Salesmanship

In the 1940’s my grandfather was one of the highest paid salesmen for the Singer Sewing Machine Company in Southern California. He represented a reliable product, had a good way with people, and had a natural knack for sales. Some have said I look a bit like my grandfather. I inherited his sandy blonde hair and blue eyes, but I definitely did not get his sales ability. It was never a skill that I could call my own.

As I further my writing career, I notice that I cannot escape selling because essentially I am selling myself in the form of promoting my stories and articles. Unfortunately, when my grandfather was still living, I never asked him his sales secrets. I could definitely use some of his tips. But I have learned a few things that have improved my salesmanship through the years:

1.      Always deliver quality work – Your work is your best promotional piece, so make sure you are delivering your best.

2.      Meet your deadlines – An editor needs reliable writers to depend on. If you don’t meet your deadlines, they can’t either. I always try to get my articles into their hands several days to a week ahead of schedule. This has given me extra jobs since editors know they can rely on my prompt attention to their assignments.

3.      Keep working – It’s important to get your work out there to earn those all important publishing credits. Sometimes that may include writing for free or a smaller fee. I have made some great contacts this way that have led to good paying assignments.

4.      Participate in Group Lists and Blogs – Networking can open up many doors for work. Join online group lists in the genre you are interested in. Sign up for like-minded blogs. Sometimes you can hear about great leads that can open a door to an assignment. One current project I am waiting to get a contract for came via a lead from a blog.

5.      Develop a website/blog – As you begin to establish yourself as a writer, you want to develop an online presence so people can find out more about you. This is essential if you have a book published.

 

If you are pursuing publication, you must make yourself known by your work, your

dependability, and your presence. So, as my grandfather would have stressed, get out

there and work, because no one is going to do it for you.

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Busy, Busy, Busy

My week has been a blur of activity: school conferences, writers’ meetings, church meetings, doctor’s appointments. The list seems endless. My gas tank is low from all the running around, and so is my energy level. I barely have time to write!

Instead of my minimum two hours or so a day on the computer, I think I’ve spent about twenty minutes writing in the last few days. However, I’m not letting this become a problem. I am trying to focus my mind on fresh and new ideas, as well as revamping old ones. The importance is to keep my creative processes active so that when I do get a few extra minutes to type, I can just sit down and let those ideas flow out of my head and onto my wordprocessing page.

Don’t let crazy schedules stop your writing process. Keep thinking. Keep creating. It’s great exercise for the brain.

The Elusive Note Pad

I need to start carrying a note pad wherever I go. There are just too many times when I have an idea and I didn’t have something to write on because I was running a quick errand (the back of receipts doesn’t count).

           

And I have no excuse. I have plenty of note pads to choose from that are waiting to be filled with clever words and phrases. I guess I just don’t like having extra things to carry. Maybe I’m trying to keep my mind active by seeing how long I can keep all those fresh ideas in my head. Yet I find as I get older that those ideas slip away much faster than they used to.

           

So I need to develop a new habit. I will always need to carry three things with me: my keys, my cell phone, and my note pad. It will be hard to remember the note pad at first, but the benefits might be a new picture book idea, or a uniquely inspiring story for my personal blog. I’ll let you know how I succeed later on down the line.

First-Time Attendee

I finally did it. I finally attended my first writers’ event. This past Saturday I joined over 150 other members of the SCBWI for Editor’s Day at the Santa Ana Zoo. The weather was cool, with the threat of rain, but inside we were very snug, with eager anticipation for the talks ahead.

Since I’ve never been to any type of writers’ program before (except for visiting the exhibits at ALA this past summer), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thankfully, I knew a few people, so I didn’t feel isolated. And since I’ve been writing for a few years now, I knew all the terms.

The guest speakers were great. We were able to glean from the wisdom and encouragement and knowledge of the respected editors and writers who took the time to share. Besides this benefit, the attendees will get a small window of opportunity to submit to the editors’ publishing houses that are normally closed to the average writer.

Would I recommend Editors’ Day to an up and coming writer? Absolutely! It will help encourage you and give you a pulse for the current publishing world.