The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Kim Staflund Again

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Kim Staflund Again

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Summary: Sue's always been just a little bit keen to avoid the limelight, so when Kim Staflund's latest book, Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors landed on her desk she devoured it and had quite a few questions to ask the author when she popped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: 24 September 2015
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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Sue's always been just a little bit keen to avoid the limelight, so when Kim Staflund's latest book, Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors landed on her desk she devoured it and had quite a few questions to ask the author when she popped into Bookbag Towers.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Kim Staflund: I imagine the readers of this book as already published authors who are disillusioned by low book sales. Some of these individuals are self-published while others published their books through more traditional methods. All of them are introverted individuals who, perhaps, never thought of themselves as sales people nor their books as their businesses; but, they’re now realizing that something must be done to get those sales rolling. The question is: what?

  • BB: What inspired you to write Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors?

KS: In my last two books, I discussed a lot of “extroverted” methods authors can use to improve the sale of their books. Many authors seemed to resist this advice with shy comments such as, “Well, you can do that, but I can’t,” and the like. I came to realize that these people viewed me as an extrovert; but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m an inherently introverted individual who learned how to sell. It’s as simple as that. And, I promise you this much: if I can learn to do it, then you can learn to do it. (I used to be super shy when I was a kid, believe it or not.)

  • BB: You mention that you're introverted, but you always appear to be super confident. How do you do it? (And if you can bottle it, can I have a gallon, please?)

KS: As I mention in my book, I started my career over 20 years ago in a very introverted role—as an accounts receivable and inventory control clerk with a small literary book publisher. Initially, I was thrilled by the opportunity to work for them and learn the industry from the inside out because I was convinced it would lead to the achievement of my life-long goal of becoming a bestselling author. Long story short, I quickly learned the realities of the industry and what it truly takes for authors to be successful. My own disillusionment led to me leaving that literary press and getting an advertising sales job with a daily newspaper where I learned a new skillset (and mindset) that would later lead to the achievement of my goal.

I’ve worked in some type of sales capacity ever since then; and, although I’m far from a natural sales person, I greatly appreciate this career experience and education. Maybe my extroverted “Type A” friends have influenced me even more than I realized, and that’s why I come across as “super confident” (to borrow your phrase). But I think hearing “no” 15 to 20 times per week versus hearing “yes” only once or twice, every single week of my life for the past 20-some years, has probably given me a pretty thick skin, too. Very little fazes me anymore.

Going into sales was uncomfortable in the beginning; but I know I’m a better person for it. No matter what you do in life, selling is a part of it.

  • BB: I wonder how authors cope when they have to do the rounds of books signings, literary festivals and launch parties. Do you really think that authors can sell their book with just the six hours a week that you suggest?

KS: Yes. Absolutely.

  • BB: Do you apply the principles in Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors to your own books?

KS: Yes. I use all of these introverted techniques to sell my own books all over the world. I also use other more extroverted techniques, such as bookstore signings/launches and trade shows, to boost my local sales.

  • BB: Are writers put off writing their book because they really can't face all the brouhaha which they believe goes with publication?

KS: That’s probably one of the things writers fear, yes. That’s why I devoted an entire chapter of this book to discussing (and conquering) our fears as authors. Everyone has fears; but, perhaps, many of these fears are that much more prevalent with introverted people than with extroverts because of our natural tendency to retreat from decidedly public situations, after short periods of time, if we’re unfamiliar with the people in the room. It’s common for us to withdraw even when no obvious threat is present. When it comes down to solitude versus unknown group settings, solitude is where we feel most comfortable, isn’t it? Not only do I acknowledge these types of fears in this book, but I also do my best to show introverts how we can work with our solitary nature to sell more books rather than avoiding the very actions that could bring us success as authors.

  • BB: If you had to give the introverted author just one piece of advice, what would it be?

KS: Get in the driver’s seat. Put it into drive. Take your foot off the break. You’ll be fine.

  • BB: I'm always impressed by the clarity of your writing: it's just so easy to read! How did you master this skill?

KS: I always strive to “communicate” ahead of “impress” with my writing, if that makes sense. I’d rather say it succinctly than dress it up with a bunch of flowery words and imagery because I think that’s far more helpful to my readers. Maybe that’s my advertising background coming out. I have several years of experience.

  • BB: You run a successful publishing business and you're a best-selling author. What do you do for fun?

KS: I find writing very fun and therapeutic, so that’s my number one hobby. I also love hiking, mountain climbing (scrambling), canoeing, biking, and skiing because I live very near the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

  • BB: What's next for Kim Staflund?

KS: I just had a quick read of my interview with you from last year. I would say my plans are still the same as they were then, but with one more goal added. In addition to helping authors publish professional quality books, it is also my intention to help them sell those books. I want Polished Publishing Group (PPG) to be a full-service book publishing company that helps authors with everything: publishing, distribution, sales, advertising, marketing, publicity, the works. And we’ll help with audiobooks, ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers. That is my intention.

  • BB: Thanks for chatting to us, Kim - I'm sure that a lot of people will benefit from what you have to say.

You can read more about Kim Staflund here.

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