Sunday, October 27, 2013

Always A Salesman

Too many times, we forget that writing is a business.  Writers may love to write and see people's faces light up when they hear our work, but in the end, someone has to buy our work.  With that in mind, we need to be on the lookout for those who might be willing to give us business.

That means being able to talk about our work in even the most unusual of circumstances.  Tonight, I was at my the birthday party of a friend of my daughter, and I got to talking to one of the other parents.  We had many things in common, and it came out that I liked to write.

"Really," she said.  "How have your books done?"

"Oh, I haven't published them yet," I replied.  "I plan for the first, Akeldama, to come out in May of 2016."

"It sounds like a fascinating story.  Let me know your pen name and I'll keep my eye out for it."

"Actually, if you'd like to join my email list, anyone on that list gets about 25% off when it comes out."

She responded enthusiastically, and I walked away with another email address to add.  I wasn't pushy about it, but I saw an opportunity to describe my work to a potential buyer, and I took it.  I spoke with passion about the story, as well as another couple I'd written, and she was soon asking me questions before I got to them.  Sure, it could have all been fake for my benefit, but she sounded sincere enough.
(Let your passion light the way)
I believe the key is the passion we bring to our sales talk without being overbearing.  Just like our stories have to sweep the reader away, selling our stories must encompass similar passion.  The potential buyer, just like the reader, needs to feel this story and know they have to read the whole thing.  In addition to being prepared to talk about it when the opportunity arises, we also have to be able to sell as well as we write.  I view it as an extension of our ability to tell a story, for we are providing the buyer with enough information to wet their appetite without giving away the farm.  It's another form of storytelling itself, and it can lend itself to the rest of our craft.

Opportunities come so infrequently that we have to jump on them when they come.  Remember, if no one knows about your writing, how can they read it?

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