Friday, March 22, 2013

The Art of Asking... people to buy my books

Sorry for the extended blogging absence. I fell down a writing hole... of the very best kind! Most of my conversations over the last 2 weeks have gone like this:

Husband/child/dog: *expresses need for food and/or attention*
Rachel: CAN NOT LEAVE THE PRECIOUSSSSssssssss...... (clutches laptop)

I did manage to poke my head up to watch a very good TED talk, though. It doesn't specifically deal with writing per se, but I still found it very relevant.

I've been on the fringe of the Amanda Palmer storm for years now, but this talk convinced me to drink the Kool Aid. The whole video is totally worth watching, but the gist is about how difficult it is to ask for help and compensation vs. how much others want to give it. "Asking [as an artist] makes you vulnerable," Palmer says. "There's always that voice in the back of your head: get a job."

This talk REALLY hit the nail on the head for me, because the single hardest thing I've had to learn as a writer is how to ask people to buy my books without feeling like a huckster or a fraud. It's not that I'm shy. I'm the opposite of shy. I am the biggest extrovert you will ever meet. But asking someone to pay money and read my work is harrowing in a way I have trouble putting words to.

I constantly joke to my friends that someday this writer thing is going to dry up and I'll have to go get a "real job." But the kicker here is that writing is a real job, and not just in the "you should treat your writing as a job if you want to be a professional" kind of way. I mean that writers are entertainers who provide a service, a book, and that is worthy of compensation.

When I ask people "buy my book?" I feel this overwhelming sense of shame and guilt. Who am I, after all, to ask these people to put forth their hard earned cash to take a trip through my imaginary world? But it's all in my head, a product, ironically, of my own pride. In asking someone to buy my book, to like my story, to invest in me, I have to open myself up to the fact that might say no. I have to make myself vulnerable. But as Palmer says, when you trust in people, most of the time, they trust back. If you give them an honest experience, a good story, then don't begrudge you the asking, or the money.

The point here is that writing, singing, entertainment, these are real jobs that provide real benefits. We've all read books that we would have paid twice as much for. There's no shame in asking people to buy my book, it doesn't make me a fraud or a huckster. It doesn't make me a sell out. It makes me a working writer, and that, I gotta say, is the best job ever.

Monday, March 4, 2013

It's my birthday, so have some free stuff!

My 31st birthday is coming up this week! Hooray for surviving to my 3rd decade!

To celebrate my transition from the 21-30 demographic to the 31-40 demographic, I've decided to make my writing e-book, 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love free until Friday!

If you've already bought the book, thank you a million times. If you haven't, I hope you'll give it a try now. Whatever you decide, though, thank you all so much for reading this blog and my work! I could not do what I do without you.

Thank you for everything!
- Rachel