The most frightening experience of my childhood had nothing to do with monsters in the closet, bad dreams, vampires, werewolves, or the latest episode of The Twilight Zone. Those were the things normal children were afraid of. Every spring, my own personal nightmare arrived in a box I carried home from my monthly Campfire Girls’ meeting. That box contained twelve slim boxes of the most delicious candy you ever wrapped your taste buds around. Chocolate, caramel, pecans and magic pixie dust… Delicious. Sorry, Girl Scouts, Thin Mints and Samoas rock, but they don’t compare to those little bites of heaven I took home with me.
Are you scratching your head? Wondering what I was afraid of? I wasn’t scared of the candy—that would be beyond weird—and I wasn’t scared of the girl on the box, though that would perfectly reasonable considering she looks like she could bore holes in a person’s head just by looking at them. I was afraid because I had to SELL something. To people I didn’t know. My parents were always good for two or three, but the remaining boxes had to be sold to strangers, who lived in houses I’d never been to, and though my mom or dad always waited for me at the curb, I had to knock on doors and talk to the people who opened them. My sales pitch ranged from ‘You don’t want to buy any Campfire candy, do you?’ to knocking on the door, waiting ten seconds, and then running. I was slick as snake oil.
I haven’t changed much. Writers tend to be introverts and connecting with people who aren’t in our inner circle can be uncomfortable. Particularly, if we want to sell them something. Like candy. Or books. Social media can make this easier, but we still have to come up with clever ways to get others to like our Facebook page, read our tweets, watch our podcasts, find their way to our blog, website or Amazon page and click buy. And somewhere, in the midst of building our platform, we write, which is all we really wanted to do in the first place.
Just writing can be tough. Our muse dogs us when we try to ignore it, runs away when we need it the most, and, occasionally, points us in the wrong direction just to screw with our mind. And once we’ve painstakingly crafted and honed our work-in-progress, gone through everything we have to do to make it as near perfect as we can; we have to put it and ourselves on display. And risk rejection? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
We’re writers, not salesmen, and marketing can be challenge, but the online writing community is both generous and welcoming and, fortunately, there are many writers who are willing to take the time to share their mistakes and successes. If you own an eReader you’re probably familiar with best-selling crime novelist, Nick Stephenson. In addition to his Leopold Blake thrillers, he’s written two books on marketing that are full of great information. I’ve just finished Reader Magnets, Get Readers to Come to You, ( it’s free!) and about half-way through reading Supercharge Your Kindle Sales, which I think is even better.
I’ve also recently joined Books Go Social. It was setup to help writers and readers find each other and I’m excited by everything they have to offer. It’s growing fast, so go check it out!
For now, I’m off to finish Supercharge Your Kindle Sales.