Are you ready for your next lesson? Hopefully, you’ve internalized the MOM RULE! If you want to UNSELL yourself, then don’t tell your Mom what you do. She’ll brag and sell you to fame. That’s not what we want to do. We want to be unknown, unsellable, and overlooked.
Rule #2 for unselling yourself is:
Don’t enter contests
Contests are bad! They put your creative work in the limelight to be judged and noticed by others. You don’t want to do that.
To illustrate this point, I’ll tell about a contest I entered for a 600-word story. I spent a couple weeks working on drafts until I had a 597-word story titled PREY. It had drama, a bit of characterization, and clutching climax (maybe not a solution, but I would have needed 8 more words for that—AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. THE END—and I only had 3 to spare).
I went to the submission guidelines and found that I had to upload my story (which was 1.5 pages long) and place it on SELL EVERYWHERE (or something like that) to submit my entry. It was their tricky way of getting you to learn how to publish to official channels. I hesitantly did this, and was appalled to see that my BOOK? (it is questionable to call a story that is only one page a book!) was priced at $8.99. Yikes! An e-book of it was 99 cents. That’s a little better. But wait!
It was one and a half pages long! What does a one and a half page book even look like? I mean, sure, it’s probably a little more than that since they throw in a title page and blank pages at the end and maybe even a copyright page if I’m lucky, but that can only put it up to maybe 8 pages. Maybe Lulu.com laminates the pages for that price. I certainly hope so.
The contest promoters encouraged you to market your submission and sell as many copies of it as you could, since it was now listed on the internet—the gateway to the world. They wanted you to Facebook and Twitter all your friends: “Go buy my book. It’s cool. You know me. This is cool! Come on. Buy my dang book!” Basically they wanted you to break all the rules of unselling yourself. Evil!
Contest officials rubbed their hands together in glee hoping that everyone would be so star-struck to see that they had an official page on the internet where people could buy their books that they would call their moms and say, “Mom, I wrote a BOOK? Go buy it.”
And of course, moms would. Remember Rule #1.
I didn’t call my Mom. I knew Rule #1. But I had broken the second vital rule of unselling…and these were the consequences I suffered. I began having nightmares after hitting that submit button.
1st nightmare: Some gullible Joe out there that I don’t know from Adam came across my BOOK? and bought it. He said, “What the hay! I’m bored and need something to read. This author has an exotic name, so they must be good.” When they finished 1 page later, they ranted and screamed and gave me a 1 star review on Amazon.
2nd worse nightmare: Someone I KNEW happened to google my name and saw that I had a BOOK? for sale. It looked all official, and $8.99 wasn’t too pricey. So my friend from high school that I hadn’t seen in 25 years bought my 1 page BOOK? When they finished it 1 page later, they unfriended me on Facebook! Agh! The shame!
3rd even worse nightmare: A guy named Joe surfed the internet and came across my book and thought that the title PREY was about communicating with God (he’s a gullible Joe that can’t spell). In my dream, this Joe sent me a scathing email after reading my 1 page BOOK? that didn’t bring him any closer to God and accused me of tricking him and wasting his money!
I woke up sobbing, and knew I had to take my BOOK? offline and unsell myself again. To heck with the contest.
Even though I was very curious as to what my 1-1/2 page BOOK? actually looked like, I had learned my lesson from trying to sell myself the hard way and knew better than to buy my own book. The fame might have gone to my head. And it was already filled with plaguing nightmares.
That, my friends, is why you should never enter tricky contests that try to promote you. You will only suffer pain, humiliation, and endless nightmares. Trust me! It’s not worth it. You can unsell yourself…you can. Just think positively…and don’t enter in the first place. It’s like the alcoholic’s first drink…DON’T PARTAKE!
As Forest Gump would say: That’s all I have to say about that.
Stay tuned for the final tip later this week. This was already too long (I blame it on the nightmares)