I have my wonderful friend Candace White to thank for this. (All you writers, artists and self-employed folks who have been frustrated in the past about getting insurance ought to call Candace. She’ll call you “y’all” and offer you vodka and make you tortilla soup and coconut cake and when all the important stuff is done than you might get to talking about insurance.)
Candace and I were talking about writing today and Candace, saleswoman extraordinaire, told me about a “thing” they always say in selling. She had previously told me a “thing” they say in sales about rejection that was pretty good (you wallow in it for five minutes, then say, “next!” and move on) so I was all ears.
Here it is:
If you are telling, you are not selling.
Pretty good, huh? Candace’s point was that this “thing” is exactly the same in writing. If you are telling the story, you are not selling it to the reader in terms of emotional involvement. It is remarkably similar to “show, don’t tell.” If you are showing, you are selling the reader. If you are telling, odds are good that you are not.
I’m currently finishing a book by Juliana Baggott and I’m about 50 pages from the end. I’ve been enjoying the novel all along, but I have to tell you–I’m getting a little frustrating because now it feels like everything is telling. She’s not selling it to me, folks, and it is only because I am at the end that I am still reading.
So, remember, if you are telling, you are not selling.