$harpen Your $ales Tools: Part 2

Beth Fowler headshotDo you want to earn more writing dollars? Do want to rise from hobby to business status IRS-wise? If you answered “Yes!” then it’s time to sharpen your sales tools.

Here’s Part 2

Tool 6: Persist.

Sometimes editors reject articles for reasons having nothing to do with quality or suitability. Let’s say you’ve submitted an article about the therapeutic value of animal companions to a magazine for nursing home administrators. The editor shoots back a form letter: “While we’ve given your article consideration, it doesn’t meet our editorial needs at this time.” At this time!

Perhaps animals starred in a centerfold spread less than two years ago, or headquarters overhauled the magazine to cover administrative topics exclusively, or budget shrinkage precludes compensating freelancers, or the editor’s dog crunched its final biscuit, making a story about comfort creatures discomfiting. Persistent writers try another time.

Tool 7: Become multitalented.

Anne Lamott’s first novel was published in 1980. More novels and memoirs followed. She wrote columns for magazines and then, “Someone offered me a gig teaching a writing workshop, and I’ve been teaching writing classes ever since.” And writing.

Tool 8: Create a business plan.

Dynamic plans lead to dynamic results. Writers’ plans include income goals, milestone goals, and quantity goals. Overall goals are supported with specific actions to maintain loyal customers and cultivate new customers.

Tool 9: Produce systematically.

Novelist Wilbur Smith says, “If you just let it happen, then it’s not going to happen.” To make it happen, Smith gives himself a date on which to start producing a new bestseller.

A production schedule is a “to do” list with due dates. Coordinate the production schedule to avoid bottlenecks, missed deadlines and downtime. Track queries and manuscripts sent, accepted and rejected; dollars spent, owed, and earned.

Tool 10: State your USP.

Marketing wizards bandy around the term USP. Writers, too, can announce their Unique Selling Points by proposing articles with unconventional angles, having access to meaty quotes and new research data, highlighting unique qualifications and experience promising an insider’s view, taking a contrarian’s stance and busting popularly held myths.

Tool 11: Negotiate.

Don’t freeze out non-paying publications. Ask for a free advert to be published in the issue with your article. The addendum “Email the author to find out about writers’ workshops” is fair consideration in lieu of dollars, as is “This short story is excerpted from the novel of the same title.”

When a prospect asks, “How much do you charge for an article?” reply, “I recently received X dollars for an article of the same length” or cite fees from Writer’s Market or tell the editor you’ll get back to her. Find out what that and similar publications pay freelancers. Ask for additional pay for photos. Retain as many rights as possible. Have copyright revert to you after publication so you may sell reprint rights.

Editors and readers are customers. You’re a salesperson. Sharpen your sales tools and watch your writing dollars grow.



Article by Beth Fowler, author of the beloved coming-of-age novel “Ken’s War.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.


 ken's war coverWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide. Shop here: Ken’s War

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.





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