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?

 

 


Promoting Your Book Online? 3 Lessons I’ve Learned from Marketing Experts

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Happy New Year everybody! I hope that everyone got a chance to relax during the holidays and that you’re all ready to tackle 2015 and pursue all of your writing goals! Today we’re in luck, because  author and blogger Stephanie Faris is sharing some kick-ass advice about marketing. I don’t know about you guys, but I need some good marketing advice in my life!

Stephanie’s upcoming release, 25 Roses, will be available tomorrow. You can check out the book cover and blurb below and add the book to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here. And guess what else? Stephanie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of her book, and a chocolate long-stemmed rose. Scroll down to enter the giveaway:)

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Children’s writing doesn’t pay the bills (yet), so by day, I write content for a variety of marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Part of that work involves advising small business owners on their online promotion efforts. I’ve found much of what I’ve learned in the past few years translates easily into book promotion since, in essence, authors are small business owners ourselves. Our brand is our name and our product is the book(s) we publish each year.

Whether you’ve just started your writing career or you’re launching your forty-second book, the time to build your brand is now. Here are three big online marketing lessons I’ve learned that you could put to use in making a name for yourself online.

Stop Promoting, Start Engaging

If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog and at least one social media account. One mistake I see made every single day in both of these areas is over-promotion. If every tweet or blog post is a promotion for your next book, you likely notice very little interaction. In fact, many of us are scrolling past your promotional posts in search of more interesting content. Granted, the occasional “My new book is available for pre-orders” post is great. But that post should be preceded and followed by interesting, insightful content that keeps people interested in what you have to say.

The good news is that you don’t have to create all of this content yourself. If you read an interesting article about writing, share the link with your social media followers or blog readers. Swap guest posts with friends and invite them to post on your blog occasionally. This will save you time, as well as expose your readers to more great bloggers.

Build a Platform

When an author uses her blog or social media sites to provide information about her area of expertise, that site then becomes a platform. Quanie’s blog is an example of this. Marketing tips are in high demand among writing communities, so her blog draws people in to learn as much as possible. It’s the type of content that turns a reader into a loyal follower.

When your blog contains interesting content, readers will naturally want to learn more about its author. Because your blog and social media sites consistently bring interesting content to readers, when you do have a reason to promote something, you’ll have the built-in audience to receive that message.

Give, Give, Give

When people ask me how I’ve gained such a large blog readership, they never like my answer. I read a great deal of blogs every day. I enjoy doing it. While I’d like to say that a well-crafted, thoughtful blog will naturally draw the masses, that simply isn’t the case. In order to receive, you have to give. Find blogs within your range of interest and comment on a regular basis. Soon you’ll find your blog is getting more comments than ever.

The same philosophy applies to social media. You may have a built-in following of friends and relatives on your personal Facebook page, but professional engagement requires much more work. Find like-minded individuals on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites and follow them. Regularly share status updates you find intriguing and occasionally comment on posts when you have something interesting to say. In time, you’ll find others are interacting and your audience will grow from there.

Online promotion is a great deal of work, but by sharing interesting content and interacting with others, you’ll soon find marketing through blogging and social media is not only easy but fun. Turning your name into a brand is a matter of posting interesting content and remaining true to your personal interests. If you’re having fun, others will naturally enjoy hearing what you like to say.

 

25 roses book cover

 

Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.

Stephanie Faris

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 author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. 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.

Buy 25 Roses (Autographed)

Buy 25 Roses (Amazon)

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