Friday, January 28, 2011

Network to Sell Books

Missoula Businesswomen's Network's
2011 Women's Symposium
I am here to offer you an answer to your prayers ... assuming you've been praying for years to come up with a miraculous way to sell more books without having to transform yourself into a fish oil salesman.

We writers spend a lot of our time alone. Even if we write from coffee shops or similar public places, we seldom sit and chat with others while our fingers dance across the keyboards of our laptops as we crank out our word limits for the day.

Many of us are solitary and/or isolated and, once we have a book in the works, suffer serious stress at the prospect of marketing and selling it. Others of us are social but simply hate hawking our wares--which is what marketing sometimes feels like. Joining one or two well-chosen organizations (social, civic, religious, whatever--the type doesn't matter!) IS the answer to your prayers ... assuming you do what you need to do after you join the organization.

Example:  When I moved to Missoula, MT from Massachusetts 7 years and 2,700 miles ago, I knew one person:  my real estate agent. After a year, I knew the people I worked with, a handful of neighbors, and my real estate agent. Not a great audience for my soon-to-be written, published, and bestselling novel, eh? At that time, I was still [foolishly] keeping my writing and business lives separate, believing my insurance clients and associates would frown on my obsession with writing mostly mystery and romance fiction.

As a business owner, I joined the requisite organizations to network for business purposes:  Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, and the Missoula Businesswomen's Network (MBN).  What I didn't expect, however, was that my membership in MBN would surpass my wildest dreams with respect to helping me market myself as a writer and sell books.

This does NOT mean that my efforts as a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis weren't successful--they were. But my membership in MBN was special because I had an affinity for the organization and its mission, I was able to form personal and long-lasting relationships with a great number of my fellow members,  I was able to contribute to the organization by sharing my life and business experiences with other members who actually wanted to hear about them, and I was able to receive numerous benefits from the experiences and advice of other members.

The point is, I dove into that organization and over a period of years and served it in several capacities:  board member, committee member, committee chair, speaker, mentor to new members, volunteer, and--in general--fan and advocate. Because of my sincere enjoyment as a member, and my participation in activities and events that suited my personality and preferences, I became well-known and well-liked.

If you have something to sell, well-known is far more important than well-liked--although I'll be the first one to acknowledge that if people like and trust you, they'll do business with you.  If you look back at the italicized words in this blog post, that's all you really need to remember if you want to sell more books by networking ... assuming you're willing to do what it takes.

My mother used to say that anything worth having is worth the effort expended to achieve it.  As usual, she was right.

For more tips about marketing and networking, or any other aspect of honing the business skills we writers need, you can visit my website for free business tips, check out my latest book Taking the Mystery Out of Business: 9 Fundamentals for Professional Success, or visit my blog to read other articles and ask your questions.

Linda Faulkner | |

No comments:

Post a Comment