Don’t Sell Me Anything!

Id like to sell you... nothing!

I'd like to sell you... nothing!

Granted, I am really slow, but I just came to the realization that I don’t want to be sold anything. I want to be informed. I want to be dazzled. I want to be amused. I want to be delighted. But I do not want to be sold. I feel like I’m being worked when I’m being sold something. In short, I feel used and uni-essential – I’m only important to the seller’s cash flow.

I came to this revelation during my pursuit of finding out about all things marketing. I’m an author. I have books that I need and want to sell. I’ve researched and tinkered and experimented with all types of marketing strategies, and I always come away with the feeling that I was trying to sell something. It made me feel… inauthentic. It’s a strange position to find yourself in when you want to learn everything there is to know about marketing, but never ever want to be marketed to.

This blog was a calculated element in my marketing strategy. It was created to sell books. I use the word “was” because without me realizing it, it has evolved into something much more than a marketing tool. In fact, I no longer consciously use it to sell my books. It is a way for me to express myself, to meet other like-minded people, to get goofy and have a blast. This is my attempt to inform you, dazzle you, amuse, and delight you. Everything I want out of a relationship. You are not a source of cash for me, and I promise to never treat you that way.

For authors looking for advice on how to market your book, don’t. Not in the classic sense of marketing, the kind of marketing that results in a sales pitch. Take part in the kind of marketing that is centered on building relationships instead. It’s much more fulfilling, and you’ll never feel disingenuous or phony. You obviously think you have something important to say because you wrote a book. Be yourself and spread your message without asking for the sale. If you do that, you’re going to end up with something much more valuable than a sale. You’re going to end up with a supporter.

And remember; never, ever sell me anything.

Here are some experts at the Tools of Change conference this year kind of saying the same thing, only much, much better,  and with a lot more gravitas.

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The Deal – A Reality Show for Writers

This week on the deal writers read prose at a nudist colony.

"This week on The Deal writers pitch their books to 4th graders."

I am floating this idea out on the interweb ether knowing full well that someone will take it and run with it. Writers are made for reality TV shows. We’re quirky, defensive, insecure, opinionated, and flat out weird in most cases. The airwaves are just begging for a show featuring 12 writers living in a house vying for a lucrative publishing deal. Can you imagine the number of train wreck moments that will be captured on tape? I know it’s sadistic, and I should be flogged for suggesting such a thing. Writers are my people after all, but I can’t help myself. It would be immensely watchable.

Writers would be chosen for their writing samples, their interview, and their marketability. Take that last qualification, and apply whatever meaning you wish; looks, personality, sense of style etc. The tasks would include completing edits on deadline, building a social network, readings, making pitches, how they handle themselves doing interviews, getting blurbs from well-known authors, typing pages on an actual typewriter etc. The winner will be chosen by the online community and a panel of three judges. At the end of the process, a six-figure contract with one of the major publishers awaits the winner. The Judges? They would be as follows:

Judith Regan

Stephen King

John Ridley (No relation to me)

Your host would be anyone but Ryan Seacrest. The guy’s got like four jobs and he’s annoying on all of them. Personally, I think the perfect choice would be Ira Glass. He’s smart, funny, and people would take the show seriously if he were involved.

Why do I think people would watch it? Well besides the reasons I gave in the first paragraph, the NEA did a study recently that revealed a whopping 81% of Americans think they have a book inside of them. They all think they can do it, and I’m betting they would watch a group of writers be put through the wringer, living vicariously through the contestants, all the while thinking, “I could do better than them.” It’s perfect reality show fodder.