Category Archives: Sales

The Wealthy Freelancer on Finding New Freelance Clients

I found a YouTube clip posted by TheWealthyFreelancer focusing on finding new, high-value clients by paying close attention to headlines and developments in the business community. While the information in this video clip won’t apply to ALL freelancing disciplines, it’s an intriguing proposition. How can these strategies translate to your specialty?

I’m not a fan of ALL of this advice–the discussion about Jigsaw.com and BudURL.com put me off a bit as it felt a bit promotional–but with a bit of creative thinking, the remainder of the advice presented here could serve you well even as an editor, writer or other freelancing creative. Full disclosure–I know NOTHING of The Wealthy Freelancer aside from what I’ve seen in the YouTube clip, so I can’t vouch for anything except the clip.

–Joe Wallace



Used-car Salesmen Anonymous

freelance salesWanted to follow up on Diane’s post from yesterday, “8 secret reasons you hate marketing your writing.” More important, I wanted to echo her sentiments: It’s incredibly important for writers to break down the self-imposed barriers that can hold us back.

Sales gets a bad rap. Back in my editorial staff days, there was an extra measure of envy for the BMW-driving, expense-account abusing, exotic-traveling schmoozers.

But here’s the fact: They were the ones who paid the bills. Nowadays, that’s me.

So, to amplify Diane’s thoughts from yesterday, I came across an interesting post, “Reps Drop the Hard Sell and Discover How to be More Effective.” Dr. Robert Cialdini, whose site it appears on, is the author of several books about the power of influence and persuasion, all of which are worth reading. And the link to the Wall Street Journal article is a must as well. (It’s about pharmaceutical sales, but the same lessons apply.)

Bottom line, you don’t have to be a used-car salesman or a hard-charging drug rep. In fact, as the WSJ piece notes, it’s all about building relationships; and as the mp3 interview with Cialdini makes clear, that is a matter of establishing trust and authority. And, while we’re at it, a recent study in Nature concluded that overconfidence—not just confidence—has some counterintuitive benefits.

Indeed, we’ve got it much better than a used-car salesman. They’re selling lemons…We’re selling ourselves.

Contributing blogger Jake Poinier offers answers to your freelancing questions at DearDrFreelance.com. His most recent post was “Write like you’re rich.”

Photo courtesy of Hans Thoursie.

7 Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch & How To Avoid Them: Part 7

A warm welcome back for Diane Holmes, with the last entry on her 7 part series about pitching…and for today we have…

#7 “Listening to you is like Herding Cats.”

Translation: “What?  Wait,  No, over there and there and there.  Yeah–   But–  I don’t under–  Un-huh.  I think–  Okay, start over from–  Wha–?”

Reality:  While books are complex and unfold over many pages, pitches are elegant and illuminate the unique aspect that makes you want to dive into those pages.  1,000 cats vs. 1 cat.

It’s good to be passionate about your book, but you still need to present your book’s hook with logical links from one idea to another.  And ultimately, you need to demonstrate that your book can be matched to an audience beyond you (aka interest the person you’re pitching to).

Solution:  Think of the editor or agent as your audience.  Bring your audience with you as you pitch by understanding what he or she already knows, thinks, and feels about your book’s subject and genre. Start there, then talk them through your book’s hook, building information logically.

If your novel is about a world in which magical beings named Linkers are tied to human souls, don’t start with, “Linker Mai-su just loves what she does and she loves all mankind and she’s their only hope.  Souls are really these vortexes and everyone has one except for a few.  And they’re really world-makers and really powerful, but that’s not Mai-su.  And….” Continue reading

7 Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch & How To Avoid Them: Part 6

It’s time for more on book pitching with Diane Holmes….her latest is titled–

#6 “There’s a term for this encounter:  Death by Meeting.”

Translation: “This is the longest 5 minutes of my life, and it’ll never end.  The details in monotone just keep coming, and eventually someone will find my cold, dead body, because I’ll have died of boredom.”

Reality: You’re so focused on sharing every fact, every bullet point, and every footnote, you haven’t been watching the response you’re getting.  If you were, you could adjust what you’re saying, know when to stop talking, or try saying something more interesting.

