When I was in 3rd grade, I was pudgy and had a classic bowl home-haircut and I was in Camp Fire. Camp Fire is like Co-Ed Girl Scouts, except it ends up being all girls anyway, because the boys all join Boy Scouts.
In Camp Fire you volunteer and earn badges and sing songs and go on camp outs. You do not sell cookies. Cookies are what Girl Scouts sell.
In Camp Fire, you sell candy.
When I first started in Camp Fire the mint patties were incredible. My perception might be off, since I was 8, but I’m pretty sure each mint was the size of my hand and there were a zillion in each box. Over time, I noticed the plastic trays started to take up more room in the package as the actual mints got smaller and fewer.
But let’s skip past my early skepticism about commercial food packaging. That isn’t what this post is about. This post is about sales.
I hated selling those mints. I hated standing outside the local supermarket and asking people to buy Camp Fire mints. I hated going door-to-door. I hated asking my teachers and my parent’s co-workers to buy a box. I dreaded selling those packages of chocolate covered mint patties – a product that practically sold itself.
When I was 16, I got a job stocking candles and scanning Papasan chairs at Pier One Imports. The idea was to sell the stuff Pier One sold. At the time, I didn’t really get that. I thought my job was to help people solve their problems. When a customer came in looking for a particular rug, I recommended one I had seen at Pottery Barn that would meet their needs perfectly. That didn’t go over so well.
We were encouraged by management to sign people up for the Pier One credit card. We got a full sized Snicker’s bar for every customer we convinced to sign up. I didn’t get many candy bars.
I lasted 3 months.
I acknowledge that the skill of selling things is both necessary and beneficial in many contexts. I’m not anti-sales in some kind of a political way. I just loathe asking people to buy shit. Hate, hate, hate it. Not good at it, don’t like it, never will, have since I was a kid. It’s part of my DNA. If I had to work on commission I’d starve to death.
So back to our story. Eventually, I quit Camp Fire.
My mom made me call up my troop leader and explain my decision. Her point of view was that I had committed to the group, and if I wanted out, it was all on me.
I made the call, one small scared little girl calling up her big, grown-up mentor of a troop leader. I was terrified that I was letting people down. But then the deed was done and I was out, and I was so relieved.
I never had to sell anything else as long as I lived.
It’s nice to imagine that people can change, but fundamentally most of us are the same people we were at 8. I certainly am, and I still hate selling shit.
So please accept my thank you, dear readers. I have, over the past many months, been way outside my comfort zone in trying to sell you my book. There have been sneak-peak posts and Facebook shares and all manner of promotional stuff that the Norwegian in me considers a mass of indiscrete braggadocio.
Through this process you have been kind, and patient, and supportive. You have shared my posts, told your friends, given the thumbs up on social media, and promised to come out to my book-signing events. Thank you. I am more grateful than you will ever know.
And so, it is with moderate pride and great fear that I tell you: today, officially, my book is for sale everywhere good books are sold. If you pre-ordered on Amazon, your copy of The Hands-On Home should be in your hands by the end of the day.
If you haven’t ordered The Hands-On Home, well, I think you’ll like it, and I think you should buy it, and honestly it’s way more useful than Camp Fire mints.
That’s all the sales pitch I got.
I love you guys. Thank you.
Mary Hall says
I bought it, and you didn’t even have to sell it that hard.,.unless you want to count having to put out awesome posts for the past several years which totally made me a fan of Northwest Edible Life and convinced me that I couldn’t live without your book. But, that was all subconscious marketing and it worked like a charm.
See, you’ve refined your sales tactics over the years!
Your blog and writing sells itself!
Also, I am with you on despising selling things. I also think it is abyssmal that ‘we’ put our kids outside of grocery stores to sell their group’s crap. There’s got to be a better way.
Emily M. says
Congrats, Erica! I’ll be watching out for the mail/UPS truck all day today. Can’t wait to get my copy. I feel the same exact way about selling stuff, and I could write a small novel on the subject. I’ll spare you. Suffice to say-it’s HARD.
So, I am obsessively checking Amazon’s tracking system so I know when my book gets to my house. I have so much to do tonight – so I think I will be up way late. I am SO thrilled to support your project. I am absolutely convinced it is going to become one of the staple books of our home. Congrats!!!
OMG I totally feel your pain. The only thing worse than me working in sales is maybe me trying to do improv. But your book (and all the hard work you’ve done) is worth it! Eagerly anticipating the mail truck, can’t wait to read it 🙂 I’ll be sure to review it on Goodreads when I’m finished.
Doan worry about the sales pitch.
You have a million dollar balance in the bank of good will.
Your enthusiasms have enriched my life.
Please keep on keeping on !
