How does an introverted author handle book marketing? Well, I don't know because I'm an extrovert. So for the first time ever on this blog, I have asked not one but five introverted, outstanding authors to help you with your book marketing. If you're shy or not into self-promotion or just feel like, "I literally cannot do this," then you need to hear what these women have to say. Take it away, ladies!
The best way to create a connection between an author and her readers is through sincerely sharing bits and pieces of herself with them. Letting others take a look inside your life, your process, and you is a sure way to draw in the people who will appreciate your work as an author the most.
Which, let’s face it, is close to one of the most terrifying things you can tell any introvert who is trying to gain a readership or following.
Vulnerability—the final word in marketing
Vulnerability on such a public platform as the internet was a panic-inducing thought when I first started out. For me, a fellow introvert, I got a jumpstart on figuring out how to most comfortably market myself when I started working as a freelance content marketer in 2012. And let me tell you, it was a white-knuckle kind of process. Deciding how much of myself and my life I wanted out in the great big world for one and all to find was really a series of decisions that evolved very slowly over time. The first step in marketing myself was starting an anonymous blog. I never shared a single post on Facebook or any of my social media platforms from that blog. It was there as a place for me to get my feet wet, make inevitable mistakes, and figure out my voice as a writer. Once I got comfortable there, I was ready to brand my content marketing business and lose the anonymity.
Now, as I work on my debut novel, I’m firmly putting the spotlight on myself as the center of my brand. It’s been a whole new process with a whole new level of vulnerability.
So what I did to make the process a little easier on me is I came up with a set of guidelines that fit within my strategy. Those guidelines I laid out were based on the answers to the following questions:
- What things in my life are off-limits to my readers?
- Can I share my process without interrupting it?
- What shapes what I write about and how I write it?
Having my own set of rules, or a policy on what can go on my author social media, has helped me share consistently on the same topics. And consistency helps me keep followers.
Marketing myself on my author website
As for my author website, I hired a copywriter to help me write the content for the about page and the page about my work-in-progress. I needed someone else’s perspective on what is interesting and what’s not. I needed someone else to help me gauge just how much I should share, because I really didn’t want to share anything. Here’s an example of some of the information we agreed should be shared:
To further connect with readers without making my introverted self cringe too much, I also sprinkled the website with pictures. Pictures of me, pictures of my stuff.
So all of that is to say this: Don’t let your fear stop you from going a little outside of your comfort zone. There are ways you can put yourself out there, without having to put yourself out there. Figure out what’s absolutely off-limits to your readers and the internet at large, and remember presenting who you are as you are is the best marketing strategy you’ll ever come up with. [CLICK TO TWEET!]
Mindy Schoeneman is a content writer, marketer, and author. She is currently working on her debut novel, Adrienne's Awakening, set to come out in early 2019. She enjoys writing sci-fi and speculative fiction. You can learn more about her and her writing progress by visiting MindySchoeneman.com. Follow her on Facebook.
My picture-perfect life as an author would be marked by silence, solitude, and a commitment to serving as a vessel of stories and transformation.
When I stepped onto the writing scene over ten years ago, I quickly awakened to the necessity of publicity and marketing as an author. As an introvert, I hated it.
It felt superficial and sleazy, and I was terrible at it. I would show up online asking friends to buy my books and then recede into hiding. There was no plan or purpose behind my marketing efforts. Promoting felt awkward and uncomfortable.
Since then, I have learned to leverage my quiet power and embrace the online entrepreneurial path as an author. These are three of the secrets that changed everything for me. They protect my love of solitude while multiplying my marketing results in an ever-increasing email list and sales.
The power of ONE. Instead of pressuring myself to be on every social media channel and tackle multiple projects at once, I choose one thing to focus on at a time. When I focus on one platform or project, it moves at lightning speed, versus being like a dung beetle trying to push multiple balls of dung up a hill and watching in despair as none of them make it to the top.
