Remember when we were kids at the lunch table and a Twinkie traded for like two Fruit Rollups? Both kids happily eating the snack they prefer, Moms never the wiser?
True, successful negotiation is teamwork. Everyone gives a little to get something they want, all parties left generally happy. In self-publishing, negotiation skills are a must, and nobody wants a party to feel "shafted." Why? Because "So-and-so screwed me over" travels much faster in the link sharing, social networking universe we live in than the other side of the story.
When will a self-publishing or unpublished author need to negotiate? ALL THE TIME. Blog tours? Usually a quid-pro-quo situation. Advertising on reader blogs? Negotiating is the only way to get a reduced rate.
There are a number of skills an author should use in negotiating. Throw out any ideas of playing hardball. This is about bringing people on your team, and you joining theirs.
- Be nice and professional, even when the answer is a "No." This is just a counter offer. By being courteous back, you never know when someone will say "Oh, alright." Especially if they think you are walking away. Don't be fake, but being polite makes any offer much sweeter.
- Give a reasonable offer, not a low-ball. If you don't have much of a marketing budget, that's okay to say so, but don't expect to buy a $50 image ad on a blog that regularly charges (and gets) $300 for the same ad. Now, maybe ask for a $50 text ad, or offer to buy 2 image ads for $250 each.
- Only make promises you can keep. Don't say your blog has 100 visitors a day when it only gets 20. Remember how fast bad press runs? It's okay to trade for a future favor, but make sure you are 100% prepared to deliver, or go above and beyond (and most likely inequitable) if things fall through.
- Expand beyond yourself. Becoming friends and acquaintances with people in other professions, and with other skill sets, you can help people find each other to trade services. It might help you get a discount, or bump you up in the line later on.
"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 2011. A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.