Book Promotion Tips for Introverts

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So I’m an introvert. I’m also a writer, so big surprise, right? Well, when you’re a published writer who needs to promote herself to sell books, being an introvert can kinda sorta get in the way. I’m generally okay with promoting myself online, but there are times when my introversion gets in the way of that. I’m often hesitant to jump into discussions on Twitter or Facebook–even in instances where I have an opinion on a matter–because I don’t want all eyes on me. Crazy, right?

And guess what? I didn’t always know I was an introvert. Way back in the day when the teacher called on someone to answer a question (and no one responded), beads of sweat would pop up on my forehead and I’d sink as low in my seat as possible, praying she wouldn’t call on me. And having to “go around the room and introduce ourselves?” Oh, Lord! It’s like walking the plank for me!  My mind goes blank and instead of listening to the other introductions, I sit there dreading the moment when it’s my turn. When I released my last book, I had every excuse for why I couldn’t have a launch party. Or do a reading at a bookstore. “I’ll get around to it eventually,” I told myself. And once so much time passed that my book couldn’t be considered a “new release,” I said, “No worries. You’ll get ’em next time.” But I never knew why I dreaded the spotlight so much until I bumped into a few articles lately about introverts. I thought, “So…I’m not just sabotaging myself? This is like, a thing?”

 

 

Yes, it’s a thing.

But as a published author, it’s a thing I have to manage if I want to promote myself online and locally. I vowed that with my next release, I would do my due diligence at promoting myself. But in all honesty, the idea of doing a reading–and having a Q&A session afterwards–sort of frightens me. And being Ms. Social Butterfly on social media? Gulp.

I realize that in order to promote myself effectively, I’m going to have to get outside my comfort zone a bit. And I’m okay with that–in baby steps.  To all my author brethren who are also introverts: here are some ways I think we can market our books without putting ourselves in situations that we will likely dread–and run from.

1.Take the Focus off Yourself. 

One of the reasons I’ve been dreading doing a book launch or a reading is because I don’t like being the center of attention. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind answering questions about my book with people one-on-one, but the idea of sitting in a room with all eyes on yours truly? No bueno for Quan-Dizzle. So instead, I plan to make my main characters the star of the show by creating some games based on my book and maybe even having some local actors do a dramatic reading–among other ideas. That way, I don’t have to be the center of attention and will be able to actually enjoy my launch–and hopefully sell some books in the process.

2. Get a Street Team (Virtual or Online)

Street teams were all the rage back in the day. Record companies used them to sell records and I’ve seen them pop up in the book industry as well.

A street team is a term used in marketing to describe a group of people who ‘hit the streets’ promoting an event or a product. (Wikipedia)

Got some friends and family who are enthusiastic about your book? Why not ask them to help you promote? I definitely plan to use a street team this time around. Here’s an article on the subject: http://www.iuniverse.com/Resources/Book-Marketing-Self-Promotion/6StepstoBuildaStreetTeam.aspx

3. Book a Vendor Table 

Vendor table? I thought you said these were tips for introverts? What’s next, Quanie? Facebook live karaoke?” But before you ban me from the family picnic, hear me out: last year, my husband and I participated in a local business expo. We were there selling our homemade pralines, and across the aisle from us was a local author. Until then, I hadn’t considered participating in a business expo as an author, but why not? Writing and publishing books is a business, right? Tons of people attend these types of events and they’re actually pretty informal. They’re not an author-in-fishbowl type of situation, and that’s why I suggest them. Most people will browse your table, pick up your book, and say something along the lines of, “Wait–you wrote this book?” And you can proudly say, “Yes. I did.” This is a great opportunity to meet and talk to potential new readers one-on-one. And if you’re not great at talking about your work, why not bring an extroverted friend?

4. Get Help 

There’s a lot of book publicity information out there, and most of it can be hard to navigate. So much has changed since I released my last book. At an event I attended last year, someone asked me if I was on Periscope. “Perry who???” I asked. Apparently, all the kids are doing it.

There’s so much information out there that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and then do nothing. But we can’t give up! There are some Facebook groups that are a true Godsend to authors. See Ya On The Net Promotion Group and For Love or Money are two of the most helpful groups I’ve found online that focus on showing authors how to gain visibility. From what I’ve seen, the authors in these groups are really helpful and don’t mind sharing what promotion methods have worked for them.

And if participating in social media groups isn’t your cup of tea, it might be worth it to hire someone to do your social media marketing for you. There are many options available depending on your budget: blog tour companies, author assistants, social media managers, etc. But before you take this route, be cautious. Scammers are a-plenty, so make sure you do your research and if you can, get referrals.

5. Be Authentic

Networking has gotten such a bum rap these days. I think it’s mainly because of those people who invite you over to their house and then, ” You thought you were coming for tea, eh? Gotcha! I really wanted to tell you about my multilevel marketing business.” And while you grab your purse and run, they show up just as you’ve made it to your car, winded and talking about, “Before you go, can you name at least fifteen other people who might be interested?”

Writers are in the same boat; someone follows you on Twitter and the moment you follow them back, you get a DM telling you to buy their book. Folks have gotten so busy “promoting their brands” that they have forgotten how to actually connect with people. Check out this interesting tid bit from a Huff Post article:

Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.

Instead of “buy my book,” how about, “Hey, I see you’re in (insert city). My husband’s family is from there! I hear the weather’s nice this time of year. Anyway, just wanted to say hello. Look forward to reading your Tweets!”

If I got something like that–someone actually just saying hello because it’s a nice thing to do–as opposed to sending me the buy link for their book, you know what I’d do? At the very minimum, I’d look for their book and maybe even Tweet about it or share it in other places. Have we changed the world? No, but that’s how true connections are made, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters to me. So that’s how I approach “networking.” It may not be the quickest way to best-sellerdom but at the end of the day, I’m alright with myself.

What about others? Any fellow introverts out there? How are you promoting your books?

 

 


Things Writers Wish People Would Say

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Hi, Everybody! First off, Happy New Year! 2016 went by with such lightening speed, I’m surprised most of us were able to hold on to our wigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time flies! What have I been up to? Well, I’ve been commissioning a book cover design for my upcoming release, trying to decide what to write next, trying to potty train my two year old, trying to convince my 9 month old that sticking her fingers down her throat is not conducive to happy living, trying to reestablish and stick to a consistent exercise schedule, and managing my ever-growing candy business. I live in the south, and during the holidays, we southerners gots to have our pralines, baby. In these parts, it’s not Christmas unless you have at least one. I know I’ve been conspicuously absent on this here blog, but as ya’ll can see, mama been workin’.

I’m sure everybody is just as busy so I thought I’d kick this Monday off with something light; things writers wish people would say.

What have ya’ll been up to? Looking forward to getting caught up with you guys soon. And feel free to add your own wish list in the comments. Happy Monday!

Agent to writer:

I don’t normally enjoy vampire-werewolf mashups set in outer space, but your novel blew me away. In fact,  I read it in one sitting. I have managed to sell the manuscript to Random House in a six-figure, three book deal. And girl, guess what??? They’re so impressed, they threw in a Cadillac. Who’s awesome?

Writer:

 Your boss:

I recently ran across the two reviews for your novel and I see how passionate your fans are about your work. We’re afraid you’re going to become this big time writer and quit your job, and you’re too valuable for us to lose! To show our appreciation, we’re giving you a fifteen thousand dollar annual raise, a corner office, and what the hell? I’ll just give you my job since you do 90% of the shit I’m supposed to be doing anyway. We need you, Neffy!

Writer:

Your spouse:

Honey, I see how hard you’ve been working on this writing thing, and I want to let you know I’m your biggest fan. Why don’t you quit your job so you can focus on writing full time? And those dishes in the sink? Girl, I got you. And that laundry? Don’t give it another thought because I’m buying you brand new socks and drawers.

Writer:

Big Shot Hollywood Producer:

Babe: just read your book. To sum it up in one word: Amazing. Mind blowing. Life changing. Pathos. Has all the makings of a huge summer blockbuster. Flying you out to L.A. this weekend to talk to my team and get your ideas. Did I tell you Will Smith has already attached to the project? You’re gonna do big things, love. BTW: the check’s in the mail.

Writer:

Oprah:

Gayle recommended your book to me and I gotta tell you; I feel like you have truly taken literaryness to a whole new level. Whole new level. In fact–I hope you’re holding on to your wig–I am making your book Oprah’s Book Club selection for every month this year. I’ve never done that before. You should be very proud of yourself. Good job.

Writer:


Monday Motivation: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint (For Authors)

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I was telling someone the other day how relieved I am to have my most recent novel FINALLY done.

“When did you release your last book?” They asked.
“2014.”
“What took you so long?”

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There are a lot of authors out there who are writing and publishing many books (and often), and have figured out what their readers want and are actually making an impressive living just writing books. 

To those writers, I have this to say: friends, authors, countrymen: lend me your wallets.

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Seriously, though.

Many authors are able to write books at a miraculous speed. I, however, am just not one of those authors. Making peace with that has saved me a ton of anxiety and has allowed me to avoid the oh so ugly comparison trap. There’s a lot of pressure for authors to “keep up,” but if you’re someone who can’t crank out books as fast as some of our other author pals, don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone has their own particular set of strengths. Someone who can write a book a day may not be able to beat you in Foosball, or a potato sack race.

So don’t worry if you can’t keep up! Just continue writing the best stories you can and who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be able to write a book in a day. But even then, you’ll neeeever be able to beat me in Foosball, honey. Not even in your dreams!

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Cover Reveal: TIMELESS by Crystal Collier

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Happy Wednesday, Everybody! Two exciting things are going on today: I’m participating in the cover reveal for Crystal Collier’s upcoming novel, Timeless, and I’m also guest hosting at Auden Johnson’s blog about genre conventions.

Check out Crystal’s gaaaawgeous cover below (and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!), and when you’re done, hop on over to Dark Treasury and check out my guest post. Congrats, Crystal!

TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal
 
 
Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016
 
 
 
TIME IS THE ENEMY
 
In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.
 
In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.
 
Can Alexia escape her own clock?

 

 
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Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.
 
Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.
 

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How to Use Twitter to Get an Agent – Guest Post by Stephanie Faris

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My quest to get published began before every agent had a website and accepted queries by email. I spent years carrying packages to the post office, paying for return postage, then checking the mail every day to see if a rejection letter had arrived yet.

Today’s aspiring novelists don’t even have to leave the house to land an agent. However, the Internet has also increased the competition. More authors than ever are trying to get the attention of an agent and all of them have access to the basic information on agency websites. However, even if agents list their preferences on those websites, they can change on a whim. My agent posted this a couple of months ago:

“I am dying for a new adult cozy mystery serious; historical or funny contemporary!”

If you were following her and just happened to have such a book on your hard drive, the timing would have been perfect to send it right over.

But there’s an art to participating on Twitter. Here are a few things you should do if you’re looking for an agent.

Follow Agents

Success on Twitter relies heavily on the people you follow. Find writers who have interests similar to yours and start interacting with them. They’ll likely help you build the community you need on the site. As you start querying, make sure you review each agent’s Twitter feed to see if they’ve expressed an interest in anything in particular lately. Here are a few agents who are always helpful:

Find Hashtags

In addition to following agents, you can also use hashtags to join in a conversation. Often the most useful hashtags will be part of events where participating authors get something useful out of it. Here are some hashtags to note:

  • #PitMad—A pitch party where participants tweet three short descriptions of three of their books. Polish your pitches—the next #PitMad is September 8!
  • #PitchWars—This contest has multiple rounds, with mentors and agents reading manuscripts. The most recent one just took place, but read all about it before the next one!
  • #AskAgent—Agents announce that they’re taking questions through the hashtag #AskAgent and Twitter members send them over. Read over past sessions and you’ll likely find some great tips.
  • #MSWL—Under this hashtag, agents and editors post their manuscript wishlists. A must follow, for sure!

Most importantly, participate. Have fun. The more you participate in Twitter events and get to know other authors, the more likely you’ll be to get the information you need to achieve your dreams.

PiperMorgan Joins the Circus

When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.

In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!

Piper Morgan In Charge

In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?

Stephanie Faris

Bio:
Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

 

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

 

Links:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Amazon

 

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Tips for Writing a Page-Turner – Guest Post by Audrey Mei

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“I’m crying, your book is so great.”

It was one day since I’d sent my manuscript out to a round of beta-readers. I was nervous. Then I started getting real-time updates from people as they read my book.

“I have SO much to do this weekend, but I can’t stop reading your book!”

And I realized, I had written a page-turner. A 120,000-word, historical, literary fiction page-turner! Talk about an oxymoron.

It hadn’t even been my goal to write a big, fat, Chinese family saga that readers would eat up in two days, although I was very (cautiously) flattered when feedback started rolling in sooner than expected. My goal was just to write really well, to cleanse my manuscript of the most pernicious mistakes that writers make. However, in retrospect, I learned from writing Trixi Pudong and the Greater World that to create a true page-turner, you need two things.

The first is Suspense. That’s a no-brainer and it’s pretty easy. Most authors who have completed a manuscript already do this. Basically, it’s a natural law that readers want to know “What happens next?”. So you toss in a dead body, a mysterious new-comer in town, or a missing family member and the reader flips pages to know more. But suspense isn’t enough. Sometimes the reader still doesn’t finish the book, no matter how many loose ends you lay at their feet.

You need the important second element of a page-turner: Clarity.

While I was writing Trixi Pudong, my editor made a comment which I’ll remember forever. It pertained to “Edwin’s Story,” the longest chapter in the book. She had circled a minor character’s name in red ink and written:

“Who is this man again? I had to go back and re-read a few pages to find who this guy is. Be more clear. Don’t make your readers go back. After a while they’ll give up.”

Thus it clicked. Clarity is the real hidden secret to writing a page-turner. You need clarity on every page about who the characters are, where your story takes place, and what the motivations are, otherwise your readers will have to “go back and re-read.” The opposite of page-turning is page-turning backward. This makes a book seem like a slog. I notice this often when I read self-published books that haven’t been properly edited. Inevitably, I find myself asking at regular intervals:

Wait a second, where are we again?
Um, who is this person?
Why does he/she care?
Who’s talking again?
What does he/she mean?
Excuse me, but what’s the big deal again?

So I repeat: Do NOT make your readers go back.

A page-turner flows forward, quickly.

Novel writing is like stage acting. You must exaggerate. It’s not enough to open a chapter with “Wednesday in the car” and then expect the reader to remember this while your characters have a conversation that could’ve taken place in a kitchen, a school, or a train. Um… no. The reader has to feel the time and location, because in real life, we talk differently if we’re in a car, a night club, in an igloo, or in a room with a sleeping baby. We whisper, we yell, we misunderstand each other, we’re distracted. The location and time of the scene has to come across on every page. Same for characters: Their unique voices and motivations have to come across on every page. How is the sister different from the aunt? What’s the difference between the Sergeant and the General? I don’t want my reader to “go back and re-read” to remind themselves why it’s important that Whatsherface said Whatever.

Like many of you, I’m a writer of #DiverseBooks. It’s a huge risk to write a long Chinese family saga that no agent or publisher anywhere would want to represent. And that few readers would relate to or even want to buy. So I’m up against many odds. Therefore, the greatest feedback I have yet received came from the American Midwest, from readers who have never left the country:

“Your book is so exotic! I couldn’t put it down. I had no idea that I’d learn so much about China.”

Very interesting. I just sent my reader on a trip. That was an unexpected mission, accomplished.

And I hope readers also take a page-turning trip to all sorts of new places, with your books.

Many thanks to Quanie for setting up my blog tour, for hosting me, and for being an all-around wonderful, supportive, and inspiring fellow author. 
———————-
Trixi Pudong and The Greater World
Trixi Pudong and the Greater World is currently a top-selling Asian American Literature ebook on Amazon.
Find out more at www.trixipudong.com.
You can purchase it on Amazon.
Twitter: @TheGritlands
Bio:
Audrey in Oslo PicAudrey Mei was born in California. She studied in Boston, where she graduated from New England Conservatory with a BM in cello performance and from Tufts University with a BA in biological psychology. In 1996, she received a Fulbright Grant to study cello at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. Although her field was music, the Fulbright Committee was deeply impressed by her writing and greeted her with the question, “When will your first book appear?” Audrey would like to thank the Committee for their enthusiasm and apologizes for the 20-year delay.
Audrey’s writing as appeared in Gangway Literary Magazine and Glimmer Train, among other publications. She spends her time between Berlin and San Francisco with her husband, daughter, and black Havanese dog.

10 Must-Have GIFs for Writers

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As writers, we experience our shares of ups and downs. Nail a scene? Break out the champagne. Hit the proverbial wall? Cue the tiny violin. And don’t even ASK me how my novel is going if I’m struggling with revisions. Back, demon!

So here are 10 GIFs that I’m sure any writer can relate to. Happy Monday!

 

When they ask why your novel ain’t done yet

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When you agree to review a novel and then realize the shit is terrible

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When your beta readers love your novel

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When your beta readers hate your novel

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When you get a full manuscript request from an agent

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When you get that standard rejection letter

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When you get your first 5 star review

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When you get your first negative review

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When you realize you have to do a page-one rewrite

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When them revisions on point

Diddy Bop