Sell Yourself


“I saw your light was on,” P. said. He had moved into a house across the street, and so he knew when I was home and who came to visit. We had broken up a month before and I was seeing the tactophobe.

I didn’t want to talk to him, but I didn’t want to be rude. I thought of turning off my light, but decided that would be too obvious. “How are you?” I asked.

“I thought you might want to come over,” he said. It was midnight.

“It’s late,” I said.

“Hey, if you come over right now, I promise you’ll be asleep in 30 minutes,” he said.

If you want to sell your book or your art, you’ve got to make a pitch. Why should anyone plop down their money on your work? Some people say they won’t sell out, but does sell have to mean sell out? Where is that line? How do you pitch and not sound like a jerk?

7 thoughts on “Sell Yourself

  1. I have a problem with this. I have always focused on my art and my craft and my personal development, and when selling, pay, or money comes into it, I run the other direction.

    I think, first one has to believe that one is WORTH whatever pay one is requested.

    Did P deserve a booty call? He thought so.

    Do we deserve to be published and read and loved by strangers? My critical brain says hell yeah. Keep trying. Never give up. Believe in your work and believe that you aren’t trying to take anything from someone by wanting them to publish your writing. It’s not a scam you’re running. It’s not an imposition. Believe that you are giving them a valuable gift, the opportunity to share in the world you have created, and to be the ones who give it to the wider world.

    My mushy scared little girl brain says EEEEK and runs away, hiding my novels in a file cabinets and pretending that I’m just not ready. I’m not good enough. No one wants to read my work anyway. I have nothing to give the world. She apologizes to the world for thinking I’m a real writer and being so conceited as to even try to write books.

    Which brain do we want to use when taking our babies out into the world?

    This is not a trick question.

  2. I think my negative energy about making money is influencing the sale of my book. Is that weird? I don’t feel like I deserve it, so the universe says, “You’re right.”

    You have to use that 30-minutes line in one of your stories. Talk about showing, not telling. Instant cad. 🙂

    And hey, I just noticed that the snowflakes on the site change direction when I move my cursor. Cool.

  3. rowena, he deserved a big no, which is what he got. Now your work is beautiful and true and you don’t need to hesitate asking a price, but I know what you mean. I feel conceited asking for money.

    Sherri, I know my mixed feelings about money contributes to tons of problems. You deserve to sell your book though. Good luck and may the universe shine upon you in the new year.

  4. It’s a little like I imagine it must be for parents (especially mothers). They’re surrounded by images of happy families, recovering families, families making a go of it in tough times, and so on. Of course there are also the other sorts of families, and nobody likes to project their own family-to-be into that sort of future, so they set out with hopes and expectations and pride and excitement.

    But then reality sets in. And on its heels, panic:

    What do *I* know about being a parent?… I could never be as good as X across the street…. And omigod, how could I forget, I’ve got to turn the little one over to the world at some point, who will take care of him then, who will love her as much as I do, omigod, omigod, omigod…!

    At some point you gotta stop clinging to the thing — the book, the art, the child. And because it’ll never take that first step on its own (heck, it loves YOU, too), you gotta actually give it the push it needs. Without that push, it doesn’t stand a chance.

    (At which point I will stop sounding like somebody who knows squat about raising children.)

  5. I had a male writer friend tell me once that he thinks women particularly suffer from “I don’t deserve this” when it comes to their work, because they don’t see it as something that takes place in the world, not just in the soul. I still question this stertype, but I have to admit that it allowed me to accept that I have the right to earn money at my work, and that if I were selling software that I designed, for instance, I woudln’t have the same doubt and meekness about it.

    JES: having one kid in college and one about to leave, I can safely say that the letting-go experience is very similar. Your kids leave in increments; from the day they are born they are growing more independent, just as a book takes on a life of it’s own from the moment you start to write. And just as our kids are meant to gor forward into the world, so is our work.

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