ON SELLING BOOKS…JUST A LITTLE ENCOURAGING MESSAGE TO MOTIVATE YOUR BUTT
I can’t stop selling for the life of me. Really, it’s like I was born to sell. I do it with everyone, everywhere, at all times. I used to be ashamed of it. I used to not even understand what it was I was doing. When I was a little girl, I learned to survive by talking people into selling them on the idea of not hurting me. I had to. So I practiced it every day, from very early on. Then, when I understood I could make money with it, I was told it was an egoistic, capitalistic desire that was shameful, and I shouldn’t be selfish, and I’d never be able to do it, and I must be altruistic and self-sacrificing, and on and on and on, the glorious bullshit of patriarchy teaching me to be subservient and non-ambitious and mediocre and quiet and compliant.
Several times in my life I tried breaking out of it. With jobs as an architectural student in Moscow (I got a job by selling my non-existent skills with my friend’s portfolio as I had none at the time, and I beat all other applicants, but I was a single mom and I had to survive), and then as an interior designer in Seattle (got a job right out of the BFA show by selling myself without knowing much about what I was doing), and then later with my start-up (again, wrote a business plan without understanding what it was but spinning such a good story that it won a prize at the UW Business Plan Competition), and finally with my books (once again, I did my first sales on instinct and often shrunk back, feeling ashamed and trashing my own work).
It’s only in these last several months that I finally stopped being ashamed of it—my ability to sell. It’s only now that I saw how all this negative talk was happening in my head, years and years of conditioning. Finally gone. Finally DEAD.