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Selling the Artist

Created on: Jan 7, 2010 8:46 AM by CreateSpaceResources - Last Modified:  Oct 26, 2010 5:24 AM by CreateSpaceBlogger

A writer for more than 20 years, Richard Ridley understands the complexities in the publishing industry. In his role marketing specialist for CreateSpace he offers a unique perspective on book marketing based on his own experiences as a self-published author. He is the author of the IPPY Award-winning young adult series The Takers: Book One of the Oz Chronicles, Delon City: Book Two of the Oz Chronicles, The Pure: Book Three of the Oz Chronicles and Lost Days. The Takers is also the winner of the Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Award in the Middle Grade/Young Adult category. Richard is currently represented by the PS Literary Agency.


There is an unusual paradox when creative people enter the world of commerce. Creatives oftentimes consider themselves artists first and foremost. As artists they have an enviable sense of integrity when it comes to their work and art. Frequently people become artists because they have shunned the world of commerce to some degree because they have misconceptions that they will have to compromise their integrity to sell their art. As a result, artists have a difficult time selling their books, films, or CDs.


Successful salespeople use two basic tools to sell their wares. These two tools feed off of each other and could not exist without a deep-seated sense of integrity. What are these tools? They are as follows:


  1. Successful salespeople believe in the product or service they sell. In a majority of the cases, the amount of success an individual has in sales is directly proportionate to his or her belief in the product or service they sell. Belief translates into enthusiasm. Enthusiasm translates into certainty. Certainty translates into sales.
  2. Successful salespeople sell themselves. When a salesperson reaches an acute level of conviction about a product, the product becomes a secondary element in the sales equation. The salesperson becomes the deciding factor in the consumer's determination to buy or not. With everything else being equal, given a choice between a salesperson who exudes confidence and knowledge about a product and a salesperson who is simply desperate to make a sale, the consumer will usually choose the confident salesperson over the desperate one.


I worked in sales for years, and I observed the most successful sales people in the company consistently operate under these two principals.


Creative people who are hesitant to become an agent of commerce do so because they don't possess the "killer" instinct to make a sale.The "killer" instinct is an ineffective sales tactic. It's more likely to turn people off than to drive them to purchase.In fact, creative people naturally possess the first crucial element to being a successful salesperson: they believe in their art. And as we read previously, that belief ultimately leads to certainty. That certainty is what will convince consumers to buy your art, whether it's a book, a film, or a CD.


How does this work for online sales, when real-life, one-on-one interaction rarely comes into play? Your brand has to do the selling for you. Through blogging, online video, and social networking you can build a brand that is anchored in the same principals employed by successful salespeople. Your messaging has to reflect the same kind of authentic integrity. You have to possess that same sense of passion and knowledge about your art, about your industry, about your genre that a successful salesperson demonstrates. Remember, you're not selling your art. Ultimately, you're selling you, the artist.


If you know your art and you are enthusiastic about it, you are made for sales. If you are certain that your book or film or CD is of value to the consumer, you are made for sales. Don't fear sales because you think you'll have to check your integrity at the door in order to succeed. On the contrary, integrity sells. You were made for sales.

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