I've learned much about the business side of writing in the last few months. I'm by no means an expert, at least yet, but I can tell you that writing a novel is one thing - selling a novel is another. You almost have to become a different person - a sales person - which doesn't come easy for me.
Heck, I don't think it comes easy for most!
Having confessed that, what is a writer to do? How does one go out and promote themselves as a writer and sell their works, traditionally or self-published, without being an impersonal, care-about-sales-only person?
I don't have an answer, but I have a theory ...
The trick isn't selling yourself - it's being yourself.
Therein lies an open question: what is yourself?
I have no idea, for you or me, since I believe people change all the time. Whatever we are, however, will have an impact on us as a brand and on our sales. We're writers! Own your work. Be enthusiastic! The last thing any of us wants to do is put our audience to sleep.
You guys following me on this so far?
Awesome! Moving on ...
One of the better ways to sell yourself is to be genuine. Don't pretend to be friendly just to sell books. Don't ask get-to-know-you questions if you have no intention of listening (remembering is different - I try my best). And don't set up a web presence because you were told to.
When it comes to social networking, the line is burred in some areas on how to sell yourself. I'll just list a few examples I've seen and let you decide: cool or drool?
A) - An "author" followers your Twitter. You follow back. They tweet or PM you, "Thanks for following: here's my blog, my book, and a link to where you can buy it!!! :D"
B) - You go to a signing and meet an author. There's no one in line behind you ... so the author strikes up a conversation, about you, and gives some pointers.
C) - You visit a blog. Looks good, but then the only thing you see and read is "me," pictures of only "me" and "my" book covers, and "me," "myself," and "I is me."
D) - You visit a blog and, wait ... what's this? Your name is in their post, linked back to your blog, because they liked what you said? That was really nice of them!
I could go on, but we get the picture. This might be strange coming from an aspiring author who has yet to sell a book. I have some hurdles left to jump before I find the right deal and the best agent of all time, but until then, I think I've done a fairly good job at selling myself. So far? Don't get me wrong. It's not evidenced by the numbers (though I appreciate each and every one of you). It's evidenced by this amazing community. My wife was the first person to really get me, accept me. When I found blogger, we eventually found each other, encouraged each other.
I found that place where I can be myself and I'm not weird for it (or maybe I am, but you seem to like it, which is cool by me). That's given me the strength, and the example, to press on and pay it forward. And I can never thank you guys enough. You've sold me.
And I look forward to reading your books.
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This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. Be yourself and you will sell yourself. Make whatever adjustments that need to be made and show the world what you're made of - online or at your next local writer's conference. Your audience is waiting.
I'm David, and some guy just organized a par-tay!