Thursday, June 7, 2007

Are You a Writer or a Salesman?

Rumor has it that some writers fear selling face to face. True or False? I am a writer who hates selling face to face. My first distasteful experience with sales happened when I was ten years old. I was required to go door to door selling flower seeds as a fund raiser for my 4-H club.

Fear of selling is not a good thing for writers, since we need to sell our ideas and projects to publishers. Is it the fear of rejection or just an aversion to meeting people face to face? For me it is more about insecurity of myself. I find it much easier to “sell” myself on paper.

In Doug D’ana’s monthly newsletter he states that in order for writers to develop their own unique selling style they should take a sales course and not just read a sales book. A sales course will help you get down to the basics of selling face to face. You will learn how to see and feel clients’ emotions and how to react to them and you will gain an overwhelming advantage over writers who take only writing classes.

Doug characterizes his success in one way when he says “Truth is, if there's a reason why I've had such great success in copywriting, it is because I'm not a writer--I'm a salesman who types for a living.”

Of course “selling” is just another form of marketing. Suzanne Lieurance of The Working Writer’s Coach suggests that if we want to keep our freelance writing career going we need to develop a weekly marketing plan. There are two important items in any plan. One is Promotional Activities. We must constantly promote (sell) ourselves and our writing in order to be a working writer. Keep your web site or blog updated, write press releases and so on. The next one is Networking with other writers and community organizations. Join your local chamber of commerce and go to business luncheons.

Also, think of yourself as a “big” business. Even though you are the chief cook and bottle washer, you have a global business on the world wide web. Don’t sell yourself short in this area.

Everyone has a selling style waiting to be developed. Develop your own personal unique selling style and you can be a “thank-you-for-the-money-in-my-pocket” writer.

Write it down,


  1. Hi, Carma,

    Yes, a weekly marketing plan is essential for writers who hope to make a fulltime living from their writing. But so many writers are reluctant to do this. Yet, they wonder why they aren't more successful.

    The Working Writer's Coach

  2. Hi Suzanne,
    You are so right. To make a full time living at anything, you need a plan.

    Since writing is such a creative process, it is easy to forget about the mechanics of business.