“I believe in giving everyone the opportunity to tell me no; otherwise, I’m not giving them the opportunity to tell me yes.” – Chrissie Anderson Peters
In addition to writing, I sell Scentsy. Before Scentsy, it was Mary Kay. Before Mary Kay, it was Pampered Chef – and long ago, Avon. And in-between, a whole lot of other things. I’ve been selling something since I was in high school (you only had to be 16 to sell Avon back then, with parental permission to do so). One thing I have learned over the past thirty-five years, though – which has helped me immensely as a writer, by the way – is that you have to give everyone the opportunity to tell you no. Because, if you aren’t giving people the opportunity to tell you no, then you also aren’t giving them the opportunity to tell you yes. This doesn’t just hold true when you’re trying to hawk your books at a festival, fair, or vendor event – but it certainly helps there. For example, yesterday, at our closing session for Table Rock, there was no place for non-faculty to set up to sell books, so I took a few of each of my three titles out of my trusty rolling bag and started walking around, asking people (starting with friends sitting nearby), if they’d be interested in buying a book. I ended up selling five copies and giving away a very important sixth copy (more news on that at a later time).
But it’s more than in the sales pitch. It’s also in selling yourself as a writer, to other people, and even to yourself. You have to put yourself out there over and over and over again, repeatedly, relentlessly, in order to get published. Sometimes, it takes forever, even when you feel like what you’re sending out is really great work. But if you fail to send it out – if you don’t dare to dare to do it – then your work isn’t going to get into the hands of the people who need to see it to make your dreams and hard work the realities of what you want your writing to be. Take my annual goal of 50 rejections, for instance. Working towards being told no fifty times in one year is a lot of rejection. But if I put my work out there constantly and consistently enough to be told no fifty times, then I’m bound to receive some yesses, in addition. Statistically, it’s bound to happen. And each rejection, if viewed properly, makes me a stronger writer. I go back and examine each piece for flaws and weaknesses, then send it out again. It’s a journey, to be certain. Daring to dare has a price, but doesn’t everything worth achieving?