You want me to do something? Judge a contest? Attend a conference? Guest blog? Bring the cannoli; leave the gun?
These are favors. You're asking me for a favor.
Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the default answer is no thank you.
Since you want yes and not no, here's what to consider when you ask: What's the value of doing this to the person I'm asking?
If you're asking me the favor, this is what to think about:
Does it benefit a client? If it does, the answer is not the default no.
Does it benefit FPLM? If it does, the answer is not the default no.
Is this a return favor? (as in you promoted one of my authors or helped me when I needed a favor?) Then the answer is certainly not the default no.
Consider carefully what the person you're asking will consider a benefit.
You want to drive traffic to your blog? No benefit to me.
You want to promote your book? No benefit to me.
You want to raise money for a worthy cause? Why that one and not a cause I've supported?
You want an agent at your conference? You want me to judge a contest? You want me to guest blog? You want me to critique pages? So do a lot of other people. You have to show me the value of saying yes.
I've had people tell me with a straight face (mostly cause I think they actually believed it) that
--being on their blog would give me more visibility;
--attending their conference would help me get in touch with writers;
-- judging a contest would bring me potential clients.
None of those are actual benefits that accrue from those events (and my keyboard didn't survive the visibility one) nor are they things I want to accomplish.
I want to promote my clients.
I want to promote my agency and colleagues.
I want to contribute to causes I support.
Figure out how your request will help me do that, and when you email to ask the favor spell out how it does any one of those three things, and your chances of yes get better.
For example: you want me to do a guest post on your blog? You'll tell me how many readers it reaches and that you'd like me to talk about clients with books coming out soon and you'll do a giveaway or some other promotional event for the client.
You want me to attend a conference? Tell me you've asked one of my clients to also be on the faculty and their books will be for sale.
You want me to judge a contest? You'll mention that my client's books get mentioned in your group newsletter.
If you think that "this will be a benefit to the writing community" is something I'd want, you're right, but I've already chosen how I'll help the writing community at large and I'm generally not going to do more than that (QueryShark, local conferences and MWA)
There are a lot of things I do for the good of the industry but don't assume your favor is going to be one of them. Spend some time thinking about the value to me, and your chances of yes increase.
And if you think this is selfish beyond belief and demonstrates a complete and utter lack of kindness, well, good, cause that reinforces my mean and sharkly image: an immediate and direct benefit to me!