Ever since my freelance writing career launched, and with it the opportunity for public speaking gigs, I have found myself in the position of selling my wares, and it ain’t a comfortable place to be. While I can craft a decent pitch for editors, I am always loath to follow up, lest I be seen as a pest. As any successful writer/speaker will tell you, follow up is EVERYTHING. Most of the big publishing guns (the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column, for example) get many thousands of submissions every year, and the chances of rising to the top of the pile are slight indeed, without giving the gatekeepers a nudge. That’s when the polite little Catholic girl still lurking inside me steps aside and allows the brasher of my colleagues to make themselves known to Editor A or B. Which is (only) one reason why you haven’t seen my work in the NYT.
Same goes for my self-marketing as a public speaker. In a burst of ambition, I’ll come up with a glossy postcard, send it hither and yon briefly, and that’s it. As a result, I’m currently looking at a towering stack of out-of-date glossy postcards, collecting dust on my office bookshelf (and featuring a photo of me from 10 years ago to boot). That is also the bookshelf that houses MANY unpurchased copies of my four books of essays, so the entire piece of furniture is really just one big testament to my failures as a salesperson. I need to do something about this! Maybe put the books in the attic in boxes and throw away the postcards! Out of sight, out of mind!
But seriously, I do need to look at 2021 as the Year Elise Breaks Through. The pandemic has afforded me a bit more time than usual to come up with a marketing plan. I hear that lots of speakers are doing really well with Zoom engagements. And I do think my writing style, which leans towards the (very) short piece, is perfect for today’s distracted reader. One can be checking the news online, switch over to read one of my essays, and be right back on CNN in time for the next outrage!
How about this?
Greetings, Editor or Event Planner as the Case May Be!
I saw your call for pitches/am a fan of your remarkable publication/am vaguely connected to you through an acquaintance! As a writer and/or speaker, I bring many years of expertise/a fine sense of humor/inexpensive books that make great gifts! I am available throughout the Philadelphia area/nation/world on very short notice and at an extremely reasonable price! I invite you to check out my website (perfectly fine if you don’t want to) and the attached clips (again, totally your call).
I look forward to possibly hearing from you at your convenience/ at some point before my death. If I don’t, I promise never to bother you again!
PS Enjoy the enclosed FREE glossy postcards!