People who have been close to me through my podcasting, conference organizing and research work are often stunned by how I manage to connect with people. It’s become a long-running joke that I’ve managed to, for example, get Stewart Copeland to be an interview guest of my podcast, Shelagh Rogers to keynote the first edition of PAB (a conference I used to co-organize) and — on 24 hours notice mind you — secure Savuka alumn Derek DeBeer to speak at CreatorCamp this evening.

The secret is I just ask. I give people the opportunity to say ‘yes.’ In my mind, there’s no real magic to it. And I rather enjoy the story it’s become.

So last night, while riding the high of confirming Derek’s participation in CreatorCamp (after all, he’s also shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Tracy Chapman and Robert Palmer), I mocked up a self-effacing joke. I made a faux (and VERY cheesy) book cover which plays on Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope”, calling my version “The Audacity to Ask”, and adapting the subtitle of Obama’s book to “Thoughts on giving people the opportunity to say yes.”

Of course I think the big joke is this subject would probably make for a boring 300-page read and the image gives away the entire ‘secret.’

Pleased with how I was making fun of myself before my inner circle did it for me, I posted the image to Facebook with the preamble “I just received draft artwork for the cover of my first book. I’m open to feedback if you have any.”

I was expecting most people who saw the image would get the joke.

That’s not what happened. I received three types of responses.

Most people were thrilled for me that I was about to become a published author. These folks offered congratulations and requested autographed copies of the book. Many told me they like the artwork as is.

A small group either got the joke or made a quick quip about my appearance — which is more or less what I was hoping for.

A few people contacted me out-of-band to offer constructive feedback reassuring me they weren’t out to offend me and that the people who were liking the design (with all due respect) were being polite. These folks dissected the font, font sizes, 90s-style portrait and the layout of the cover. One friend who works in design was so concerned at how inept my publishing company is as to notify me he was at that moment fixing some design mock ups. He also offered to Photoshop out my tie.

The side effect is many people, duped or not, have suggested I should write a book. Okay. Maybe with that kind of support even after learning about the joke, I should.

Thank you *everyone* for your kind words. I feel badly for duping you.