Ha! Yeah, I’m the same way… And you know what, I would definitely value solving problems over selling me stuff I don’t need! The people I hire to work in my home and my favorite places to shop are more about “customer service” than “sales”… Your website is a very unique, lovely, informative, beneficial community resource. I highly value the “service”, so the “sales” takes care of itself… I’ll buy your stuff because A) I want the service to stay around, so need to do my part to help that, and B) well, I loved the garden planner, the book is sure to be awesome!
Oh, yeah, and about that Facebook message… I’m obviously not used to the new messenger crap on Facebook (I went on Facebook for you!! I’m never ever ever on Facebook, but I was because you said to watch for book promotion info!) I ventured on, tried to post a question to your timeline or whatever they’re calling it these days, and accidentally send you a private message. Not sure about you, but my phone alerts me when I get those–so I was like “crap!! I just bugged her and interrupted her and she doesn’t know who in the world I am!” So I ran away from Facebook screaming, lol. I got your reply though, but I was too chicken to reply. So here’s my reply: Eastside venue suggestion–Molbaks or any of the big garden centers that sell books. I’m not sure about actual bookstores, but most of the garden centers that I frequent have nice book sections; and hey, target audience walking around!! Might be an idea… I’m sure sad I can’t make the other two Seattle area events-conflicts for both!! That I can’t get out of!! So I’m trying to coax a third 🙂
Looking forward to reading the book this evening, although tonight I’ll be making the Salad Kraut. I’ll dive into more book recipes tomorrow!!
Enjoy your day!! Congrats on the book launch!!!
Here’s the big difference between selling candy and this book: people bought candy to support Campfire, even if they didn’t really want the candy. People are buying this book because they really want the book. Unlike the candy, which might get mindlessly eaten or collect dust in a cupboard, this thing is meant to be used to create things that will be used.
So, on behalf of all the people like us who can’t sell our own good product: THE BOOK IS GOOD. BUY THE BOOK. YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU BOUGHT THE BOOK. AND THEN YOU WILL WONDER WHY IT IS ONLY TUESDAY BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. 🙂
Ordered it Thanks for the hard work
I think you should be a presenter, or represented in some way, at the Pacific NW garden show in Seattle.
I’ll be at the 2016 NW Flower and Garden show. I’ve got two presentations, one on fermentation and one on seed starting. I’d love to see you there! Here’s more info.
Great. We’ll see you there
I ordered your book some time ago, and just got word it has shipped and I should get it in a few days. I can’t wait to read it (likely, I’ll put aside the half-dozen or so half-read books in the house and sit down and read yours). And I relate to the comfortableness around self-promotion – and the necessity of doing it. I hope your book does great.
Kat Rosa says
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! What a huge thing to have accomplished! Off to order the book now.
Bill W. says
Your sales skills can’t be that bad. I went to order a copy only to discover that I had already placed an order on March 14th! You almost got me to buy it twice. 😉
This made me laugh because I DID pre-order two! But the book is so awesome that I am glad I did because it will make a perfect gift!
Michelle G says
I pre-ordered the book a while ago, and today, I got an email from Amazon.co.uk saying it has been released on this side of the pond, as well — hurrah! It’s supposed to arrive on 2nd October (Thursday) — can’t wait! -Michelle G
Mark Alexander says
UPS just dropped my books (yes, plural!) off a few minutes ago. A book, a real book with pages and hard covers and everything. It is really nice looking and I haven’t really opened it yet.
It is so nice to have an actual weighty book in hand. I like all things electronic but this thing is really nice. I don’t know how hard you had to push to get an actual bound book printed but it was worth it.
I bought one extra copy to give to a particular friend. I can tell you that when my wife sees this we will probably have to order several more to give to her close friends…
Thanks for the info you give through your site and congrats on the book, Mark
My son just checked the mail and found my copy of the book freshly delivered by USPS. I’m so looking forward to reading it! I’ve been looking forward for a while now. Thanks for taking part of your life to put it together. Congratulations!
Megan Cain - The Creative Vegetable Gardener says
Congratulations! What a great life accomplishment and the result of so much hard work. You did it! I’ll help spread the word for you.
I hear you on the whole selling thing. It’s definitely something I’ve had to get used to over the last few years of owning a business.
I’m so excited for you! To have gotten to share even a teensy bit in the process while you’ve been working on it has been fun. Amazon apparently is miffed at me because unlike everybody else, they are saying I don’t get my book till October 5th. I’ll ultimately get my wonderful new book and I will just find myself a new place to order pre-releases. My inner 8-year old sticks out my tongue to them. Ha! And while I wait I’ll be keeping busy canning. Congratulations on your release day, yay!!!
janet in woodway says
Erica, Yahoo, my copy just arrived via UPS. It is beautiful. I will be at Thursday evenings event.
This is way better than selling camp fire mints!
