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Monday, June 20, 2011

Things I didn’t realize

I’m a writer (in case you didn’t know).  When I began this “life” I thought being a writer meant that you wrote.  Whether it was stories or articles or books or whatever, but in the end, you wrote.  I had no idea that you also needed to be an editor, a critiquer, and in the end a salesman.  Who knew? 

So, first I have to say, that I am not a salesman.  One of my part-time jobs when I was a teenager was to try to get people to RETAIN the services that the company I worked for provided, at the small price of $50 a year.  What I didn’t know when I took the job was that it was a sales job.  I hated that job.  I sucked at that job.  I didn’t hold it even a year before I resigned my post and ran screaming somewhere else.  It took a few years to figure out that the reason I was so bad at that job was because I thought the service I was trying to sell was a stupid waste of $50.  I couldn’t sell, aka retain, people to the service because I didn’t believe in it. 

The other problem is that I am not a social being.  I know most of you reading this would never realize it, but I’m not.  I’m a shy introvert.  Surprise!  My comfort zone is behind a computer where I don’t have to see facial expressions or try to interpret body language.  A “no” in writing is so much easier to take than a “no” to my face. 

What does this all have to do with writing?  Well if I was only trying to write for myself that it wouldn’t matter at all, but because I am trying to write for the public it does.  Yes, I have to write a good story, no a great story, one that I believe in.  If I don’t believe in it, who else will?  How can I sell it, if even I think it sucks?  Then I need to get out of my comfort zone and sell it.  Sometimes by computer, but sometimes over the phone or even face to face. 

I’m struggling very much with this part of it.  I know what I need to do.  I do.  Really.  I will walk into a bookstore in which I want to try to get my book shelved.   Then I get in front of the manager or whoever and I just smile and then………choke.  Its terrible as then I’m so upset at not getting the shelving and at myself for failing and then trying to work myself up to doing it again….horrible. 

However, this is not all bad news.  I’m getting better.  I am forcing myself out of my comfort zone.  I am forcing myself to move forward because I want something more than my fear can hold me back.  If they say no, to my face, then they say no.  There are other stops, other avenues, and other stores to try.  I focus on that, instead of the failure. 

So anyone struggling with sales in any way, shape, or form, my advice?  Get out of your comfort zone.  Force your fears back and do all that you can for yourself.  You are the only one that’s going to.

ctny

4 comments:

  1. I know how you feel. I did a lot of promotion for my first nonfiction book. But honestly I can't say the book sales made up for the time and money invested in the promotions. I think my time would have been better spent working on new books. I've been reading a lot about that actually works and the biggest thing seems to be having new releases coming out. So the more you write, the more new releases are popping up, and hopefully the more fans you will make with the new releases which will buy your backlist. That's my theory anyway. Hopefully it will work as my books start to be released. :-)

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  2. Oh, I so relate to this, right down to crappy jobs involving sales as a yute. I don't like it when anyone tries to sell me something else, on top of what I'm already buying. I find it extremely aggravating. As if selling shoes for indecisive people with stinky feet and being forced to wear a black bow-tie and nylon tights wasn't enough, then they had to start enforcing a sundries pitch to all customers. Horrific.

    But I totally agree, that when you believe in something, it's a whole other world. Still not an easy one, mind; and you are so brave to keep trying and putting yourself out there. I hope I can be that brave one day. *gulp*

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  3. Promotion is tough. I had a signing on Saturday and my parents came. They helped me carry my things into the store since I had my daughter with me. Well, my mom wanted to stop and tell everyone we saw with kids to come buy my book. She told me I have to be more assertive and tell people to buy it. But honestly, that's not me. I'm not exactly shy, but I don't like to tell people what to do either. I guess I have to learn to be a better salesperson in this industry.

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  4. Sounds like you aren't alone on this at all, Courtney. I also thought when I became a writer, that's what I'd do...write! But I haven't had time to write in 2 months because of all the other things that go along with being a published author! And truly, I don't enjoy all the other things. I just want to write! But it is what it is and if we want our books to sell, then it's mostly up to us.

    But I, like you, would much rather just sit at my computer and go inside my dream worlds and write. I am a horrible sales person because I don't want to force anyone to buy anything. And I'm really rotten about taking someones money when I know that person. I feel like I should be giving everyone a free copy of my book but the reality is... you just can't do that.

    So anyway, we all have to find our inner courage and put our salesman hats on!! Ugh.

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