A project of Tim Grahl

YOUR FIRST 1000 COPIES: the step-by-step guide to marketing your book by Tim Grahl

What is self promotion?

“What about that one?”

The salesman’s smile faded just a bit as I pointed across the parking lot.

My wife and I were at the car dealership with our three-month- old son preparing to make the decision that would officially crown us as parents.

We were buying a minivan.

When we first arrived and began walking around the lot, the salesman couldn’t tell us enough good things about the brand new models that had just hit their lot. They looked great and had all the features we were looking for with the exception of the hefty monthly payment.

That’s when I glanced across the parking lot and saw a few of the last year’s models and asked our salesman about them. He reluctantly led us over and allowed us to take a look. He didn’t have a lot to say all of a sudden as we inspected the vehicles. From what we could tell, last year’s models were almost identical to this year’s models, except they were $10,000 cheaper.

The purchase decision was a no-brainer: We chose a last year model, which fit much better into our budget while not compromising on comfort or quality. To this day, our minivan has been a wonderful vehicle.

But what was the salesman’s problem?

And why is it that this is the picture that so often comes to mind when authors start thinking about marketing?

Why don’t we like the sleazy car salesman?

What exactly is it that turns us off?

We could discuss his sales tactics—the lies and half-truths he told. We could talk about his pushiness and attempted hard close. But all of that boils down to one simple fact: He wasn’t looking out for our best interest.

Trust is a fundamental part of any friendship. My best friends are those that tell me the truth whether I want to hear it or not. Friends are people that are willing to tell me when I’m making stupid decisions as well as encourage me onward when I’m making smart ones. A friend has your best interest at heart, always.

What if a friend was helping you buy a new car? How would the experience be different than with the sleazy salesmen?

Would a friend try to talk you into buying a car you can’t afford? Would a friend stretch the truth to trick you into a brand new model you don’t need? A friend might get pushy, but only when she thinks you’re about to make a mistake.

The fundamental difference between someone you trust and someone you don’t is your belief in whether or not they are looking out for your best interest above their own. The bottom line is plain: When someone isn’t looking out for your best interest, that means they’re only self-promoting their own.

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