Skip to content

On Being a Carnie Huckster

I was in a Facebook group discussion recently, and the topic turned to the idea of advertising e-books. The gentlemen in question lamented that he wasn’t getting noticed because the market was saturated, or something along those lines. I offered my commentary (shocking, I know) that in the Science Fiction and Fantasy marketplace, the best way to sell books is to get out from behind the computer and meet fans at conventions.

His response was that he shouldn’t have to be a “carnie huckster” to sell books. He’s an introvert, and it’s “too hard” for him to look strangers in the eye and talk to them.

(In all honesty, I know he was speaking out of frustration, so I’m not super chuffed at the name-calling)
And secondly – this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am an Introvert.

That’s right kids, I’m an INFJ. I love staying at home, I love sweatpants (#campaignfornopants). I don’t make friends easily, and the ones I do have, I keep for life. I hate crowds, I hate parties, and I hate being social.

But you know what I do love?

Eating. Internet. Not filing for bankruptcy.

Also – Not having to work in a job that I hate.

Which is why I get over whatever fears and hatreds that I have about going to conventions, and get out there and sell my damned books. As with most fears in life, the thing we are afraid if is usually not as bad as we made it out to be (hello lessons of Empath). 100% of the people I have met at conventions have been nothing but friendly and nice. Even the ones who don’t even take a card are pleasant.

And yes – sometimes it doesn’t work out (hello Book Signing). Sometimes I take a hit. But I always learn something, and I keep pressing on.

It can definitely be hard to stand in front of a table and talk to strangers. You are putting yourself out there and there’s the very VERY real chance that you will fail – you won’t sell any books, you won’t sell enough books to break even.

But the fear of failure shouldn’t prevent you from trying. Hence my favorite quote lately:

What I’ve learned is success is 99% hard work and 1% luck – and to get lucky, you have to put yourself in the right place to get lucky. I didn’t get to where I am today professionally because of serendipity – I’m the one who put myself in the speech writing class, resulting in my selection as the GMU commencement speaker, resulting in my first job. In my second and current jobs, I invested in the right relationships and volunteered for the right projects that put me in a position to be successful. To some people, that may seem like luck – but it was all hard work, long hours, and calculated steps.

Really, then, Success is 99% hard work, 0.99% putting yourself in the right place, and 0.01% luck.

See, doesn’t that seem much more doable?

Now, get out there and sell some damned books. You know I’m rooting for you!

But not if you put on a clown costume. Keep that mess to yourself, you damned carnie huckster.

Published inPublishing Schtuff
%d bloggers like this: