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: