Monday, October 24, 2011
Hard Sell Winds up Being Hard to Sell
1. Be personable.
Your blog doesn't have to continually talk about your writing or your sales. Talk as if you had friends over . . . friends interested in whatever you're interested in. Your genre, places and activities in your stories, a recent magazine feature, current events that affect your profession. Share. Make the blog about them, not you. People read blogs, articles and stories for take-away value, not so much about you.
2. Be casual about your product.
Spin an anecdote that happens to eventually touch upon whatever it is you are promoting. Tell an interesting story in your article or blog, or make an intriguing observation in social media. Then somehow make it about what you do. For instance, I'll write about making sales in trade magazines, but not mention the fact I have a short ebook for sale at the website with a list of guidelines. The product is not the subject. The information is.
3. Be thankful.
Love your readers. Love your profession. Love your life. You don't have to be Pollyanna, but you do need to sound enthusiastic about what you do, where you live, how you carry out your life and profession.
You do not have to be a charismatic cinematic celebrity for people to like you . . . and by extension, like your work. You do, however, have to be someone that others would like to meet and get to know. To do that, you must want to do the same to others. If writing is a chore for you, or if you're slinging words together for dollars, then hunt technical writing gigs, where personality isn't an issue. Otherwise, let your passion shine through without pulling a hard sell.
Nothing makes a reader delete you faster than to say "Buy my work" without giving him a real reason for him to part with his money and spend moments/hours of his life reading it. Be his friend, not his used-car salesman.
Sincerity, patience and appreciation for others, however, draws a crowd. Nothing happens fast in this business. But those who do well develop a slow but sure presence online . . . not via hard selling but through a steady, reliable delivery of respect for others.