Question for the week: Can you sell your words without selling your soul?
If you directly show the desire to sell something or worse, call yourself a Salesperson, can you escape negative connotations?
Slimy Salesman Image
The word Salesman calls to mind images of polyester leisure suits, used cars and telemarketers hawking something you don’t want, refusing to take no for an answer.
Funny how words work. The alternate spelling of the word, sails, invokes much lovelier imagery:
Croatia Yacht Charter Sailing Catamarans
Is sales really such a dirty word? As consumer’s we like to buy things. So, are salespeople villains?
Is it because it seems so desperate to have to ask, “would you like to buy this?”
Or is it because we like to kid ourselves that we are not being sold to every minute of every day?
As Authors, we shudder at the thought of having to sell our books; it’s not just about book signings and readings anymore, subtle selling events. At the mere suggestion of promotion, we cry out: “I thought the Publisher did the selling?” Maybe once upon a time, when Agents were more like Fairy Godmothers.
The selling starts long before the story is even printed. First, we have sell our manuscript to an Agent, then it’s (hopefully) sold to an Editor and Publisher. If we are fortunate enough to find success, the expectation remains, we will do our part literally, to get the word out about our book and sell it to the public.
Even with twelve years in Sales and Marketing experience under my belt, it took a long time to come to terms with this fact. I thought I’d escape selling by becoming a writer. The jokes on me!
As a salesperson I preferred to view my job as educating people on a quality product. I chose to offer a service or fulfilled a need. Of course, in doing so, I was in fact, selling something. My sales improved when customers viewed me as likable or better yet, as possessing a sense of humor.
Can selling a book be so different from selling some other type of product? How do you make yours the one people want to buy like some of the blogs turned books that sky rocketed to success: Author Julie Powell’s, “Julie and Julia” or “Fifty Shades of Grey”, by E.L. James.
“Julie and Julia”, by Julie Powell, (Little, Brown)
With 416, 039 bloggers just on WordPress alone, and how many are seeking book deals, has this ship already sailed?
Okay writers, time to get creative!
In Writer’s Digest, September 2012 issue, Author, Laura DiSilverio used Pinterest to show the items in her character Gigi Goldman’s wardrobe, to promote her book. Clever.
At the Unicorn Writers Conference, self published Author, Joseph J. Bradley handed out bookmarks instead of cards, which included the book cover, a brief plot synopsis and all of his pertinent information. Smart.
Candace Knoebel, a blogger/Author I discovered here on WordPress.com, produced a book trailer for the release of her new book, “Born in Flames”. Inventive.
I love this idea. For me, writing is visual.
Small businesses have used t-shirts, magnets, direct mail campaigns, pens, pencils, golf balls and ball caps among other things to help promote their businesses for years. Maybe your character likes to play golf?
Over the summer, I saw an airplane banner advertising wine. It did make me a little thirsty.
Skywriting would work, after all, it was a big hit for the Wicked Witch Of The West.
Skywriting Spells Out, “You Didn’t Fail”.
Writing the book it seems is only half the battle. The challenge is before us to seek out the next best way to sell our work without sacrificing integrity.
For now, my mission is to finish writing what I hope will be a quality novel that might fulfill a need to read, with hope that readers will find my characters likable and maybe even entertaining.
Thanks for reading and keep writing!