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Authors, if you want to sell books, you must embrace your marketer within

Years ago, I met a gal at a networking group I belonged to who, when asked about her BHAG (big, hairy audacious goal), publicly declared that she intended to be the first Mary Kay distributor to build a million-dollar business. Later in the same meeting, she publicly stated that she fast-forwarded through commercials, had signed up for the Do Not Call List, and pretty much eschewed any attempt by anyone to market to her.

I haven’t seen her since then, but I don’t have to guess whether she ever reached her goal.

Interestingly, many people – authors chief among them – are horrifically averse to the moniker “salesperson.” This in spite of the fact that, as marketing master Adam Urbanski says, “All business owners are in two businesses: the business they’re in and selling and marketing the business they’re in.”

My friend Connie is an international sales trainer who specializes in helping clients overcome Sales Call Reluctance®, which is defined as the emotional hesitation to prospect or self-promote. There are 12 identified forms of Call Reluctance, including one called “Role Rejection.” According to Connie’s website, people with this form of Call Reluctance “are secretly ashamed of any kind of selling. They deflect any association with being a salesperson and tend to believe that society dislikes salespeople, and they themselves get irritated and annoyed when salespeople solicit them.”

If you’re an author who hopes to sell books, it might be a worthwhile exercise to take a personal inventory of your attitude toward salespeople. If you deliberately skip commercials, hate telemarketers with a venom, and reject all attempts to sell or market to you, you may be experiencing Role Rejection – and inadvertently jeopardizing your book sales success.

This is not, however, meant to be an indictment – just an opportunity to reframe your thoughts about sales and marketing. I’ll admit that some marketers are devious, and not all salespeople are scrupulous, but no one is suggesting that you ally with those types of folks. I am suggesting that you consider your sales goals for your book and look for ways to see marketing as a positive – perhaps even fun – enterprise. Trust me, if you view it as a chore you hate, you’ll be a lot less successful at it.

One thing I enjoy is watching and critiquing TV commercials. Some of them are absolutely fantastic; in other cases, I wonder whether the creative departments at certain ad agencies even watched their commercials before airing them. In either event, though, I am honing my marketing skills by noticing what works, what attracts me, and what makes me cringe.

You can do this too, whether it’s with TV ads, radio commercials, banner ads on the Web, or calls from telemarketers. One man Connie recently interviewed for the book she’s writing told her, “Those calls certainly don’t irritate me, because, at the end of the day, I’m a conversationalist. … So if someone wants to call me and open the door to a conversation, I’m willing to have that conversation with them.” What a refreshing way to view a phenomenon most of us see as an irritating intrusion.

We spoke a long time ago about learning to think like a marketer. In order to do that, it might just be time to retire your inner Role Rejecter and instead embrace your marketer within.

Laura

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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YOU are a genius – what’s your excuse for not sharing it?

I posted this picture yesterday on my Facebook page and immediately received the comment, “It is erroneous to compare ourselves to others.”

To which, I responded, “No, it isn’t. It’s a benchmark – not a right or a wrong thing.”

It’s not that I don’t get this woman’s point. We are each individuals, and we must find and follow our own paths. But I think the larger message – WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE? – has as much validity, if not more. The thing is, many of us have a tendency to think small. Rather than going all in and reaching for that BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal), we fill our minds with all the reasons we could never…

  • It’s too hard.
  • I don’t know enough.
  • I don’t have the right connections.
  • I don’t have enough money.
  • I’m too busy.
  • If I do that, I’ll have to give up other things.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • What if I fail?
  • What if people laugh at me?

And the worst excuse of all?

  • What if I succeed?

There’s no doubt Steve Jobs was an exceptional man, an unparalleled creative and technical visionary. The thing is, while Jobs’ accomplishments may go unmatched for eons, his genius certainly is not unmatched. But what are the people who have his genius doing with it? What are the people who have half his genius doing with it? What are the people who have one really good idea doing with it? What are you doing with your level of genius and your really good idea?

The great motivator, Wayne Dyer, has a famous quote:

Don’t die with your music still inside you.

I do NOT advise despairing because you are not as accomplished as the next person, let alone Steve Jobs. But I think we can all use a little reminder that we do have a gift, a goal, a reason that motivates us. Let’s find our special gifts and honor them by writing, drawing, creating, releasing, and sharing those gifts with the world.

Laura

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Marcie Brock and Madonna, comic contemporaries

Marcie Brock is about to be joined by very regal company. Galleycat announced in a June 24, 2011 post that Madonna is about to become a comic book star.

I remember it because it was the summer I met my best friend, Jane. Like a Virgin was released when I was 14, and the then unknown 19-year-old Madonna, seemingly of endless arrogance, declared she would one day be the biggest pop star in the world. At the time, I had no use for her music, and as her fame grew, I thought she was just a trashy sellout. How the years and a little perspective can change one’s POV.

Now I’m not saying I’d like to hang out with her, but I soooooo admire what Madonna not only declared, but accomplished. I don’t give a rat’s ass how she did it she set a BIG fat hairy goal (also known as a BHAG), and then went out and accomplished it. I immensely admire her chutzpah, so  much so that she’s in my Success Book as one woman’s success I’d like to model.

Bluewater Productions, creator of the new Madonna comic, also features Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and JK Rowling in its Female Force series other women who appear in my Succes Book. 

If YOU want to accomplish something huge, set a big goal, tell people, and then take all the baby steps necessary to get there!

Laura

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