Learning the Business Side of Selling Your Art is Hard by Beth Barany
“Learning the business side of selling your art is hard,” they say.
An artist can’t learn business.
An artist doesn’t want to learn how to do business. Their personality isn’t suited for business, and you can’t make money being a writer, being an artist.
These are some of the misconceptions that I was brought up with. And yes, they are indeed misconceptions.
Here’s how I know.
Writing fiction is not easy. It’s taken me years how to learn to write a good story, compelling characters, interesting plot, and put it all together in a way that keeps a reader captivated until The End.
When I had finished my first novel Henrietta the Dragon Slayer and I wanted to query agents and editors, but I didn’t know how to write a query letter. Just the idea of writing a query letter was daunting.
How did I fit my 230 page young adult fantasy novel into a paragraph or two to tell a complete stranger about it, so that they would want to read more and potentially buy it?
To learn how, I went to a workshop by very experienced writer, Bella Andre. She taught us how to tease out the main, few important details that go into an elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is the body and the heart of a query letter. She gave us a structure and a process.
That afternoon, I wrote my first pitch for the book, which eventually transformed into the current back of the book blurb I use today. When she helped us step-by-step craft our elevator pitches opened, my eyes were open.
It was quite painful though. No one likes to see a complex piece of art reduced to 30 words. My book was over 63,000 words and now it was 30. I didn’t feel quite right about it. I didn’t like how it gave my story a different feel, but I understood one thing. It wasn’t the story. It was the hook.
Once I understood that, once I understood that this short elevator pitch is just designed to get someone to say, “Yes send me pages,” or eventually, “Yes. I want to read more.” That’s all it is.
A query letter is actually a selling document, so is an elevator pitch. It’s just designed to get people to take a closer look and voilà.
That’s the first step of sales: getting people to take a closer look. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had learned my first sales tool as a writer.
Selling Your Art
If a writer can learn how to write a novel, edit a novel, get it to form that’s ready for the readers, create a compelling read, something the readers can’t put down — which took me years and years and hundreds and hundreds of hours — then they can learn how to write material that will then sell their books: elevator pitches, blurbs, high-concept pitches, requests for review, etc.
Authors can learn how to market and sell their work. It’s just another skill set.
Hi! I’m Beth Barany, an award-winning novelist, master neurolinguistic programming practitioner, experienced writing teacher, and certified creativity coach for writers.
Through my online school, programs, workshops and consultations, I specialize in helping writers experience clarity, so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.
All my courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. You can check out my free course “Writer Discovery Mini-Course” here.
Any questions? Just ask.