Not everyone succeeds in the first sentence.  Some start out rough, adjust, and then win ‘em over!

Solution:  We’re not always the best judge of what’s interesting to others.  If you can’t get a sense all by yourself about the “excitement” factor of your pitch, you need to use your critique group, writing friend, and others to help you out.

When you practice pitching to another person, have them hold their arm parallel to the ground (in front or to the side, doesn’t matter), and then raise and lower their arm as they become more and less interested.   It’s a really simple way to understand how your message is coming across.

And it can be very encouraging to try to raise your friend’s arm.  Try out different approaches.  Tweak what you’re saying.

Diane Holmes

Diane Holmes

Diane Holmes is the Founder and Chief Alchemist behind Pitch University, an online website where writers learn to pitch from the literary agents and editors (and maybe even sell their book in the process).  http://www.pitch-university.com/

And yes, she was born in Texas.

7 Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch & How To Avoid Them: Part 5

Diane Holmes is back today with more in her series about pitching your book…enjoy!

 

#5 “You’re All Hat and No Cattle”

Translation: “Your efforts to wow me by using the shiniest, hype-filled words Hollywood has to offer (big cowboy hat) are no substitute for real content (a ranch with actual cattle).  Everyone these days is calling him/herself an expert of this, a guru of that. Many writers claim to have the next bestseller, a book bigger than Harry Potter, or a story that’s going to excite, thrill, dazzle, and otherwise look good in a Stetson.  Just show me the cattle.” 

Reality:  Hype doesn’t work.  TV shows first had premiers, then they had US premiers, then world-wide premiers, and now?  Yes, Universal Premiers!  Hype doesn’t impress us.  We can see through it.  So can an editor or agent.

Solution:  Compelling premise, compelling character, compelling message.  Write books that are compelling by their very nature.  Then all you have to do is share this information.

Pitching isn’t a trick.  It’s communication.

Diane Holmes

Diane Holmes

 

Diane Holmes is the Founder and Chief Alchemist behind Pitch University, an online website where writers learn to pitch from the literary agents and editors (and maybe even sell their book in the process).  http://www.pitch-university.com/

And yes, she was born in Texas.

7 Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch & How To Avoid Them: Part 4

Today we have part 4 of the series on pitching your book, by Diane Holmes….and by the way….you’ll be hearing more from her as she’s signing on to be a regular contributor at Freelance-Zone.com. We’re going to continue running the 7-part series, but you’ll also be hearing from Diane in posts about marketing and fiction over the coming weeks. We’re excited to have her as part of the roster!


#4 “Whoa, stop pitching!  It’s like drinking from a Firehose.”

Translation: “You’re gushing details and projects so fast it can only be measured in “gallons per minute,” and I am totally drenched.  Stop.  Please.  I need to dry off.”

Reality: More details aren’t better; they’re just more. And listing your works-in-progress without a breath doesn’t make you seem prolific, it only convinces an agent or editor that you’ve got a lot of work that hasn’t sold.

Solution:  Stop.  Focus.  You are here to talk about one amazing book project in a way that shines excitement and clarity on it.  If your conversation (not your rant or monologue) creates a positive impression about you, you might be invited to discuss other projects.   And again, stop and focus.

It’s not a race.

The agent or editor assumes that how you present your book is actually the best indicator of both how it’s written AND what type of client you’re likely to be.

Most writers will read this and think, “that is totally unfair!”  After all, we’re not presenters, we’re nervous, and it feels impossible to sum up our books (and deliver that summary in a verbal pitch).

It’s a pretty big burden to look and sound confident, present well, and give a summary that accurately encapsulates the project.  It is.

So, start by practicing being S-L-O-W.  Blurting information is caused either by nerves or desperation.  And it does no good lecturing yourself on not being nervous or desperate.  Emotions can be immune to logic!

So, for now.  Practice being slow.  Aim for clarity.  Remind yourself it’s a conversation.

Diane Holmes

Diane Holmes

Diane Holmes is the Founder and Chief Alchemist behind Pitch University, an online website where writers learn to pitch from the literary agents and editors (and maybe even sell their book in the process).  http://www.pitch-university.com/

And yes, she was born in Texas.