . . are reading less history and less serious novels than [they] used to.”

From Flynn’s perspective, this lack of reading makes us ripe for an Orwellian dystopia. “All you need are ‘ahistorical’ people who then live in the bubble of the present, and by fashioning that bubble the government and the media can do anything they want with them.”

He’s right. George Santanaya wasn’t joking when he said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Then there’s this quote, also from that BBC interview:

“Reading literature and reading history is the only thing that’s going to capitalise on the IQ gains of the 20th Century and make them politically relevant.”

Let’s take politics out of it and focus in on the individual.

Even at the very basic level, as in considering your personal career goals, being “ahistorical” is a recipe for disaster.


Posted in What It Takes
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