Friday, August 24, 2012

Check Your Ego at the Door

My 12-year old loves watching YouTube music videos. After reviewing some negative comments about one of the artists, she asked me why people even bother to watch videos and take the time to criticize them when they aren't even fans. I find her observation to be quite insightful. You don't have to like what others do or the way they go about doing what they do. You have a choice. No one can make you do anything that you don't want to do. And while you are certainly entitled to your opinions, it isn't necessary to beat people over the head with them. Just walk away. You can either stay and play, or you can pack up your toys and go home.  Be mindful that what goes around comes around.

You may dislike an editor's notes, hate self-publishing, or think that paying for book reviews is an unethical practice. And that's okay. How difficult is it to find a new editor, stay in the lane of traditional publishing, or work with unpaid reviewers? Not very difficult at all. There are thousands and thousands of people in the publishing world with whom you may work. Nobody will ever be a fan of everybody--and that's okay, too. The best and the worst of us have a place and a purpose in this industry whether we are firmly rooted in it or just passing through. Just be mindful that burning bridges leads to early retirement.

Some advice for us all (including yours truly): Please, please, please resist the urge to give in to the ego that drives us to believe our own hype and subsequently sit in judgement of others. This will free up our time to engage in more forward-thinking pursuits. After all, once we think we know everything, we stop learning anything. A little humility goes a long way.

Keep your pen to the paper! Remember, inspiration is everywhere...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Business of Writing: Selling Yourself Effectively

I spent some time in the library yesterday doing a bit of research for a new venture and picked up The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople by corporate trainer Stephan Schiffman. Without question, it is a great read and is one of many books that every entrepreneur should add to his/her reading list. Whether or not you are published or have a great platform, the process of getting projects into the hands of people who make buying decisions never ends. You have to sell yourself in order to sell your work.

Here are a few of the 25 habits, but I encourage you to grab a copy, read it from cover to cover, and take good notes:

#1 If it doesn't work, fix it. Re-evaluate all campaigns, email blasts, social networking approaches, etc. to determine if they yielded the desired results. Don't get comfortable. If a blog tour didn't reach your demographic, then don't hesitate to change course.

#8 Know the sales timetable and #20 Start early. If it takes a year to polish a manuscript and ready it for publication, start your marketing efforts 6-12 months ahead of your projected release date. Starting a blog 2 weeks before your launch date won't allow you to gain a following of people who will connect with you and be interested in buying your book. Take a cue from retailers: within a month you will see Christmas merchandise on the shelves (if it isn't there already). Don't wait.

#15 Ask for referrals. The people who are interested in you and your work hang out with people who will likely share similar interests. Let your supporters help you with the heavy lifting. You will get great networking opportunities as well. Remember, you have to ask for what you want.

#16 Show enthusiasm. No one is going to be more excited about you than you are. You are your best representative and your enthusiasm is contagious. How can you expect anyone to be excited about what you have created if you aren't?

#22 Support your visit the next day. Follow up after school visits, book signings, meetings, speeches, etc. to obtain feedback and answer questions. Be sure to send thank you notes and ask for what you want whether it be shelf space, publication, or a return visit.

To read all 25 tips, get your copy of The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople today!

Keep your pen to the paper! Remember, inspiration is everywhere...