I return from my extended absence in the blog world to share this simple truth.
Books don’t sell themselves.
Unless you’re an established author with a team of professional marketers working with your respective publishing company, it will fall on your shoulders to do your own marketing/promotion to get sales. Even for authors that choose the traditional route they realize the need to make a concerted effort to self-promote their works. How much more so self-published authors who have no such backing! I realized first-hand just how much time, effort, and money goes into marketing/advertising. When I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, I came to the conclusion that putting too much money into marketing was futile. It occurred to me that one of the best ways of self-promotion that I was overlooking was word-of-mouth. Sounds simple. Problem is I’m an introvert. Outside my family and network of friends on social media, few people know anything about my book. And by no means did I have the winning personality or charisma of a sales person.
Last year, I began mentioning my book to co-workers who for the most part were impressed to find out I was a published author. Usually I’m a quiet, reserved person especially in settings outside my comfort zone. So when I casually mentioned I had published a book at my last job, my co-workers were surprised and amazed that they were working with a published author. I swear the next day my sales ranking jumped! Not to #1 of course. I’m not that popular. But the little bump in sales was enough to make me realize the power of word-of-mouth. I would need to harness that arsenal for self-promotion.
Since that experience I have informed several of my co-workers in my new job, including my boss, about my book, Before the Legend. It was nice and scary at the same time getting attention from my boss who wanted me to discuss about my book and who or what inspired me to write my book. As many introverts can attest to, we don’t like being put on the spot, especially in crowds. We’re not anti-social but you do approach social situations differently as an introvert. While extroverts thrive in social settings and love meeting and networking with people, personally I excel in smaller settings or best, alone with my thoughts. While I do need social interaction like everyone else, I do need longer time to ‘recharge’ as I put it. Otherwise too much can feel overwhelming or exhausting at best. I can’t count how many times my sister is talking my ear off and all I want to do is immerse myself with my writing. I lost count.
Tips For Self-Promotion
As an introvert it’s important to recognize your strengths. As a close friend so aptly described me, I’m introspective. This quality can serve to my advantage when it comes to self-promotion. As educational consultant, Shakti Gattegno puts it, “Self-promotion starts with self-reflection, which requires observing oneself in the lighting of awareness and without judgment.” (Self-Promotion for Introverts, Nancy Ancowitz). I’m a thinker versus a talker. So thinking or giving forethought about my approach will serve me well.
- Learning to talk about my book with confidence and poise in front of others is a challenge but it’s teaching me a valuable lesson in being prepared. Preparing my thoughts ahead of time is critical and will help me to choose the right words to convince others why they should check my book out. This is useful advice for any writer whether you’re pitching your work to an agent, getting ready to meet the press, or discussing your work with a group of colleagues. Some of the things I want to hone is the pitch or hook of the story. A brief but attention-getting intro is the aim to attract potential buyers.
- Another thing that helps with self-promotion for introverts is if you can get others to promote you. In the example with my boss, his openness in bringing up the fact I’m a published author to fellow coworkers is actually doing me a favor. Fans of your work or reviewers are like extra mouth-pieces to spread the word about your book. While you don’t want to pressure them (it would produce the opposite effect) if possible, encourage a willing fan or contact to spread the word to their circle of friends.
I realized there isn’t much advice out there for self-promotion for introverts especially in the area of book promotion. But this topic has definitely aroused my curiosity in learning more about the strategies for self-promotion and tailoring suggestions that suit me. People in general are starting to realize the inert talents/strengths that introverts possess. Extroverts may have it a little easier, but introverts too can be adaptable in the area of networking. If face to face meet-ups seem daunting there’s the networking aspect online to tap into (social network, online groups on Goodreads, Google, etc.) Truth is there is no one way to do it. While I want more attention for my book, I have no desire to be famous. I don’t think I’ll have to worry about the latter but I think as an introvert, don’t discount me quite yet.
I think it’s time for a little friendly promotion. I hope to do a free-run sometime either in April or May so stay tuned for any updates. You can catch the latest announcements/updates on my Facebook Page.