Do you take pride in ownership?
June 27, 2012
We are all in sales in one form or another. Some people are natural-born sales persons. Refrigerators to Eskimos.
The easiest product to sell is something we believe in.
For instance, the other day in connection with Team Halie, we stood on the parking lot of Whataburger and offered bracelets for sale as a way to acquire donations for the Halie Moody fund. Her family needs those donations to help cover the enormous expenses for her medical care.
Selling those bracelets was a piece of cake. The “customers” already knew about the situation and were there to help. The product didn’t matter to them as much as the cause did.
But it is a different situation when you are selling a book.
Authors tend to be people who are most comfortable working in private. They are not glad-handers who enjoy striking up a conversation with strangers, especially in a sales context.
However, in the digital world of publishing, authors must get over their shyness and put on the sales hat.
That shouldn’t be a bad thing, because they have a good product in which they have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort. They posses a unique knowledge of their book that comes from the inside. They have worked hard to manufacture the book and make it as good as it can be.
But, I have the nagging suspicion that many writers don’t believe in their books.
Maybe that is because we writers are a needy bunch. We are thin-skinned. We seek approval and are slow to accept criticism of the words we have committed to the page. It is almost as if we hope someone will buy our books in spite of us, as if we are surprised that anyone would be willing to shell out a few dollars for our work.
Authors have to get over it. If they don’t believe in what they have written, why should anyone else?
That’s pride in ownership and it should be the best thing we have going for us.
Understand that I am not talking about the hard sell. The quickest way to turn a person off in the world of social media promotion is to constantly harp about your book, to cram it down people’s throats.
No one wants to see a chain of Tweets that says “Please buy my book!!”
It’s thin line to walk, but an important one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting people know about your book. If you believe in your work, then trying to sell it makes all the sense in the world.
The best strategy for authors is to become advocates for their fellow writers. If you find a book you like, say something good about it and the author in a blog. Maybe that author will reciprocate, maybe he won’t. It doesn’t matter. You are doing good just for the sake of doing good.
Along the way, if you come to be known as a person who is an advocate for the good books of other writers, people will develop a curiosity about your work and check it out. Make sure you have it readily available so they can sample it and give it a test drive.
Don’t apologize about being a writer. Take pride in ownership.