How many sales have you missed out on because you didn’t ask people to “Buy my book, please”? How many times have you failed to make a friend simply because you didn’t ask them if they wanted to hang out or chat? How many job opportunities have passed you by because you didn’t put yourself forward?

Most people want to avoid being “pushy” or going the “hard sell” route, especially when it comes to marketing themselves as authors. The “soft sell” route of marketing or promoting your work is definitely the better choice. After all, that’s how you make friends and get people to like YOU, which will in turn encourage them to like your product.

But a wise woman once said:  “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” ― Nora Roberts

It’s tough to find the middle ground between the “soft sell” and just plain “wussing out”. There comes a time when you just have to ask, regardless of how you think people will perceive you. You’ll often find that people will have no problem doing what you’re asking, and the only reason they haven’t done it so far is because they didn’t know you wanted them to.

For example, look at email marketing. If you never ask your blog readers or followers for their emails, how are you going to get them? You may worry that your regular emails will annoy them, but for the most part, they’re willing to give you their emails because they like what you have to say. It’s a very small thing to them, much smaller than it may seem to you.

Or how about selling your books? You may be talking about the book to all of your friends, social media contacts, and coworkers, but if you never say, “Hey, why not go and buy my book?”, few of them ever will. You need to ask, and it may not be as big a deal or as terrifying as you might imagine.

So here’s my advice: ask someone to do something today. It doesn’t matter what it is, but step out of your comfort zone and ask your friends to “Like” your Facebook author Page, “Follow” you on Twitter, or input their email address into your list. It’s going to feel odd, but once you get used to it, it will be a lot easier and feel more natural. Eventually, you’ll find fun and clever ways to do it, and it won’t be a “big” thing any longer.

I’m going to live my own words today:

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