Posts by JT

Sell It! Get Your Reader To Buy

A salesman sitting in front of some shoesAntonio Machado


Boy, do I have a fantastic deal for you. Just today, for the low low price of your ability to read this message, you too can write in way that the reader will buy.


First things first, write over the phone!

If you have ever been on a sales call (a live one, mind you) you already understand part of what I mean. Over the phone there is no connection between the salesperson and the audience. If the seller blandly lists facts, people will get bored and hang up. But if their words paint a picture, people will be interested and remember what they had to say.


For example:

Bland Salesman: “This weight loss pill prevents fat building and allows you to lose up to 10 pounds.”

What does that look like? Have you ever seen 10 pounds floating down the road? Did it stop you in High School and steal your money, or kick sand in your face in front of all the attractive people? No? Try something more like this:

Good Salesman: “Now image this, you go into your closet and pull out those jeans you couldn’t fit into anymore and your (significant other) gives you that special little look when you look good in them again.”


Do you see that? Can you see this product working for you? If you can, you’re going to fork over your credit card number. In this case, your reader is going to pay attention.

How does this apply to writing, you ask? If you write “John walked up the stairs,”  yeah, you know what happened. But if you put it like “the old, warped boards creaked underfoot as John crept from stair to stair, slowly winding up …” you get a much clearer picture of the whole situation.


(In)Significance of Research?

Believe it or not, selling is entirely about the format, not about the facts. Take the world’s best salesperson, hand them alien technology, shove them through a time machine and they will sell rockets to Romans. They can do this because they understand the formula.

In writing, what this means that you don’t need to know every last detail about something to write about it. I’m not saying just go ahead and wing it all the time, but consider that a lot of people may not know exactly what your talking about anyway and will just buy it.

For example: Do you know what the Sea of Dirac is? How about Cognitive Dissonance? Ever read a Book of Hours? These are outside the common parlance and as a result, are a few steps above the average reader’s scope. If you want to sound pretty cool, look up something incredibly obscure on Wikipedia (or even better, hit up a library), throw down a few spicy facts, and let the reader fill in all the mystery for you.


What Are You Selling?

The next time you sit down to write, ask yourself this question. What do you want the reader to buy? What do you want them to believe? Then think of a vibrant way to sell it. Buy now. You won’t regret it.


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Lost in a Dark, Scary Wood

Some sort of barn or other building, destroyed by... somethingJerry


Write a short story in a fantasy setting. Make it terrifying.

We want to read what you write! Post an excerpt (or the whole thing!) in the comments, leave a link to your blog or your account on another writing service, or send us an email at please-reply [at]

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