I am a confident individual. I grew up surrounded by supportive parents, teachers, coaches and members of my church. I am blessed with an extended family that rallies around a cause like no one else can. I found personal success in athletics and group achievements in the music world. I had close friends. I earned multiple degrees that resulted in earning a good job. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally and children who rush to hug me when I enter a room. (Trust me, I know the drop everything and hug mom routine won't last forever, but it sure is nice for the time being.)
Life has been sooooooo good to me. And so, when I find myself in a situation that I cannot tackle on my own, I ASK for help. I ASK, certain the help with come. Life has taught me that it will.
When I ASK for help, that answer isn’t always yes. But you know what? No doesn’t hurt. “No” doesn’t put you any worse off that you were before you ASKED.
Will you sell my book in your store?
Can you help me improve the SEO on my website?
No response to my request.
Can I be a part of your regional book festival?
No. You are looking for bigger name authors.
That’s okay. Maybe next time. (Really, maybe next time! I applied again this year!)
Totally cool, Midwest, up and coming artist, will you illustrate a graphic novel version of my YA sci-fi novel?
The magnitude of this project and my non-existent budget doesn’t work for you?
No worries. Thanks for your time.
Grant application accepted? No. Endorsement solidified? No. Agent acceptance? No. Publishing contract? No. Crazy, random, bookmobile business venture? No. No. No.
No harm. No foul.
Even better than no harm, is that by ASKING you have opened the door to a future with that individual, company, or organization. Maybe next time they’ll say yes. Or, maybe you can offer to do something for them, and THEN, if you ASK again later, they will say yes.
Sometimes when you ASK, they don’t say yes, but they don’t say no either.
Here’s an example. Once Upon a Book Club is a new(ish) interactive reading subscription. For a fee, each participant receives a book box each month that includes a novel and three to five gifts that connect to the story. Each gift is marked with a page number, telling you when to open it. The entire operation is simply brilliant. And so much fun. Just 6 months into their entrepreneurship, Once Upon a Book Club was up to 1,000 subscribers. I wrote to Michelle, the owner, telling her about my book Champion Chocolatier. It would be a perfect quick and light read for December I told her. When she responded that I should send it her way for consideration I bought and wrapped the presents she could include. I included receipts, telling her where she could find each item and also what each item cost. My goal was to make it as easy as possible for her to say yes. I asked, I mailed, and I waited. She said, “no thank you.” The book was too short for her collection. But, did I want her to do a few shout outs about my book on social media (to her almost 3,000 followers)? Yes, please! A no, with a positive twist!
And then, sometimes, you ask and the answer is yes. A blessed and glorious yes.
Greetings geocaching.com, hub of all geocaching activity, will you sell my book in your online story that boasts one million visitors a month? Yes? Heck yeah! (This isn’t 100% official, but it’s looking reaaaallly good.)
Hello, fancy pants hotel downtown (that was just rated the #2 hotel in the NATION!), do you want to partner for an event? I will read and sell books. You can serve your delicious cocoa and heavenly chocolate concoctions. It will be a great way to broaden our audiences, not to mention a wonderfully fun way spend an evening. I wrote them a professional letter, asked to speak directly to the event coordinator, and dropped it off with my book. I followed up with an email a week later. Guess what? They said yes. The event is tomorrow, Thursday January, 26 at The Charmant Hotel, 6:30-8 pm. If you are in the La Crosse Area, I’d love for you to join us!
One more. Good afternoon ladies at the Department of Public Instruction Expo booth at the state reading convention. I am an author you have likely never heard of. But I’d love to help you out and present at your spring young author’s fairs. Here is my information and a copy of my books. I look forward to hearing from you. That was February 2016. In April of 2017 I will be the featured author at two of their events.
Ask. It takes a little courage. It takes a little practice. It takes a little imagination. But when you ask, you open yourself, your career and your world up to endless possibilities. Open you mind to asking. And then get ready for the fun.