17 Number 7 - February 26, 2013
- Feature "Five Tips for Effective Cold Calling"
by Susan Sundwall
- 12 Paying Markets - High, Medium, and Low
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Five Tips for Effective Cold Calling
by Susan Sundwall
Cold calling, simply stated, is the act of presenting yourself on someone’s doorstep, real or virtual, without warning to push a product. Sounds a little crass, but there you have it and it has been going on forever. Probably cavemen did it. It’s an essential art of almost any business and most writers will have to do it at some time or another.
This necessary practice can really put the introvert, the shy, and the less-than-self-confident writer off their game. It takes guts and a certain amount of swagger to get up the nerve for cold calling, but there is a way to do it well. I know. I’ve been out there pounding the pavement attempting to place my mystery in local bookstores. I have learned much and a good deal of it can be whittled down to the following five tips.
- Be prepared – Come up with a strategy for presenting yourself that will serve you in various situations. Memorize an opening line. I carry a copy of my mystery with me and open with, “Hi, my name is Susan Sundwall and I wrote this book.” I hold up my beautiful book with the stunning red cover in true Vanna White fashion and smile. Who, What, Where, When and Why is where I go next. Who will buy the book? Readers who like cozies. What can they expect from my story? Clean humor, quirky characters and a riveting mystery. And so on. Your first ten minutes will fly by.
- Props – Taking my book along shows the product right up front. It also gives you and your target something to look at as the conversation proceeds. In addition have a small pad and a pen ready to jot down any vital notes about your visit, date of visit, number books left on consignment, name of bookkeeper etc. And always leave a business card.
- Have a Plan B – It’s going to happen. For all your preparation, props and go gettum attitude things sometimes won’t go as you’ve anticipated. A few weeks ago I cold called at a bookstore where the event coordinator happened to be absent. I was given his email address and set my case before him later that day suggesting a book signing. When I heard back he declined. I could have written him off, but instead I asked if he’d at least consider carrying my book. He told me, sure, drop some off at the store. Not a complete win, but better than nothing.
- Follow up – People are busy. You and what you’re pushing will not be the most consuming part of their day. State your case and then know how to take your leave. But know when to follow up, too. I’ve left my books in several bookstores on consignment in the last few weeks. I have a file on my hard drive to keep track of them. I keep a folder with phone numbers and names. I will follow up sooner rather than later on any deals that have been cut.
- Nerves – Okay, I saved this for last. The old term “Nervous Nelly,” was coined for people like me. All kinds of calamities have befallen me because of nerves. My face and neck turn red and my hands shake. Once, while speaking with of a group of children and parents, I looked down to see my knees actually knocking. If this is you, you have my heartfelt sympathy but also this advice. Get over it. You will never sell yourself as a writer if you’re shivering in a corner somewhere. If you have a good product you have nothing to shake about. Lecture yourself in the mirror about it. When you’re at ease, so is the person who’s going to buy your writing. Give them that.
As a writer, cold calling isn’t what you’ll be doing most. No, you’ll be penning wonderful things for the world to read and that world will be better off. More enlightened, informed, entertained, and inspired. That’s your main function. But for those times when you’re out there hawking your wares be kind to yourself and have a plan.
© 2013 Susan Sundwall
Susan is a freelance writer and new novelist. Her mystery, The Red Shoelace Killer – A Minnie Markwood Mystery is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or from the publisher, Mainly Murder Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her charming blog at susansundwall.blogspot.com
12 Paying Markets
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High - Over
Bedtimes - Guidelines:
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Canada's History Magazine (formerly The Beaver) - Guidelines:
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The New Yorker - Guidelines:
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Notre Dame - Guidelines:
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$125 - $500
Christian Home & School - Guidelines:
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The Quilter - Guidelines:
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Road King - Guidelines:
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Sea Kayaker - Guidelines:
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YouthWorker Journal - Guidelines:
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Low - Less
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Turtle Magazine - Guidelines:
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