I Sell Tickets

I’m a writer—it’s what I want to do, it’s what I love to do. I’m also young, which means I’m inexperienced, learning how to market, and essentially invisible in the world of professional writers. I’m doing my best and growing my market, but it’s slow going. I’m not complaining about my life, I’m just explaining my need for a day job.

I work in the customer service center of a fairly large non-profit organization, which means all day every day, I answer phones. People call about everything. That’s not an exaggeration. Politics, world events, city events, sickness, death, babies, tears, happiness, vacation, the radio… The list is long and still growing. There is nothing people won’t talk about to someone who is listening and who doesn’t have a face. As an introvert, it’s not my dream job, but I get a lot of good stories, and two paychecks a month, so I can appreciate it. We also sell tickets for large musical events, and yesterday I worked the will call table for one of the productions.

A lot of people come to the will call table to request replacement tickets for tickets that didn’t arrive, or tickets that they misplaced, or forgot when they left northern Michigan this morning to drive down for the show. Some people come asking for information about the event: where’s the auditorium, when’s the intermission, how long is it? But a few hopefuls come asking if there are leftover tickets that they can purchase.

Our event yesterday was sold out, but due to the nature of the organization, and people who care, over the two hours that I spent at the table, about 35 tickets got returned to us, so we could “maybe give them to someone else.” At the beginning of the two hours, people would come to our booth with a look of hope and desperation, wanting anything. We first had to turn them away, advising them to check back closer to the beginning of the performance.

People had two main reactions: Some took it to mean yes, and wandered away smugly, like they’d just bet on the winning horse. Others took it to mean no, and shoulders slumped, motioned to their small waiting group to follow them as they beat a dejected retreat. The people who were happy came back in an hour and as many of them as came back got tickets. The people who looked defeated never came back—never got tickets, and didn’t go to the show. The ones who waited patiently got what they were coming for; the ones who left abruptly didn’t get anything but disappointment.

If your readers like you, they will wait patiently while you build the suspense or drama or thrill of your story.

Don’t disappoint them.

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