Initiative versus interest

April 29, 2012
My first book has opened a whole new galaxy to me. Among the various life lessons it has already taught me in this short time, the one that I enjoy the most is analysing human reactions and actions thrown my way.
And so all the warm to lukewarm and even cold responses from acquaintances, I use as fodder for my mind and soul.
One of my friends, who is helping me promote the book [], put up a post on his Facebook page requesting his mammoth network of friends (more than 5,000!) to share and like and possibly read and even buy my work. But after a couple of days when only four friends shared the info on their respective pages, the crusader posted another message reminding his FB friends what to do – ‘Common share!’ he urged them.
To that comment, an active FB user wrote, ‘I don’t know her. She (that’s me) needs to take the initiative’.
I failed to understand what’s the initiative I needed to take, when my info appeared on her homepage without her asking for the same.
Nevertheless, I send her a friend request. More than 24hours later she confirmed me as her FB friend.
She neither contacted me nor shared the book info. Initiative was not enough, I deduced. I decided to introduce myself to her in a private message, when a gentleman called me.
I was introduced to this person through my crusader friend again. This person had promised to have the book introduced on his radio show. Which he, indeed, had arranged efficiently.
The phone I received while I sat mulling on writing my bio-data to the FB user who needed me to initiate was that of this gentleman media professional. He wanted to know more about my work. I briefed him. A few days later he called yet again and wanted to have a book. He called a third time and wanted to meet me and get to know me better.
This is what I call interest. If you are interested there is no room for initiation. Interest is the fuel and ignition.
One radio listener who heard me speak traced me out on FB subscribing my page. I’m humbled by his act.
I have written to total strangers who are published authors. I hunt down their contact details to communicate. That’s interest. Not initiative. I have walked up to nasty-looking mortals and requested for contact details of people in the publishing world. I’ve received numerous rejection emails from publishers than I could care to remember but that has not stopped me from mailing them again.
I’ve called up the secretary of a book store owner in Dubai more than 20 times in March alone to fix an appointment. Ultimately when she granted me one, and I eagerly presented myself at her office, I was told, “the owner is busy, why don’t you leave a copy of your book.” I returned only to pursue following up to get an audience with the owner all over again.
Interest makes me endure rough terrain and break that proverbial ice.
Techies will go any far and stand in winding queues to own that limited edition gadget.
Movie buffs will not miss the first show on the first day come hail or storm.
Wannabe models will unashamedly pursue the most demanding photographer in the field.
Crazy cooks will torture themselves in search of the store that exclusively sells that exquisite ingredient they don’t even know how to pronounce.
It’s interest that makes them do what they do. Period. They do not wait for the initiation ceremony or ribbon cutting to be welcomed into the field. They simply loiter, nudge, knock, push and if it still doesn’t work, barge in. If they get thrown out with the same force, they help themselves up, and try again.
Nisha Sanjeev

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