Content marketing is my favorite kind of marketing — the marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing! Let’s talk with Margaret McGriff about how to use this in our branding. (If you haven’t seen my episodes on branding and marketing without selling, you might want to get those, too!)
Networking! You’ve heard before how authors are colleagues, not competitors, and how we need to stick together to get ahead. That’s all true. But there are social conventions and best practices to ask for help, and knowing how to ask is as important as knowing what to ask.
In this Business of Creativity episode we tackle the little-discussed but not uncommon phenomenon of the fear of success. Let’s go over several ways we see this happen, what might be behind it, and what we can do about it.
It’s surprisingly easy to get into a rut when you’re trying to be professionally creative. This is where the dreaded “writer’s block” get blamed and where you can feel drained or frustrated. Here’s how to maintain the battery and keep your creativity and productivity fueled.
Let’s talk about something which is discussed a lot but often executed poorly — author tables and hand-selling books at a live event. Here’s a technique recommendation with data to validate my opinion.
If you’re one of those authors who hates selling — great.
One of the things I sometimes try to communicate to fellow authors is that they often kill their book table sales by overselling at live events. There’s a lot of used-car-salesman technique that goes on, and which gets mimicked because that’s what everyone else is doing, and it makes sales harder. It takes a lot of faith, but you can let your books sell themselves.
So here’s the story: I suddenly got an author table I hadn’t been expecting at a fandom convention where I was working. I had books and a banner in the car, but I didn’t have my usual table display materials and I didn’t have my full catalog of titles, just 8. I set up early and then went to help teach a thermoplastics for cosplay panel, leaving my table to be watched (theft prevention only, no sales) by the helpful staff overseeing the charity “flea market” setup. (Table rental went to a local hunger charity.)
I came back an hour later and immediately sold 14 books. One staff member bought every title on my table, the other bought 6. Why? They had felt free to browse, without a creepy pushy author asking “Do you like to read?” and other typically awkward questions. And when they browsed, they decided they wanted to read.
Then I settled down to half-ignore my customers and ultimately I cleared just over $200 in sales in one and a half hours using my patented brand of not-selling ;-) which does involve talking to people and signing books, but feels way less skeezy than “sales.” That was even without my full display or my complete catalog, and with a number of sales lost because I ran out of #1 in a series and they didn’t want to start with book 2. (I *should* have promised a free ebook of #1 if they purchased #2, but that didn’t occur to me at the time…. /facepalm/) And I didn’t accost a single person.
My message is this: If you’re one of those authors who hates selling — Great! you’ll be less tempted to do it wrong. You can sell books without being salesy! Don’t let the live events scare you. It’s not really about pushing sales.