"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Qualities of a Successful Self Promoter

Most writers have a hard time selling themselves. We’re solitary creatures by nature. The act of writing requires an individual’s effort. We’re alone when we dream up our characters, when we put them in peril and when we drive them to achieve their goals. Even if you’re writing an article, memoir or working on a compilation where you must seek the aid of others, ultimately you are still a solitary figure at the keyboard when it’s time to tell the story you want.
So, how do we break out of our comfort zone and successfully promote our creations? Whether you are taking the first steps to sell your work to an editor/agent or you are published and trying to attract readers, keep these five qualities in mind.
1)      Honesty – Remember, this isn’t about you, but your readers. Whether promoting yourself through social media or face-to-face at conferences, workshops, or book signings, all great salesmen are people of integrity. An author can live on repeat business. The key to repeat readers isn’t just a great product, but the ability to deliver on your promises. So always tell the truth about your product. Don’t describe something your book can’t deliver.
2)      Enthusiasm – All great salesmen are excited about their product. Enthusiasm is contagious and can infect everyone around you. You can only motivate readers to buy your work if you are excited about it yourself. Your energy will sell your dreams.
3)      Confidence – Successful salesmen are full of confidence even in tough times. This means believing in yourself and your product enough to know why someone else would want it as well. Ignore the inner voice causing you to doubt yourself and trust you have researched, worked and made the best story. Selling is about attitude and the ability to inspire others to want your creation.
4)      Courage – Perhaps the most daunting obstacle to writers is the fear of rejection. You must realize if you sell anything, you will face rejection. It’s not a question of if, but how many times you will be rejected. Psychological studies show that high-achieving, successful people are not overly concerned about what others think. They exhibit:
5)      Persistence – Most important is to stay focused on your product and goals. It takes perseverance and faith in your own abilities to be a success. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, you must be determined. Finish what you start.
Which of these qualities do you struggle with the most? What has helped you to achieve these goals?

14 comments:

Shelley Sly said...

I agree with all five points. I'm not courageous or confident by nature, but I "fake it 'til I make it" when it comes to sharing my work and submitting to agents. Great topic!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Once I went to a psychic who said, "It's amazing how much you are out in the world, because you are really very bashful!" I said, "Thank you for 'getting' me!" I'd say that like Shelley, confidence and courage are the hardest to maintain, but I've come a long way. It's more a matter now of needed to get a fresh infusion occasionally!

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic points. I have a hard time marketing myself and I know I lack confidence. Funny that I can believe in my story but I can get down on myself.

Susan Kane said...

I'm with Christina--have a hard time marketing myself. I have confidence, but it is something different.

Holly Michael said...

Ohh! I liked this site. I'll be coming back!Holly www.writingstraight.com

Sherry Perkins said...

All five points are right on target. This is a great post. Although it's hard to be extroverted, if we're really more of an introverted person, if we are passionate about getting our product, our work, out there for the world to see somehow we just find a way. On the other hand, my introverted friends are just as comfortable if no one ever reads his/her work. Regardless of each of our personalities and goals of publishing, we all share the same gift and the same obsession: writing! Thanks for the post, Sylvia. Love your new FB photo. You belong in a magazine girlfriend!

KarenG said...

I would also add "likability" to your list. As for me, I probably struggle the most with confidence.

LM Preston said...

Great post. This goes to show us that all that prep to sell our work to Lit Agents work. Like those 30 second pitches that we work on for conferences, those query letters that we used to hook an agent. All of those are good to use to tell potential readers what we write.

Jan Rider Newman said...

Good post. All of these qualities work together, and, when it's all over, you've got to be able to deliver what you say you can deliver. Like following through on a tennis swing. I keep my priorities in line--the writing quality, then the networking and marketing. If I know I have something great, I can step out again and again.

Sylvia Ney said...

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement. I think these are points we all know and struggle with. Sometimes it just helps to write them out and remind yourself.

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Great post Sylvia. All so true, especially the integrity part. D.

Mary Horner said...

I've struggled with all of them at some point, but confidence and courage help me with the rest!

Amy Brantley said...

Courage is my biggest problem :(

Jess said...

I'm with Amy. Courage is my biggest problem too!