Just because you’re a working author doesn’t mean you’re not in sales

FCEtier's Autumn Lane. He's in business to sell art, as well as books.
FCEtier’s Autumn Lane. He’s in business to sell art, as well as books. But it’s all about sales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If there were a way that you could sell more books, quit your day job, and have even more time for writing and lecturing, you’d probably be interested in finding out how, wouldn’t you?

Our class met in one of the classrooms in the basement of Pleasant Hall on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.

There were forty of us.

It was February, 1984.

The instructor began with a question, “How many of you are in sales?”

About a half of the students raised a hand.

Several others raised their hand and then dropped them, then half-raised them again.

Were they in sales or not?

Actually, everyone in the room was in sales. We were taking the Dale Carnegie Sales Course.

Everyone in the class was involved in the profession of sales as their primary source of income.

Why can’t someone whose livelihood depends on their ability to sell a product or service admit that they are in sales?

Flash forward to the summer of 1998.

Between filling prescriptions, I received a cold call from a friendly lady who tried to sell me some original art. It was a piece by LeRoy Neiman. During the course of the conversation, I asked, “How long have you been in sales?”

She was offended. “I’m NOT in sales! I’m an investment advisor for art enthusiasts.”

Yeah, right.

Over the years I’ve heard many euphemisms for people in sales: account rep, consultant, advisor, broker, agent, customer service rep, and one of my favorites, vice president.

Over the years, I’ve crossed trails with many people who haven’t done as well as they would like to have had in their chosen field, simply because they couldn’t sell themselves or their products: accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, ministers, photographers, artists, painters, editors, doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, pharmacists, teachers, nurses, coaches, retail store managers, and the list is endless.

In fact, everyone is in sales.

Everyone is selling something and it’s usually themselves or their skills or services.

Sometimes, we blame our low self-esteem on others: the used car salesman in a plaid sports coat, the door to door brush salesman in a polyester suit, the cosmetics sales lady in an old car.

Baloney.

Name a profession that hasn’t had it’s share of unprofessional perpetrators of perpetual sleaze.

Want to change the perception?  Start with the person you see in the mirror. Convince him or her that sales is an honorable profession and then act like it.

Change your attitude and change the world.

You can do it.  Do you see any reason we shouldn’t get started now?

TheTouristKiller6FCEtier is author of The Tourist Killer. Please click the book cover to read more about the novel or purchase a copy direct from Amazon.

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  • Martha Orlando

    Great perspective! Yes, I know I’m certainly promoting/selling my novel, and quite shamelessly, too. 🙂 But, if I don’t, who will?
    Blessings, Chip!

    • Thanks for the comment, Martha.
      Neither artists nor writers should pick up their tools to begin creating without a marketing/sales plan.
      If they cannot see themselves as being in sales, they shouldn’t begin — at least not in today’s climate for writers.

  • FC, I couldn’t agree more. It always surprises me when I talk to authors and they have some notion that a book will sell itself. It seems to me that if a person goes to all the effort to create a novel, he should be the first to want to figure out how to market it. In the world of digital publishing, books remain invisible until someone shows them to readers. That’s all book marketing is about, making a connection between a reader, a writer and a book. The sooner authors embrace that concept, the sooner readers will find their works.

    • It it could be guaranteed, that an investment in a particular marketing plan and promotional campaign would sell a million copies of your book, how much would you be willing to spend on such a plan? Would you mortgage the farm?

      • FC, It is an interesting question on a lot of levels. Of course, your hypothetical isn’t really the way risk works because it removes risks from the equation. If it was a matter of a sure bet, then anyone should be willing to bet the farm. The more realistic situation is the one when a person balances the risks versus the reward and makes a carefully thought out decision to go for it. The higher the stakes, the harder the choice. Believe it or not in my other day job, I have bet the farm several times and come out all right. So I am not risk averse. But for authors in the marketing game, I believe the best we can do is develop a plan that pays more than it costs, and keep refining it so that the reward gets larger and the risk smaller. That’s about as close to a sure thing as we can hope for. I believe a lot of authors would be interested in a marketing program that cost $500 that returned $1,000 on a regular basis. That allows author to play with house money. The thing about Indie books now is that social media marketing is “free” but ineffective in selling books, while most of the other models in use now cost as much or more than they return in sales. But new models are on the horizon which I believe will change that equation in authors’ favor.

        • Of course, I have no way of knowing, but I’d expect quite a few authors to be standing in line with their check books at the ready waiting on one of those new models.
          Show me the queue, and I’ll be first in line!

  • You’re so right; everyone is selling something and you do have to have a certain amount of confidence in order to be successful.

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