I am no sales person.
I ain’t it.
I wish I was, I do, really. A lot of my jobs I have had would have been waaay easier. Alas, it was not meant to be. I hate asking for help and asking someone to buy something, pitching them on something, is just not my thing. I have a hard time with it because to me either someone wants to buy something or they don’t. Simple as that, right? Being an artist and writer though, that doesn’t serve me very well.
For some reason when it comes to books and art you have to really pitch it to people.
Or do you?
I am not sure.
I know that I have been doing conventions on and off, mostly on, since 1994 and have never tried to ‘sell’ people on my stuff. I just don’t want to. I figure if my stuff is solid it will sell. I always get put near the hard sell jerks that are one part carnival barker and one part megaphone. The heck of it is that these jerks sell. They sell like crazy. So is it that their product is stronger than mine, which is a distinct possibility, or is it that they are so aggressive that people can’t say no. Literally. They can’t say no. And you know what? There are few things as demoralizing as being outsold by a first time author selling a $25 softcover novel and with no real flair to his display or being outsold by a middle aged woman dressed as an elf (wearing that outfit ALL THREE DAYS of the con) with a silly castle display behind her and selling a really typical book about elves and fairies and such. That kicks your ego down a little.
Ok, a lot.
Then there is the social networking thing. I try it, I tell people what I am working on and what I have to offer and all but there’s a point of saturation where people have either bought your stuff or they are not going to. Unless you have that many new ‘friends’, ‘followers’, or are just blowing up in some way I can’t see continually selling yourself and your product. Events are different. You have to keep hammering on events because people forget. But product, man, I just can’t. It makes me feel cheap. I would love to have people, anyone, buying my stuff, but I don’t like going on and on about it to friends. Feels dirty, dirty in the not at all fun sort of way.
So what do you do?
What do I do?
Beats me, kids.
I may take up competitive writing. Like a write club sort of thing where you go and write stuff against someone in a ring, without, I dunno, pants on. Wait. No one needs to see that.
The easiest thing is a gimmick, a scheme, and in the end I suppose we’re all looking for that golden gimmick, that wicked hook to reel in the sales. Until you are known it is about who you know and how people will know you. And there is a balancing act of making sure that the art, the writing doesn’t take a back seat to the persona, to the hook, to the gimmick. I see so many artists and they sell, sure, but they sell because people are drawn to the persona more than the work. I want to sell because people like what I am putting out, not because they think I am weird. Heck, you get weird for free here, buddy. Free every day.
So here I am, looking for my hook, working out my gimmick, and wondering if you’ll even care.