Thursday, September 4, 2014

Saying GOODBYE to Your Comfort Zone

The other day, my mom and I were having a little chat about book sales (or the prospect of there being a lack-there-of.)

You see, a salesman, I am NOT.

But my mom? Oh my goodness, she could sell a parka to a bear in the middle of July.

She just has this finesee with people, the ability to relate to them and sell them and put herself out there, regardless the consequences. She isn't the "sleezy" salesman type that pressure you... no, it's even worse.

She LOVES you into a sale. Oh yeah. You think she's the best thing since sliced bread and all the sudden your fingers are writing a hefty check for new granite countertops you didn't even know you needed. (Okay, not really, you probably wanted them in the first place but after a chat with my mom, you wouldn't even think of looking elsewhere.)

I.... did not get my mom's "selling" gene.

While I love people and love helping them, my sales pitch is more like, "Here is your price, I understand if you go with someone else though. My feelings won't be hurt."

I've never once held a job in sales... and it's a darn good thing!

Until this whole writing thing....

I SERIOUSLY find myself thinking (and sometimes saying...)... "I hope you like my book... but if you don't want to get it, it's totally okay. I understand."

Way to sell, Krista. Way to sell.

So what does a girl do who HATES selling things, is HORRIBLE at it, but really needs to sell a boat-load of books to keep in this whole publishing thing? Because we all know competition of fierce. ANYONE can write a book and plop it on Amazon now. I should know. I did it last month.

Yes, the first key is to WRITE A GREAT BOOK.

But if you write an awesome book and no one knows about it.... that is helping no one. But the solution isn't always a simple one to find.

So, in assessing my issue, I went to my mother for advice. Sure, she sells and designs kitchens and baths for a living, but that's kinda like books, right? Okay, it isn't, but still, selling is selling and I needed help!

I was giving her examples of some of the things I'd done so far. Things that were fully in my capability, that I felt confident I could do well. I did a blog launch party that went really well. Over 100 comments on my blog and about 4-5 times my normal traffic that day. I posted to a few FB groups about the book, resulting in a few sales. I'd begged on my author page, resulting in a few more sales. I'd linked to it everywhere I could legally link to it, resulting in a few more sales.

But then my sweet loveable mother called me out over my words.... things I felt confident I could do well.

You see, I was planning my marketing around ME. Around my little comfort zone. Around the areas I thought I could do easily that wouldn't make me uncomfortable or have to stretch myself.

I don't remember my mom's exact words, but her message was this.

God has not called you to stay in your comfort zone.

She also went on to pinpoint my biggest reason... that I have a debilitating fear of 1.) failure and 2.) rejection. Those are issues for another blog post though... and maybe some therapy!
The bottom line is this, though:

God has called me to write and market my books. To have them published and to be confident not in my own abilities, but in the fact that God can take me OUTSIDE of my abilities, OUTSIDE of my comfort zone, and can do more than I could ever dream.

And... if you know me, I dream BIG.

Here's another thing I've wrestled with in my heart.

I'm a FIRM believer that God has gone before me. It is not in my power to sell the number of books I need to in order to be successful. It just isn't.

But it's in God's power.


There is a difference between pressing forward IN THE POWER OF GOD and callasping in the dirt like a stubborn toddler and saying, "I can't do it! YOU do it, God, since you're the one who has all the power!"

Am I the only one who does that sometimes?? Sure, there are definite times when we need to let go and let God. But there are also times we need to cling to God, hop on his back, and go forth in his power and wisdom.

For me, book marketing is DEFINITELY one of those times.

I've done a (sadly) small number of things over the last week to try and get out of my comfort zone in this whole selling thing. Think of it like dipping my toe in the water to test it... then sitting on the side, feet danging, to get used to the cold water.

I can feel God behind me with this amazing grin on his face, ready to push me in if I don't take the leap soon!

Discussion: What about you? Has God taken you out of your comfort zone with your writing career yet? Are you holding back, using God as an excuse?

Take the plunge, y'all.

THIS post is part of my plunge. I was super hesitent to broadcast my struggles so honestly, but my hope is that God can use it to help others throw that towel and dive in.

