S-E-L-L need not be a four-letter word

By on January 5th, 2010

Would you buy from this man?

Would you buy from this man?

Well, ok, the word “sell” does have four letters, but you know what I mean.

What is it about this photograph that creates a negative reaction in so many of us? Is this the mental image we have attached to the word “selling”? How many of us unconsciously believe selling to be something sleazy, insincere and unpalatable? If we do, why? And what are the ramifications of our aversion to this four-letter word?

I am a spirit author, but I’m also a coach. The majority of my clients are holistic healers, coaches, authors (especially in the mind-body-spirit genre), teachers, and artists in general. What do all these people have in common? Well, for one thing, they tend to be highly sensitive, creative, spiritually focussed and caring individuals. They are also very devoted to their craft, and have a strong desire to help and inspire others. They sound like lovely people, don’t they? They are.

But these people also tend to have another thing in common—they have a strong tendency to cringe at the mere mention of the word “selling”. This is nothing new. After all, the notion of the Bohemian “starving artist” has been with us for centuries. Art and money have always seemed to be antithetical forces in our minds, whether consciously or not. I was a professional musician for decades and used to hang out with the “arty” crowd, and I always found it amazing how many artistic people maintained the notion that getting paid well for their art was tantamount to “selling out”.

Similarly, we seem to create the same divide when it comes to healing professions or anything to do with the heart and soul. I cannot tell you how many people I know in these areas who have the unspoken (and sometimes spoken) belief that asking for money for their work renders them insincere. As a result, they don’t ask for what they deserve. Sadly, I have watched all too many of them go out of business over a short period of time.

So, we have a dilemma.

On the one hand, from a practical perspective, if all the sensitive, soul-based, caring, healing and creative people in the world do not get paid adequately for the wonderful things they do, it means that the world will no longer be blessed with wonderful healers, writers, artists, musicians, coaches, teachers, etc. And that would be a real tragedy.

On the other hand, if all heart-based people in the world suddenly became hardened sales people, like the grinning fellow in this photograph, they would lose the wonderful quality that makes them who they are. If money became the sole focus of their mind-body-spirit work, it would take the soul out of what they do.

Clearly a balance must be found between the two extremes.

This balance was the primary focus I had when I wrote “Module 2: Pre-Publication Marketing Musts” of the Spirit Authors course. “Selling” in the mind-body-spirit genre is very different to other markets. We cannot embrace the same formulae taught by many other marketing schools and expect to reach our target audience in a positive way. After all, the people who read your mind-body-spirit books are just as sensitive as you are, and they cringe just as much at the word “selling” as you do. The mind-body-spirit market is a giving one, based upon long-term relationships. Module 2 of the Spirit Authors course is aimed at showing you how to build your promotional platform in a way that is authentic, guilt-free, friendly and fun.

Helping you to learn how to “sell” your wonderful mind-body-spirit book without this four-letter word getting in your way is a big part of what Spirit Authors is all about. We’ve got a fantastic Grand Opening going on throughout the week of 22-26 February 2010, with over a dozen industry experts coming on board to enlighten, inform and inspire you. 

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Please leave your comments, opinions, experiences and pearls of wisdom below.

I LOVE reading your contributions. 🙂


  1. Hi Lynn, Andrew called me today to say hi and also tell me about yournew venture….whish sounds great and a much needed and timely support for us many aspiring-inspiring author/mentor/coaches. I am really looking forward to being part of the course as I am starting my second book this spring! Take care and hope to hear from you soon, Anna-Louise (friend on facebook)

  2. I’m putting this comment on this post just in case anyone drops by. It’s nearly a year since I wrote that piece, and since then I’ve been working on my next book “The 7 Graces of Marketing” (site soon to be opened at http://The7GracesOfMarketing.com ), which I hope to be launching in June 2011. It will address, at a very deep level, the intricate relationship we have with money, marketing and selling, and how certain fundamental practices of “old school” marketing are actually making us ill at an individual, society and even global level. I hope you will subscribe to the blog so you can stay in touch with me as we get closer to launch date. I’ll also be delivering many live and online talks on the subject in the coming months.

    See you soon!

  3. Gill Potter says:

    I totally agree Lynn-it has taken me a long time to shift my hobby into a proper business and ask for the investment by clients-which I know my talents are worth. I do now and left my day job behind to really be a Spiritual enterpreneur/ business woman with a heart and Soul-these are not diametrically opposed and now I see it as my duty to help clients to see that by working with me (and paying me my going rate) their life and business can transform for the better! I look forward to reading your book and thank you for Module 2 which chimed in perfectly with where I am at now!


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