Charlie Mechem sits down with Richard Hunt, the head of Praus Press and the publisher of Charlie’s books “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer,” and “Who’s That With Charlie.” Richard offer’s his insights into the anecdotes in Charlie’s book, offering a publisher’s perspective into what makes the contents of a book like this so valuable.
Be Quick, Think on Your Feet
Thinking on your feet in the business world is so important because changes are always happening, and you won’t always have time to script out your every word and plan your every move. You’ve got to be quick on your feet, while also being clear and sure that you aren’t being deceptive in any way. A great way to avoid accidentally pulling the wool over someone’s eyes, Richard suggests, is trying to have fun and be adaptable. In the publishing industry, it can be hard to decide on what to publish. He often has to ask himself: Is it still relevant? Is it offensive? It can be hard to know as opinions are constantly changing on many matters. In this way, publishers must be able to be flexible and adapt to what consumers want at a moments notice.
The Art of Negotiation
In the publishing industry, there is a lot of negotiation happening at all hours of the day. Especially when working with partners, you’ve got to be able to work with others and communicate in order to get things done. Richard says, you can’t expect everyone to just go along with your point of view every time—as mentioned previously, you must be adaptable. It’s extremely important in any industry to put yourself into the other person’s shoes, combine ideas, and meet minds. If there were no negotiation, nothing would ever get done—you’ve got to bend so you don’t break.
Being brief is much harder than it sounds. It’s one thing to write a draft, but it’s the mark of a professional to be able to go back, review, cut, and get to your point. No one wants to lose their audience—you don’t want anyone closing your book halfway through and never picking it up again, or walking out of your movie debut or speech. People want to be entertained, they don’t want to be bored. Be concise.
Church billboards seem to be masters of wit, Richard observes, they make people laugh and get their attention. They are successful because that’s exactly what the author’s intention is, to be humorous and catch your eye. It can sometimes be hard to get your point across in the way that you intend, as language is so easily misunderstood and can easily be said wrong or incompletely. In publishing, there have been many writers who have had very bad titles—though surely good intentions—that needed to be changed or rethought because they didn’t properly reflect their work. Richard says that a great rule in publishing is that when you finish your work, put it away and then come back to it a few days or so later and you’ll find exactly what is wrong with it and what needs changed.
Richard recalls his father teaching at a vocational school. He was teaching people to deal with electricity, which could be very dangerous and required a lot of close attention. He would give tests sometimes that asked the students to read every question before they began. Those who did this knew that the last line of the test said “thank you for reading all of the questions, sign your name and you’re done.” This practice of his father’s stuck in Richard’s mind reminding him to always think through the process before jumping into something.
Why Publish Total Anecdotal?
“Total Anecdotal” has the tools that people need to be more successful public speakers. The number one fear of Americans is public speaking, so being able to do so is a rare and valued skill. Charlie is a master of public speaking, Richard insists, after decades of speaking in front of groups, he really is qualified to be writing a book such as this one. Communicating effectively, especially through anecdotes, is an imperative skill that not enough people are confident in today, which is exactly what gives a book like “Total Anecdotal” so much value.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of “15 Minutes With Charlie,” please visit the podcast page or search for “15 Minutes With Charlie” in your podcasting app. If you are enjoying the show you should check out “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” Learn more on our book page, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.