"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Friday, June 5, 2015

5 Tips to Selling Your Works Without Working People's Nerves...

In order to build your platform and your bottom line as a writer, you'll need to "work it" more fiercely than a fashion model on a runway. Hello!
Let's face it: even if you have Pulitzer prize-winning potential, if people don't know about who you are, and your related products and services, you'll unfortunately be a "starving artist" in every sense of the word.

Oddly enough, for many scribes, (who are largely introverts by nature), selling doesn't always come easily. It can feel a little, well...sleazy. Or imposing. Or desperate.  Or like bragging.
True? I can dig it.
But, make no mistake about it. It's a necessary evil.

Even so, as with most things in life, there's a right and a wrong way to do it.
If properly executed, you can "win friends and influence people."
Blow it, and you're likely to piss people off, come across as desperate, or miss the opportunity to make real connections and cultivate a strong following and fan base.

With this in mind, here are 5 timely tips to optimize your efforts:

1. Pitch the right people.
Know your target audience. What are their needs? Their income level? Their challenges? Their spending habits? I can't count the number of times I've gotten random, ridiculous sales pitches for everything from Viagra to tanning lotion. Duh? "Houston we have a problem."
If you'd like for customers and clients to invest in "you" invest some effort in researching how to best serve them and give  them true value for their time and money.

2. Recognize that there's a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.
Here's a case in point. With the onset of spring, a popular yard maintenance service in my local area contacted me to offer their services, a few months ago. After carefully considering their offer, I politely declined.  A few weeks later the representative made a follow-up call. I declined again. A few weeks after, he actually came out to my house and left his business card in my door. Needless to say, he's really beginning to bug me. Know when to give people space.

3. Consider the proper timing.
Take some pointers from retail. They typically sell grills in summer, boots in winter, school supplies around August, etc.
For greater success, align your pitches, work, and services with the right editorial calendars, contest deadlines, and monthly awareness themes. For instance, you might want to market your new poetry book around April, which is National Poetry Month. Get the idea here?

4. Sweeten the deal.
In these uncertain economic times, everybody's looking for ways to do more with less, and get more bang for their buck. Accordingly, why not offer "Early Bird" discounts? Or establish a "Client's Appreciation Day." Or provide a "buy one, get one free" sale.  A little creativity can sometimes yield big rewards.  Give to get!

5. Establish a good ratio to ask:
In the book, "How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life,"
author Michael LeBoeuf, Ph.D. shares that "People love to buy, but hate to be sold."
So it's crucial to recognize the importance of the right approach. The moral of the story here?
Don't saturate your blog with pop-up ads, or send emails every week promoting the same products and services. This can feel a little intrusive. Instead, do it periodically-- say once every 2 or 3 months. Or one pitch per every ten blog posts. Or run different promotions at the same time, targeting different groups.

And last but not least... be supportive of others.
Successful relationships often enhance business sales.

Okay, folks, here's where I practice what I preach:

As a way of saying "thanks" to my readers and followers, I'm offering a 25% discount on 6 of my most popular services, for my six-year anniversary, here at Pen and Prosper.

They are as follows:
  • Blog Audits
  • Web content
  • Blogging
  • Editing
  • Editorial Calendars
  • Strategic Consulting
Use the promotional code: Pensix
Send all requests and price quotes to: Gemsjen@yahoo.com

This is a limited offer for the month of June.
For testimonials from satisfied customers, view the "Hire me" tab on this site.
If you like my Blog, you'll love my creative services.

Thanks for reading.

Comments? Questions?


  1. I dislike the "selling" aspect of being a writer. As you mentioned, the last thing I want to do is to be a pest. So I appreciate these balanced and savvy tips. Thanks a bunch.:) Happy weekend!.

    1. I can relate, Karen. But as Peter Bowerman of "Well-Fed Writer" advises in his book, if we believe that what we have to offer is of real value, then we should not view it as an "imposition" when marketing it to others. :-) Thanks for your valuable input.

  2. Jen--At some point ("in the year 2525," perhaps, as the song goes) I will have a book out, and then I will be able to put to use your advice.

    Thanks for the post. (And I'm sure you'll get some nibbles when it comes to your services with that great offer.)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Sioux,

      I, for one, certainly look forward to that day. :-) Betting it will be a crowd pleaser. Hoping I'll get some nibbles too here; it's a great offer that won't come around again soon. ..:-) Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Hi Jennifer ~ Your posts are always the best! I self-published my book in November of 2013 and it sold fairly well for the first couple of months....99% to friends and family. I honestly did all those things you mention, plus tons of other helpful advice I read about. I also have great reviews on Amazon, (except for one person!), book blurbs from bestselling authors, etc. I believe my memoir would sell better if more people just knew about it....that "word of mouth" factor. But, I also know there are thousands of writers out there who can probably all say the same things. Maybe my day will come, because I definitely have not given up, and I'm continuing with the sequel. I'm also going to look into your discounted offer! Thanks for everything!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Welcome back, Becky! Thanks so much for the compliment. In the words of Sarah Palin, "Don't retreat, reload." :-) I look forward to the opportunity to work together to optimize your creative efforts.
      Thanks for adding to the mix here.

  4. I do believe that giving prospects an idea about the work process, showing the amount of work that goes into the services you offer can give prospects a better sense of the value you have to offer, and can give a better idea about what results they can achieve because of that.

    That is actually something that I need to better communicate on my current writing blog, telling you that you can find - more than 125 blog posts - about blogging and other types of writing, that it can help make writing Fun, Faciniating, and Rewarding.

  5. Valid point. Thanks for sharing, H.P. :-)

  6. Love these tips and the promotion (even though I'm chiming in late!). Keep doing what you're doing. We Love It!

    1. Thanks, Sue! I appreciate the feedback and ongoing support. :-)

  7. Sometimes I think the selling part is the hardest part of being a writer. Or perhaps I'm just not a salesperson. Thanks so much for these great tips.

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Good to hear from you on this. Thanks so much for adding to the mix! :-)

  8. It's a common practice in the business community to offer a discount of 1-2% for early payment. Incentives are a great way to encourage the buyer to plunk down their hard-earned dollars.

  9. How true! Thanks for the feedback, Susan.

  10. To elaborate a little on my previous comment (June 8, 2015) about showing what work goes into the products/services you have to offer - just as with Ice-Cream - also explain about the types and assortment of 'Flavors' you have to offer.

    For example the 'Seasonal Summer Flaver' blog post about 'Cooling Down' you can currently discover on my blog.