Comic-con is coming this week, also affectionately known as nerd summer camp, and with that comes hundreds of thousands descending on San Diego to pitch their wares, meet with publishers about jobs, and talk about their work. Yes, yes there is amazing stuff to see. More importantly, there is amazing stuff to sell.
And many people down there are thinking one thing: Fuck. I have to talk to people all day?! I can’t do that. What if they reject me? What if they hate me? What if they punch me in the neck and scream “SHAKIRA!” as they run away like Zoidberg?
Well if that last thing happens please catch it on video first of all, but I totally understand that anxiety.
It’s really tough for artists to pitch their product. It’s a little piece of our souls we’re baring for people. When they reject our work it’s hard not to take it personally. It’s even hard for me and I’m a master at pitching my books.
The rejection wears on me like it wears on you. It’s tiring to fail over and over again.
Last year we sold 350 units, which is awesome, to a total of 160,000 people in attendance, which is a horrible ratio.
That means just a little over 159,000 people rejected us.
I don’t care how good you are as a salesperson or how confident you are in your work, 159,000 rejections in five days is enough to bring you low.
But if you have the right mindset, you can keep going. Mindset is everything when it comes to sales.
I’m going to give you the strategy I use to get my mind right even when rejection is everywhere. I ask myself three questions all day every day when I’m at a con.
These are the same three questions I’ll ask myself this week while I’m tabling at SDCC in Small Press Booth N-2 (come on by for a free button!)
I ask myself these questions:
- Do I believe my product can change lives?
It doesn’t have to cure cancer, but do I believe that my work can enrich souls for the better? Yes I do.
This is the most important question because it means you are morally obligated to tell as many people about it as possible in order to be a good person, and most of us think of ourselves as good people.
2. Have I given everything I can to make this product the best it can be?
It might not be the best product on the market, but it is the absolute best product I could make with my skills at the time? Yes. For sure. I give my all to every one of my products.
If you made an excellent product to the best of your ability, then it is salable. If it is salable, then it will sell if enough people know about it.
3. Do people enjoy my product?
It doesn’t have to be thousands of people, but does even one person enjoy what I have to say? Has even one person told me how much they liked what I do? Yes.
If people like your work, then you can scale than with enough people. Not everybody will like it, but if you can focus on the victories then you can keep going. If one person liked it 100 people can like it, and if 100 people like it 1,000 people might like it. From one you can build an empire.
Those three questions might not seem like much, but they are everything. In the face of rejection, if you can remind yourself that your product is good, people like it, and you believe in it then the rejection doesn’t sound so bad.
In the face of that kind of adversity, it’s easy to keep going because you know success is right around the corner.
Come find Wannabe Press in the Small Press Area, booth N-2 this weekend and pick up your free button and indie passport!
Russell Nohelty is a publisher, writer, and consultant. He runs Wannabe Press (www.wannabepress.com) and hosts the twice-weekly podcast The Business of Art (www.thebusinessofart.us) If you like cool shit, then check out his stuff.