Guest Article by: By Elaine Wilkes, PhD
I’ve heard from authors around the world that most of them don’t like to “sell” their book. It amazes me because book sales are how you get your message out there and help more people. Right?
Here these authors put a substantial amount of time and energy into their book, product, or services – yet when it comes to selling they start to freeze up.
They become afraid to approach buyers or “important” people who could possibly help them.
All that fear of selling and rejection is not helping… so my intention with this article is to put an end to that fear.
Let’s get this straightened out now, so you can eliminate your fear of rejection, and help more people with your message!
Here’s the deal. I used to be an actress and appeared in movies and on TV shows, and in over 75 television commercials too. You may think that’s great.
But do you know how many times I got rejected – NOT to appear in commercials, TV, and movies? I bet over a thousand times—probably even way more.
And, when I was rejected, they would easily toss out what was “wrong” with me. She’s not pretty enough, didn’t like her, not right for the part, wrong hair, too old, and the list goes on.
So here’s what rejection taught me that I want to share with you.
First, because I’ve been rejected so many times I now have little fear of rejection.
The more the rejection, the less it actually matters. I realized that I lived through it by not taking in the negativity and kept going on in spite of it. I even ended up booking amazing dream jobs because I kept going.
What does it feel like to not have fear of rejection? Happiness. Being authentic. Not people pleasing —FREEDOM.
If people believed the rejection and other people’s doubts, some of our greatest works of art and achievements would not have been possible.
The point is to know when your book, product, or service gets rejected – or has challenges -its part of the process.
You can use the rejection to see if there’s any value, and then let it go and move on.
Do you know how much mental energy it frees up when you’re not thinking that you were rejected, or they didn’t want to buy your book or services, or fearful they’ll say no? It frees up enough mental energy to go out and make the sales actually happen.
In our culture we’re constantly sold the idea that we should avoid anything unpleasant or uncomfortable. But what would our lives be like without the dark side, which helps us to appreciate the light and the good?
There’s a TV episode that begins with a gangster being gunned down. It then cuts to him waking up in a mansion with servants all around. He opens a closet to find an elaborate wardrobe designed just for him. Gourmet meals are prepared for him. Many events happen and they all go his way. He has everything.
After months and months of absolutely no problems and everything going perfectly, he starts a game of pool and with one shot, all the balls go into the pockets. He turns and barks to one of his servants, “If this is heaven, I’d rather be in hell!”
The servant replies, “That’s where you are.”
This scene portrays what I’ve learned… that rejection (things not going our way) is part of the picture. And it’s meant to be embraced and examined—then let go. It builds character from the inside out.
If you look at rejection as merely clouds passing over, you will substantially change your life for the better.
Or as Don Miquel Ruiz says, “Don’t take things personally.”
Also, a “no’ can be a yes later on, or a way for you to become more creative in your approach.
On the TV show, The Profit, one man is offered $250,000 if he can just get out of his lease. His attorney says he can’t, so he quits and doesn’t get the money. He could have used that “no” to come up with dozens of other creative ideas to make it happen, but instead he lost out on a quarter of a million dollars because he accepted the first no.
What if you looked at rejection and hearing “no” as part of the process? Or, even as a way to build your creativity.
Are you too accepting or too afraid of the no’s?
What if instead, can you focus on the value you’re giving to the world? What I mean by value here is how is your book, product, or service makes a difference to others. If you believe it’s valuable to others then why the heck would you not want to sell it? If you didn’t sell it, you would be withholding something good for others.
In acting and speech classes I was taught to focus on delivering my message – rather than focusing on myself. When you focus on you then you’re not connecting with your audience.
The same is true with sales. Focus on the benefit you bring to others.
There will be plenty of no’s, but the yeses make it all worthwhile. Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times, but is remembered for his home runs.
Starting today, focus on getting those yeses and home runs.
Here’s an experiment for authors to help you work through these issues; an experiment I love to teach when I’m training authors on how to sell their book.
Go to your local library today and sell your book. Tell them you’re a local author. The word “local” is GOLD. Most libraries want to support local authors. Remember to put yourself in the librarian’s position as to why they want to buy your book—not about why you want to sell your book.
Libraries are great to sell to since they now buy self-published books and eBooks. But make sure your book looks like a professional traditionally published book. Librarians won’t accept books with typos, bad grammar, or amateur layouts, so make sure you have a well edited and proofed book with a professional looking design. (Fill-in-the-blank books and spiral and/or comb bindings are not likely to get purchased either.)
My mom wrote the children’s book, Dancing Fruit Put on a Show. Her illustrator told her that it’s “too hard for self-published authors to get their books into libraries.” Don’t believe everything you hear. I took her to ten local libraries. Nine of the libraries purchased her book, and she sold 14 books in just a few hours. And that was just the start. But, for her – being a senior citizen with no sales training – getting her book into libraries was so much fun.
I also believe my mom’s enthusiasm for the book helped to sell it. She genuinely believes the book is great for kids, so I think the librarians picked up on her positive energy. Think of the “vibe” you’re sending out when you sell. She expected sales and that’s what she got. When she got a no, she was actually surprised, but then went onto the next libraries and got more sales.
What’s also terrific is that library books are non-returnable. Once they buy the book, that’s it. End of story… unlike most book stores who send unsold books back.
Another great thing about libraries being an easy way to begin to release your fear of rejections… is that they sponsor book tours where you can give readings and speeches to libraries in all parts of the country—virtually. And it costs you nothing. You can use Go To Meeting’s 30-day free trial, or Skype, or Google hangouts.
There are so many options available when it comes to library sales, but most people don’t even think about selling to libraries. But not me (or my Mom)!
I’ve sold tons of books to libraries, and as a result of my success went on to developing a powerful (yet inexpensive) course to teach authors how to do the same.
I want you to experience more success and fun when it comes to sales… so you can start focusing on all the awesome “yeses” you’ll receive… ones that are long “overdue.”