The power of DEEP CONNECTIONS. Use introversion as a superpower to observe trends, scope out the competition, and form strategic connections. Instead of viewing your low threshold for people interaction (it can be exhausting), use it to your benefit. Pick the people you want to pursue a connection with: write a handwritten none, set up a coffee date, respond to their emails stating how they encouraged or helped you. When you care for people, no strings attached, they can tell and often jump at opportunities to help you spread the word about your books and services.
The power of INVITATIONAL MARKETING. We can’t force anyone to do anything, but we can choose how we invite people to join our email list or purchase from us. The great news for every introvert out there is that marketing is not about us. We can focus 100 % on knowing and serving our audience with excellence. [CLICK TO TWEET!]
With this mindset, our books and services become extensions of the conversation and support we offer our readers.
Bonus tip: schedule your book promotions and offers, leaving time between them to focus on giving back to your email list and deepening the relationship before the next invitation to buy.
Deanne Welsh is the founder of Unstoppable Writers, a thriving Facebook Community catapulting one another to success and changing the world one word at a time. She is a business strategist leading committed creatives through the process of becoming confident entrepreneurs. She grew up on ships sailing around the world and writes at www.DeanneWelsh.com. Follow on Facebook. Join her thriving Facebook group, Unstoppable Writers.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being an introvert and having social anxiety, it’s that you need to continually push your boundaries. Gradually step out of your comfort zone, and each time you step out, make that step bigger. As you step out more often, you’ll see that it becomes a bit less frightening each time. This process can be applied to anything, including book marketing.
When I began writing my memoir, I was already researching ways to market a book before, during, and after the launch. I discovered that it was important to have an author website, be active on social media (or at least try to be), and contact loads of people.
Making my author website was no problem, and being active on social media was one of the smaller steps I needed to take. It makes me nervous to post things online, and so I did (and still do) my best to regularly post on my Facebook author page and Twitter.
Contacting people was a bigger step, as I knew people could say no to me. I made a list of over a hundred book bloggers who reviewed nonfiction in general, memoirs, and/or had an interest in mental health. I made another list for influencers I could contact who may be willing to endorse my book, including authors who have written about mental health, mental health advocates, doctors specializing in mental health, mental health speakers, and more. My last list was for the media, who I would first contact by email and later (potentially) by phone. I found health reporters in my province and country, radio hosts who did mental health specials, book columnists, writers for local papers, and more.
Another way of getting my book and name out there is doing in-person events. Gah. I’ve done a couple book signings, the first of which I had a safety person—aka my boyfriend—sit with me at the beginning, then walk around the store, then leave to the car, all through a five-hour period. [CLICK TO TWEET!]
My next book signing I had a different safety person roaming the store and later leave. I use a large standing banner at my table to grab the attention of people, so I don’t need to call them over to me. This tactic along with emotional support has helped keep the comfort zone steps manageable. I’ve also done speaking engagements about my mental health experience and therefore about my memoir, and it takes some mammoth steps for me to be able to do that. I spend the day of the speech feeling sick and wondering why on earth I decided to do this, but once it’s over, it’s worth it every time.
These are some of the bigger ways I’ve been promoting my book, and it’s gotten positive results from each method. It’s an ongoing process, and I’m both scared and looking forward to continuing to do so.
Michelle Balge is a freelance web designer, author, mental health advocate, and animal lover. She is the author of a memoir entitled A Way Out on overcoming depression and social anxiety in late February 2018, which has been met with great praise. Visit her website www.michellebalge.com or follow her on Facebook.
Marketing as an introvert is terrifying. Every social media post is met with the secret service version of my mental self:
“Do people even care about me and my books? Did I sound stupid when I said that? I should probably just delete the post, right? Yes, I’ll delete it. I better hurry up before someone likes it already. Then I’ll really look crazy. Wait, am I crazy? No, don’t delete it. Let it go. OK, wait. Let me just edit it again.”
