From Bookster to Huckster – The 21st Century Writer

Your book is nearly out there. The last creative juices have been squeezed out and your material has been edited to within an inch of its life. Time to put it out to the public and then terror strikes…you’ve got to sell the damn thing. You’ve got to move from the introverted life of a writer to the extroverted one of a salesperson and self-promoter.

Some writers began capturing their thoughts as it was a lot easier than saying them out loud to another human being and enduring the instant critique of body language. All before their listener had even opened their mouths to tell the writer what they thought of their ideas. Now, the hats must be switched and some writers face it with absolute dread. From dealing with fictional characters, they are now in the blinding spotlight as themselves and face all the probing questions that will come their way. They have to justify all their choices and decisions and in public too. There may be book tours, some writers hate having to perform in front of an audience and are unable to deliver the lines they’ve written in a way that will engage an audience. Some writers are barely audible when they speak. Some are absolute naturals with audiences and can be charming and funny. They tend to be booked for more public appearances and sell more books as a result. Being easy on the eye doesn’t hurt either, although some writers…well, we won’t go there.

Online selling is a lot easier than in person but again, some writers are not tech-savvy. For some, turning on a computer is the height of their technical abilities. For self-published writers, that can mean a lot of work as they may not have the finances to engage a big PR firm to drum up sales for them. However, in the vast recesses of the information jungle that is the internet, help is at hand. You can find YouTube tutorials on just about anything these days like how to use Photoshop (for mocking up or doing your own book covers). They’re quick, they’re free and you can repeat them as often as you want until you get what they’re telling you. It is possible to get technical if you put in the time and know where to look.

Hucksterism for writers is a necessary evil so resistance is futile. More sales give you more money and more choices and free time to write and we’d all love a bit of that. After all, nobody puts weeks, months and sometimes years into writing something to leave it gathering dust in a drawer. That’s where your inner salesperson comes in. They will help you spread the words, your words, not the.words of someone else. As Farrah Grey put it: “Build your own dreams or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” Don’t shy away from success or apologise for it. You’ve worked hard and you should reap the rewards of your labour like anyone else.

Writers might think they are cheapening themselves by being a huckster but all that will remain when they are gone will be their work. If they’ve huckstered properly, it will be work that will be read and remembered long after they are gone and that is true immortality.

© 2014, Stewart Stafford. All rights reserved.



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