I keep waiting for the dogs to freak out that someone has come to the door. Not the freak out of someone using the sidewalk, that I’ve heard several times today. Amazon says by 8pm tonight. So I know what my bedtime reading is. Thanks for all the promotional activity, sorry it is painful. I personally don’t mind selling appropriate things to the right people. But it saps energy even if you don’t mind it. So tell HBH that a spa weekend isn’t out of order.
Kelly O'Keefe says
My copy just arrived! It is a gorgeous book and I’m plunking down on the couch to start reading. Congrats!
Erica, I just opened my book an hour ago and I love it! It is beautiful and interesting and is full of ideas I can’t wait to try. Thank you for your wonderful writing and for your labor of love. This is A GREAT BOOK!
Just got mine. Scanned it over dinner and just ordered 2 copies for Christmas gifts, before they’re all gone! It is so very cool.
I pre-ordered it several months ago and it should be here tomorrow! Did I miss you book tour schedule? Will you be coming to the Phoenix area?
It’s a gorgeous sunny spring day here in Australia but I’m very tempted to ignore the garden and the kids and totally focus on reading through your gorgeous book. Already picked out a dozen things to try during the flick through as I walked back from the mailbox and that was just of the spring chapter. It’s an amazing book it will sell itself. Congratulations
Your book arrived, but Chef got it first [sigh]. Sous chef here will sneak it out during a nap-time…but it looks fantastic!
I received my copy yesterday. It was so exciting! I have been such a fan of your site that I had no choice but to purchase your book. Congratulations!! No hard sell required.
I’ll be picking mine up at Powell’s, and with luck getting you to sign it! And a copy for my daughter too! Although, the last time I tried to go to a blogger’s book event at Powell’s, the line was out the door. I was turned away. I hope your events are as successful, but I also hope that I get in!
It’s here! Got your beautiful book yesterday and had a HARD time being patient with running around with/for kids just biding time til I could sit down and read it! It is beautiful, inside and out. The tone feels like I could just pick up the phone and say “what about this….?” or whatever! You are so down-to-earth and truly helpful and I so appreciate the work you do! You have inspired me to try new things and they are beautiful but simple.
I am particularly interested in getting these chemical cleaners out of my house! Thanks for some great recipes. And it is put the garden to bed time and I will be using the eucalyptus soak. My football-sore son thought it was marvelous!
Also, your dedication to your hubby was so sweet and profound, I almost blushed for reading it. 🙂
Bravo! Thank you for sharing so freely with us, your devoted followers and fans!
Can’t wait to get mine
As a previous reader said your thoughtful, informative (hysterically funny at all the right spots) writing sells itself
All the best !
My copy was waiting for me when I got home last night and I’ve been poring over it since then – I love it! Erica, if you ever want to start a religion, sign me up…
Please schedule a tour on the East Coast!
Congrats! Congrats! Congrats!!
Jennifer Arrow says
Just finished paging through it, and it’s wonderful. Thank god it’s got your sense of humor (“Earl Grey Hot” “pairings like Fey and Poehler” “if you really want to believe your shit doesn’t stink” etc etc) but it’s also wonderfully encouraging and useful. I haven’t tried a thing out of it yet since I’ve had it for six hours, but I see so many of the homekeeping recipes in my future, notably personal deodorant and room spray and the oven cleaner, but also love little tricks like putting food coloring in the window cleaner so it’s Windex-colored and not, “Oooh should I drink this?” colored. Also love the idea of using cheap vodka instead of rubbing alcohol in stuff.
Terrific and look forward to digging into it more deeply.
Just started reading, and so far so good!
I’m in one of the outer circles of UPS delivery for your book so I will hopefully see it on my doorstep when I get home from work today. However, I noticed that Amazon has a) posted the Kindle preview online and it’s fabulous!!! http://www.amazon.com/Hands–Home-Seasonal-Preserving-Homekeeping-ebook/dp/B00RRT31M6/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1443723190&sr=8-1&keywords=hands+on+home b) listed it as the #1 release under Green Housecleaning and c) under the tell-tale “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought…” section, your book is in the very best of company. SO excited for you! Well done!
I got the book today, it’s gorgeous. Congratulations!
Got your book this morning and spent the afternoon reading/skimming through it. Love it and plan to get one for several of my homestead living or dreaming friends for Christmas! You are the bomb!!
Love, love, LOVE your book!!! I had pre-ordered and spent the last few days browsing through. I love what you say and the way you say it. It speaks directly to my heart. Well done, you. This will be my go-to wedding gift (plus a little cash) for those upcoming events. Perfect!
Congratulations, Erica! It was so great to meet you at the Book Larder on Thursday! As I skimmed through the book I realized how many little things around the house/garden I’m doing because I learned them through you. Thank you! <3 The man friend picked up my copy of your book off the coffee table and is reading it now. 🙂
Zenais Buck says
Does anyone else simply love that it has a ribbon bookmark? That made me so very happy.
Love it! Love it! 🙂