Advice for a writer…and a life

Without thinking about it or even willing for it to happen, probably the most important thing for gaining my degree of success as an author has been…..making friends. Practicing friendly connections–talking with other authors, and by that I really mean listening to them as well. And how about sincerely thanking people for help, whatever that help might have led to. Plus so much more.

Here’s an example. Since we shopped there regularly and he was most often visible in the store, years ago we got to know the manager of a discount grocery store affiliated with Arkansas’ Harps Grocery chain. Eventually he began coming to chat with us briefly when he saw us in the store. We often mentioned positive things we noticed about the store’s products and its employees. When he learned I was the author of a number of books identified as Ozarks Essays and also cozy mystery stories set in the Ozarks, the manager eventually invited me to come to the store on some weekend and set up to sell copies of my books…an interesting experiment.

The eventual book selling event turned out to be a huge success. I was placed near the store’s entrance and greeted all customers as they came in to shop. Many were interested in my book display and stopped to learn more. Some of them bought a book or two, and we had made arrangements for the books to be entered in the store’s product records so they checked through just like whatever other products a customer had selected. I kept my own records of sales and filled out a professional-looking invoice to leave in the store and the store eventually sent me a check for my portion of the sales. Both the store manager and the Nehrings were pleased with this experiment…a store greeter who had books to sell. The manager suggested I contact the main office of the chain to see about having sales events in other Harps stores.

Many years later, I am still setting up on occasional Fridays and Saturdays to sell copies of my books in various Harps Grocery Stores in my area. And all because of a friendship with the manager of one store.

How about it? In any profession where you have a product to sell, how many friendships have you developed with people, not because you are thinking initially about a business relationship, but just because you are acting in a friendly manner toward the people you meet wherever you are.


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