I am a sensitive soul with deep passion and it has been both a blessing and a curse for me. As a result, I used to wait until the fear subsided before I stepped out into the world. Wait until my stomach stopped swirling with nausea and until my hands stopped shaking. I used to wait until my blood stopped racing and my thoughts stopped overthinking and replaying failed scenarios.
Just as the nerves had gone, so was the passion. I was calmer, but the moment had passed and the spirit had left me. I realized that to be where I needed to be, I needed to act as my hands were shaking, and while my blood was racing. To put myself out there, I needed to ignore the thoughts and walk out into the world even as I was afraid. Fellow introverted ones: control the way that you think and jump even if you are afraid to leap.
Part of doing something afraid is jumping off the edge without thinking too much about how far you’ll fall or how many people are looking or if someone will be there to catch you. You just have to leap, or else your thoughts will stop you before you become great. Remember that no one has ever made a difference standing (or sitting for that matter) on the sidelines. And while you may start out afraid to market yourself, the good news is that fear and faith cannot coexist. Once you have put yourself out there, faith will eventually take over.
It’s OK to want to withdraw. It’s OK to be sensitive. It’s OK to be nervous. This is what makes you so special. Don’t wait until the nerves calm to put yourself out there because with it may also come a much less powerful version of yourself. Instead, do it while the thunder rages. Do it while the lightning is inside of you. Do it while your heart is pumping, and your blood is racing. Do it without micromanaging every possible outcome. Don’t try to figure it all out. Do it without overthinking it. Do it afraid.
Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an author, blogger, and poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She is the founder of Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS Blog. Yecheilyah studied Professional and Technical Writing at Chicago State University and is studying Childhood and Adolescent studies at Argosy University, Atlanta this fall. She enjoys helping other authors via her blog interviews and book reviews, and her blog has been among Reedsy's Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018. When she’s not writing, Yecheilyah is teaching Pre-K and spending time with her lovely family. Visit her website www.yecheilyahysrayl.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.
Perhaps the most important aspect of marketing is not promoting your book itself, but promoting yourself. Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why suggests that the most popular companies have allowed their consumers to understand why their company is important. This is known as a mission statement and tells people why you do (or write) what you do. It allows the consumers to feel like they know you. If they feel like they know you, it's more likely that they'll follow your brand and become loyal readers.
If you don't already blog, you might want to start. Talk about what you've been up to this week, what you're writing, or comment on a fantastic book you just read. You can also create hype on your blog for upcoming book releases, which readers will become curious about. Pretend you're writing to someone you're close to if you're prone to any sweaty-palmed terror you might experience over talking about yourself to strangers.
Social media is also a huge factor in promoting your book. If you have a quick wit and sense of humor, some snappy one-liners can be eye-catching. Ask your followers to share your posts; you'd be amazed at how many book sales can pop up with just a few people sharing. This is a fantastic way to get a broader audience if you are shy and have a smaller social circle. When you're just beginning, you can simply ask family or a close friend to share your posts. Your audience and book sales will easily grow from there, and it's oftentimes far easier to type a post than to say it in face-to-face conversations with strangers, right? Even if you feel awkward promoting your book at first, it becomes much easier with a little practice.
Ensuring that your book blurbs are on point will also help increase book sales naturally. Create a digital kit with your book blurb, any reviews you may have, or lines from your story that might create a hook for readers. You can use it for promotion on your social media platforms.
You can even create and put up flyers or business cards at local businesses to promote a new book release. It's a unique way to advertise your book and if you're known in the community, folks might be happy to support you.
Keeping a positive attitude helps as well. Give yourself pep-talks in the mirror at home before writing a post if it helps. If you're confident about getting out there, your followers will take notice. You'll also look forward to the work more Even if you feel like your book isn't worth all of the fuss, remember that others might think differently. You're a unique writer and your book is your means of speaking to the masses without physically saying a word!
Michaela Bush is a young independent author, junior copy-editor, and equestrian. She enjoys writing Christian romance and spending time with family. Visit her website www.tangledupinwriting.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook.
An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.