30 June 2013

What I have left to say on this topic at the end of the month.

By Gayle Francis Moffet

So, this month's theme here on the Penman is talking about how to sell your book. In chronological order, Carrie, Jody, Rob, and Icy have all offered up great advice on ways to sell your book. Clark and Kelly have done a great job posing questions they still have on the topic.

And here I sit, last day of the month, trying to figure out what I can add to this conversation that hasn't already been said.

I have spent a lot of time making
this face. And contemplating the
size of my chin in photographs.

After a lot of thought, I don't really have much to add in the way of practical advice. All I can really tell you is to make certain however you promote your work, however you get your books sold, do it honestly. Don't be artificial in your love of your work. Don't fake enthusiasm if it's not there.

And for coffee's sake, don't be afraid to make a little bit of an ass of yourself. Not in a trollish way, but in an effervescent enthusiasm way. You want to be a little giddy about your work? Be giddy. Be a little loose around the edges. Know your elevator pitch like the back of your hand, but also know when to jump off from there and just talk to people about how awesome your work is.

"That's some solid advice that's hard to pin down, Gayle," you're probably thinking. "How the hell am I supposed to know when to jump off my elevator pitch?"

The whole idea of the elevator pitch is to try to get someone interested in your work in the time it takes to get on an elevator, introduce yourself, and go down a few floors. You're a writer; you probably have a strong understanding of human interaction. You're gonna be able to tell if someone's not buying your pitch. When that happens, consider loosening up a bit, shaking off the patter you know so well, and jumping into the conversation from a different angle.

Maybe the person you're talking to doesn't seem particularly interested in a short story about middle-aged women dealing in small town personal politics. But maybe that person would be interested to read an allegory about the right to die discussion. Or maybe that person needs a good visual, like say a the cover of your thing:

What might all these candles represent?
Is fire involved somehow?
(Spoiler: Fire is totally involved somehow.)
The point is, if you're genuinely enthusiastic about your work, if you're willing to put yourself out there a little bit to get it noticed, if you're willing to be at least a little shameless, you'll have an easier time finding your audience because they'll be able to find you.

And hell, if all else fails, just ask if you can try to sell 'em a copy. Worst they can do is say no and move on and leave you room to find people who will say yes.

Gayle Francis Moffet is a writer who only has enough shame to not walk onto her balcony naked in all this heat. Numbered with the Living is her very favorite thing she's ever had published (courtesy of the lovely Milk Sugar Literature), and you can now add the story to your to-read list on Goodreads. Her second-favorite thing she's ever had published is Battlefield Operations, which she will sell to you for a dollar. She's still working on that same damned script she's been pecking away at for months, but her five-page comic, April 16th, 6:44 a.m is fully arted and lettered and will be up at The Committee Building just as soon as it's up at The Committee Building. She keeps a news blog at gaylefmoffet.com, a tumblr at whatthehellamiwriting.tumblr.com, and she's pretty sure this is the most links she's ever jammed into a post. 

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