Sunday, June 27, 2010

How to Sell Yourself with VS Grenier

It‘s more than writing a good story or article when it comes to being noticed by publishers and editors. Think about it, how many bad books are out there making money? How many awful articles or stories have you read in recent publications? Do you wonder how these writers are getting published and you’re not? Do you think it has to do with the catch 22 system? In some ways it does, but knowing how to sell yourself is key. You’re not just a writer, you’re a Salesman! And the product you’re selling . . . is Yourself!

Readers tend to buy books from authors they know a little something about. They also buy books suggested by family or friends. Now stop and look at your bookshelf for a minute . . . how many books do you have sitting on your bookshelf from an unknown author? Chances are you have none and if you do, I bet it's only one or two books. That's because as consumers we like to buy products we've heard about or have seen around. There's nothing bad about buying products this way. However, as writers we need to understand this logic. Not just so we can sell books, but to help us build a fan base for our writing.

In some ways, marketing does have to do with the old catch 22 system, but knowing how to sell yourself is key, too! A year ago, I posted about this topic for a workshop I was working on for the MuseItUp Online Conference on many different writing chat boards. I asked some fellow writers to share their thoughts on the subject during my workshop. Here is what Kim Justesen had to say, “I agree that writers need to sell themselves. Publishers just don't have the time or resources to devote to EVERY author on their list. They won't schedule all the book signings, school visits, or other events for you, so you have to be willing to hunt those up yourself. Even getting some publishers to look at work requires that you sell yourself as an author. What is a query letter if not a direct sales piece to the editor about your work, and also about yourself as a writer?”

As writers we are a product, not just our books. Many writers aren't successful because they don't know how to sell themselves; let alone their writing. Jill Evans said, “I made the mistake as a first time published author in making the assumption that my big national publisher would handle all the marketing and publicity of my book. The same year my book was released, my publisher was sold and picked up as an imprint. My publicist went from handling 20 titles to handling over 100 titles. All I ever received from my publisher was a few press releases, a couple of posters and a little advertising of my book to go along with several other titles as new releases.”

I don’t want this to happen to all of you. I want you all to be successful and realize you need to be knocking on Success’s door instead of waiting for him to knock on yours. Many writers aren't successful because they don't know how to sell themselves; let a lone their writing. Over the next few weeks I'll be discussing the following topics to help you be a successful salesperson:

  • Query and Cover letters

  • Writing a Synopses

  • Websites

  • Blogs

  • Newsletters

  • Marketing Strategies

  1. FREE Media Releases

  2. Cross Promotion

  3. Book Signings

  4. School Visits

  5. Word of Mouth

Many writers think marketing is nothing like selling . . . and I'm here to tell you they are wrong. This is why some writers are great at marketing and others are not. My major in college was Merchandise Marketing. However, my marketing courses covered all types of marketing from PR firms to international marketing. I learned how Disney markets it products, services, etc. to how Random House Publishing handles marketing. The basic tools are the same and believe it or not . . . selling is at the heart of it. You have to understand the selling and buying process to understand marketing. Understanding your customer and their buying habits is the key. And knowing your product and what sells it, helps you market your goods so your customer will want it. Sounds simple doesn't it? Okay, maybe not simple, but it's simple enough and you can learn this.

To learn more about VS Grenier visit her website at or her blog The Writing Mama.

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