Setting expectations correctly is harder than it seems

After all that I have written about the vital necessity of setting expectations correctly, I belatedly realized that I have missed the mark in terms of preparing readers for what they would find in my book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day!

Many readers have been trying to tell me about this, but it took recruiter Jim Durbin to put it into words that I could clearly understand.

Jim Durbin: The first three chapters define conditions where a person’s career starts to head the wrong direction.  They represent accurate descriptions of dysfunctional workplaces, not a harangue against former employers and co-workers.

DUH! I knew that the first three chapters are very painful reading for many hard-working professionals, because they bring up experiences which were major setbacks in their careers!

I tried to prepare them in the book, but I failed to set expectations properly in my ad copy and on my Danger Quicksand website.

People who were ready for the grim realities of employment scarfed up the information and gave me rave reviews. These people had been chewed up and spit out by corporations and they were tickled pink to find out they weren’t crazy, they weren’t alone, and there was something they could do to put it all behind them and get on with life!

On the other hand, people looking for an amusing book on surviving corporate employment, but with no real idea of what a dysfunctional workplace is, found my descriptions disturbing. This was true of the book reviewers who had not been exposed to a career-threatening workplace.

By setting reader expectations properly, I would have warned off the casual browsers and would have attracted those with serious career difficulties. I am addressing this now by saying that this book contains graphic data unsuitable for young impressionable minds.

The money quote is:

If you are a typical hard-working professional, the first three chapters are going to be painful because they deal with some of the worst experiences you have ever had.

The payoff comes when you realize that what happened was not your fault, and that there is a brighter future ahead if you can put this behind you.

We’ll see how potential readers respond. I think it will be interesting.

Have any of you writers experienced any difficulty in matching your book promotion to the reader’s experience in reading your book?

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0 Responses to Setting expectations correctly is harder than it seems

  1. reader-bidder says:

    Sir, your book is right on the target!
    Having read it, I say, don’t change a word in it.

  2. Thanks! I don’t intend to change the book in any way.

    I just need to do a better job of describing it so I reach more readers like yourself.

  3. David,

    Be it on the job or in life, the investment of time in setting appropriate expectations is one of the key things that help people to manage stress.

    If they are set properly, you may or may not like the situation, but at least you know what you are getting into, and since many of us tend to blame ourselves for negative outcomes, at least you have the knowledge that the outcome is not “on you.”

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