Report From PIA – July 23
The first disagreement I ever had with a publisher was over a subtitle. They wanted to put something like “Gardening Secrets You Can Use,” on one of my books, and I strongly objected. The publisher’s point was the people buy books that promise secrets will be divulged, and my position was that there is no mysterious, confidential or heretofore undisclosed gardening information.
This came to mind today when I was on Twitter and noticed a great many tweets contained links that promised to reveal the secrets of love, fundraising, composting and stock trading, to name just a few.
It’s my opinion that there is a vast pool of information, and for each individual that collection can be divided into two groups. There’s information you know, and that which you haven’t yet learned. It’s just not as compelling for subtitles and tweets to promise the latter.
The distinction is important, I think, especially for garden communicators such as myself. If I regard what I know as being secret, it makes it seem exclusive, and much grander than it really is. There is danger in thinking that information is restricted, limited or private and the word “secret” implies all of these.
Writers and speakers should be selling books or booking dates because they write well, give engaging talks, make their audiences think or feel, and spread enthusiasm about their subject… not because they’re duping people into thinking that they have are privy to a restricted supply of knowledge.