Monday, March 25, 2024

It's always fair to question whether people know what they're talking about

More nightmare fuel from the AI Blog Post Image Generator. The eyes are just a little too wide, the pupils a little too small.

One problem with the Internet (among many) is that everyone has a voice, but relatively few have credibility.

That is to say, you can't go far wrong ignoring the vast majority of what you read online. And I'm not just talking about the wacky social theories or the laughably partisan political stuff, either. I mean just about everything.

Including this blog.

A few months ago I worked with a brilliant guy named Brian Skillen and his team on ways to increase sales and visibility of my book. They knew exactly what they were doing, and to the extent I followed their advice, I undoubtedly ended up selling more paperback and electronic copies of "5 Kids, 1 Wife."

The biggest thing the experience gave me, though, was clarity around who I am (and am not) as a writer, what I have to offer, and why I write in the first place.

I learned from Brian and Co. that non-fiction books that sell well tend to do so because they help a reader along his/her individual journey. They solve a problem or provide a way forward with a relevant issue or challenge.

In short, they answer the reader's eternal question of "what's in it for me?"

Brian suggested the best route for me would be to position "5 Kids, 1 Wife" as a practical  if somewhat humorous and even tongue-in-cheek  guide to parenting. Lots of people want advice on how to raise their kids, and who better to get advice from than a guy who raised five of them?

In theory, this makes sense.

But here's the thing: My kids turned out pretty well despite me. I really don't know what to tell people when they ask for parenting advice.

Honestly, I just kind of stumbled my way through it, and thankfully it ended up working out. I'm simply not an expert when it comes to being a dad.

Over time, I've come to realize that what I offer up here on the blog and in the book is not practical instruction, but really entertainment. It's just me writing goofy stuff for the fun of it and hoping you'll come along for the ride.

So if it ever seems like I'm offering serious (and clearly unsolicited) advice about being a parent, a spouse, a friend or anything else, remember I don't really know what I'm talking about. Like most people who create content on the Internet, I can be safely disregarded.

My only hope is that, when I write about something stupid I've done or I make another painful dad joke, you will chuckle for a second and then go on with your day feeling a wee bit happier.

That is, in the end, all I can really give you.

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