Mmmmmm….Thin Mints, Samoas, and S’mores. Your saliva glands are working overtime as you read this. It’s Girl Scout cookie season and you can’t turn a corner without running into a young entrepreneur eager for you to buy a box, or two, or three. But, what does this have to do with writing?
As a Girl Scout Leader for 12 years, one of the things we teach young Brownies during cookie season is to know your products, and then to ask for the sale. No one will buy those delicious Tagalongs if you don’t ask. We also teach them to have responses for rejections. It’s all part of the Girl Scout motto of “Be Prepared.”
I took those lessons to heart recently when my book, Big Sur to Big Basin, was being reprinted. I received a call from a reporter from the Bakersfield Californian who wanted to interview me about this coffee table book.
After several questions, I turned the tables, and pitched the reporter a sidebar that readers might enjoy. I had outlined a story, “Top Ten Practically Free Things to do on the Monterey Peninsula.” But, I had never done much more than jotted the ideas down. The reporter said his editor loved those kind of stories and, within a day or two, I had a paying gig. I didn’t have to send out multiple queries, research potential publications, or figure out who would approve the story at the newspaper. I certainly didn’t have to prove myself as a writer.
I was able to take the work done on my book, and parlay it into another sale with minimal effort, something we all aspire to do as writers. I was prepared, knew my product, and asked for the sale, like a good Girl Scout.
Now, where did I put that box of Thin Mints?
Pamela V. Cain is the author of Big Sur to Big Basin, published by Chronicle Books. She has written for health magazines and weekly newspapers as well as had a career in broadcast journalism for 15 years, which included producing award-winning newscasts and documentaries. Cain is now onto her second career as a financial advisor, and when she retires will find new outlets to blend both careers.