I’m having repairs done to my house. Although the crew were recommended by a friend who knows about this stuff, I admit, my expectations were low. I’ve been burned before so my greatest hope was that this company would do an adequate job.
First, they showed up on time. Good start. Then, they were polite and hard-working. Even better. But really, this is just what a professional is supposed to do. So far, they’re meeting spec.
Today, they offered to clean the second floor windows while the scaffolding was in place. Now they’ve gone above and beyond. Now, they’re remarkable – they’re worth talking about. I wouldn’t have written a post about them if they’d met spec. Offering to wash the windows was a small gesture; it took them maybe 15 minutes and I gave them the cleaning supplies. None of that matters. What matters is that they’re giving me more than what I’m paying for.
I’ve already told all my neighbours about them.
How can we, as authors, go above and beyond so that our readers tell their friends about our books? Is it enough to do an adequate job or can we find a way to give our readers more than they paid for? How many times have they been burned by a story that wasn’t very good? How often do they keep their expectations low?
Telling a story that works is the bare minimum; it’s meeting spec. What, I wonder, is the literary equivalent of washing windows? How many writers are willing to go above and beyond?