The Angsty Relationship Between Writing and Sales
“Here’s what I wish could happen:
- I write a book or schedule a retreat or offer a service.
- The world comes storming to my gates to buy, attend, or work with me.
Here’s what actually happens:
- I write a book, schedule a retreat, or office a service.
- Crickets have the stage.
- I decide to promote that book, retreat, or service.
- I feel angsty and wish I didn’t have to promote my work. I do it anyway.
- A few people unsubscribe or maybe whine about ‘self-promotion.’
- I feel bad.
- I keep promoting.
I have an uneasy relationship with sales, partially because I really do wish I could just do this work for free—or barter. I’m always up for a barter especially if it involves angora rabbits. But I also have an uneasy relationship with sales because I came to writing through academic means, and academics still live, oddly, with an idea of meritocracy as the way people get recognition for what they do.
In the academic model, you get degrees, you publish articles that (sadly) almost no one reads, and you get a job that you can never lose. Most of the world does not work this way. In fact, most of the world is not a meritocracy at all. It’s … well, pick your metaphor—battlefield, dog fight, chaotic mass of swirl. For me, I like to see the world as a field of wildflowers. (Stick with me. I’m not going to go too hippie dippy.)”