Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Swear I'm not Selling Soap!

My apologies to anyone that sells Amway--I'm not against it, per se, but it's not my thing. Was once; and I sucked at it and didn't get the vision of it all even if I did really like the product itself. The whole 'call everyone you know' and 'if you care about them you'll tell them about this product' just wasn't my bag.

As a writer, I'm constantly having to 'sell myself' not on a street corner or anything like that, but I do book signings, I tell people I'm a writer even though I know some of them will make squinty eyes at me. However, one thing I haven't ever done before now is try and schedule presentations.

I give a lot of them, several a month, but I am usually invited. A couple months ago I had a signing in Idaho and asked some of my mailing list people if anyone of them would like me to do a presentation in the area on my way home. I sent the request to 50 people and had two of them respond almost immediately. I ended up with a great presentation in Malad Idaho, a place I likely wouldn't have gone. The lady that set it up did a fabulous job putting it together and we had a great time.

So, with that in mind, when Julie Wright and I were planning our book tour we thought, sweet--we can do presentations! I mean, when will I ever be back in Lake Oswego Oregon again? But we'll be right there and what a fun opportunity for all of us, right. Right?

Apparently wrong.

See, this whole promotion thing is a tricky little beast and while the Idaho presentation came together for me so smoothly, these other ones...not so much. When we call the stake leaders to tell them we're going to be in town they're a little suspicious. They don't seem to believe us when we say we aren't selling books, and when we try and tell them we're great presenters, well, they are even more convinced we are coming to sell books. Maybe this is because they don't have a lot of people come present? Or maybe we waited too long to send out the dates and so it seems like we're trying to sneak in. I don't know, but either way we're selling something they don't seem to want.

Kinda like soap.

It's been rather uncomfortable and although we've managed to line up dozens of book signings, and we have a couple presentations set up, it's looking like most of the cities we'll be hunkering in overnight are a-scared of us. Rather harsh on the old self-esteem, bringing me back to those Amway days...and Xango...and pre-paid Legal...and Malaluca (sp). So, instead of presentations, Julie and I might just have to go to movies, paint each other's toe nails and do Chinese fire drills around our rental car.

Sometimes, it seems, an invitation makes all the difference.

(However, if you assumed that we had them set up, we're still looking for events in Lake Oswego, Sacramento, LA, Mesa, and Thatcher--we would love for you to save us from ourselves!


Libby's Library said...

Would you like to "present yourself" on my blog? I would love to have you...for a Q & A, or a guest post? I'll put up the info from the publisher, from both LEMON TART and ENGLISH TRIFLE.

Let me know? Thanks


Anonymous said...

Chineese Fire Drills. You're hilarious, Julie.
I'm sorry about the squinty-eyed-stares. I bet the two of you rock up a presentation. You both have so much to offer that ISN'T book-selling related.
Have a good time and pull a Becca Wilhite and paint your toenails a Bright Blue Miracle. =]

RobisonWells said...

Yeah, I hate that. That's why I refuse to bring my books even to literacy nights when we are invited. Even though I can rationalize it to myself that everything is fine--that we've been invited, and bringing books is expected--I still don't like the feeling that I'm somehow using Relief Society to sell stuff. Granted, I know that I'm more squeamish about this than most, but it just feels icky to me.

Kristina P. said...

That's frustrating! I hope they come to their senses. :)

Unknown said...

Are you willing to go as far west as Tolleson (South West Phoenix area)? If you are I will call the lady that plans stuff (Used to be called the enrichment leader) and see if our Ward would be interested.

Anonymous said...

Josi... COME TO BLANDING!!! I love you and everyone here will love you!!


C.J. said...

It is the most uncomfortable part about being a writer. I think if you do a couple the word will spread.

Julie Wright said...

Hilarious post Josi! Personally, I am not in any way against going to movies and painting toes. And it makes me laugh that RS presidents and the like are worried about self promotion. If they only knew how much we hated self promotion and really do only present on the topics at hand . . . ah well. You me and rob ought to go sailing together since we're all in the same hate-to-self-promote boat anyway.

Marion Jensen said...

I can't even sell myself when I'm supposed to be selling myself. If I had a nickel for every time I told somebody at a book signing that my book was in the library so they could try it out there first, I'd have a bucket full of nickels.

Leslee said...

To bad I'm not RS President amymore. You two could come here and present yourselves in a lovely manner and then I could write you a note telling all other RS Presidents that there is nothing to be afraid of. That you two are really harmless.

However, painting toenails does sound like fun.

alisha said...

I'm surprised you've had a hard time with Mesa. I have a friend with connections there if you want me to email her and see if she can set something up. LMK. I think my sister's MIL lives in Sacramento - let me find out.

Jenna said...

So, what would be involved in setting up a presentation? When are we talking about? What would be the subject of the presentation? Appropriate for Sunday or midweek? Youth activity? Do you need to be paid a fee? I would LOVE it if you came to my area, and I would LOVE to listen to your presentation. Can you tell me more details? What do I need to do to help you?

Oh, and I tagged you for a meme, but this is in no way blackmail. :)

Karlene said...

If I were on your book tour, I'd totally sign you up for a presentation. Can I just say that I've been to several by both of you and they were funny, clever, interesting—and totally not selling anything but a fun time. :)