The water grows on you after a few minutes. Or at least that's what my mom tells me!

Oh, and while you're at it... there's this GREAT novella called A Side of Faith you REALLY should check out. Word has it, the author is a bit kookie but has a side of fun to her.... :-)


Angela said...

Good message, thanks for sharing.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Way to go, Krista! Love seeing you step out of your comfort zone and grow in confidence. You can totally do this - you're all over it, girl! xo

Krista Phillips said...

Karen, you are SO much more confident in me than I am!!!

I think that's a lot of what it boils down to.


I've always helped build OTHERS confidence in themselves. But building ones own confidence? I mean, HOW do you do that??

Looks in mirror: "Krista, you are an amazing writer and people would be IDIOTS not to buy your book! Now GO TELL THEM ABOUT IT, dad gum it!"

*raises eyebrow* Just feels... weird. And a little vain!!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Krista—I so appreciate your transparency! Yes, selling, feeling like I'm promoting myself—that's tough. But the truth is, God gave you this story. He gave you the vision to self-publish it, and He gave you what you need to promote. So go out there and.....

You get the idea. Your post challenged me to really think about what I say I believe. I believe God's given me stories to write. So, if that's true why do I feel like I have to do it ALL myself? He'll help me each step of the way because He's called me to this journey. It's not all up to me. Or you.

Okay, I'll step off my stool now and say, well done. I'm off to purchase a copy of your novella. :)

Emily Ann Putzke said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Krista! I can totally relate to this. I'm in the process of self-publishing my first book and realizing that I have to get the word out and start marketing it. I'm not so good at that whole thing....but I'm working on it with God's help! I love this - "God has not called you to stay in your comfort zone." That's SO true.

Krista Phillips said...

Jeanne, YES YES YES!

The thing is... I told myself ALL of those things before I was published. I didn't think I would have an issue. It's not like I'm selling used cars or something, I'm trying to get the story God gave me into the hands of readers! I'm trying to "build sales" so I can publish MORE books that can meet people in the place.

It's not about me.

But I have struggled a ton with putting what is in my "head" into practice... mostly because of the whole "comfort zone" thing!!

Krista Phillips said...

Emily, you can do it!!!!

I'm a firm believer in recognizing that something is going to be a struggle is the first step. The next step is hoping on Jesus back and letting him jump over that hurdle with me!

Tessa Emily Hall said...

Your post came at the perfect time for me. My YA novel has been out for almost a year now--and while I have promoted it online, I have yet to go out into the "real world" and promote it by speaking at schools and such.

However, I finally gained some courage and scheduled my first "gig", which is in a few weeks.

Although I am terrified, I just keep reminding myself that God has not called me to stay in my comfort zone. Your post has only confirmed this, so thank you! =)


Krista Phillips said...


Do you hear me applauding loudly????


YOU are going to do FABULOUS!!!!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Love your sweet heart, Krista! Can't wait to see the fruits of your boldness! God has not given you a spirit of fear after all. Go get em, tiger!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Oh man, I feel like writing is a constant process of climbing out of my comfort zone! And the closer we get to publication or are in the midst of it, I think we're even more vulnerable.

So glad your mama set you straight! (They're good at that, aren't they?) :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

As an author in the midst of forging ahead in social media and marketing, this was a great post for me to read. Thank you!
Edge of Your Seat Stories

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Love this post! Hoping to channel this confidence as I pitch at conference :)

Krista Phillips said...

Amy... I just got nervous at the word "boldness."

My comfort zone is a little small, by the way, if no one can tell.


BOLD! I need to have that word voiced to me over and over in my sleep or something!!!

Krista Phillips said...

Sarah, you are OH so write. The whole process... from research to pitching to agent-finding to editor-finding to selling... it's all an exercise in comfort zone blasting!

Krista Phillips said...


Right there with ya girl!!! Glad I could encourage you!!

Krista Phillips said...

Laurie... you're going to rock those pitches!! I'll be there with pom-poms and prayers, cheering you on!!

(I am going to pitch this year too... I haven't let myself think about it yet.... I suppose I should!)