I’m an introvert! There, I said it. There were years I didn’t know it or couldn’t say it as it felt like I would be considered outside societal norms and relegated to a second-class citizen. This lack of self-esteem wasn’t because of a nasty school bully or a bad childhood home, but just the society and corporate atmosphere I lived in, and largely due to my own misinformation or lack of knowledge.
However, over time I researched, read books, talked with others and began to embrace my introversion. I realized my personality was not quirky or strange but was full of strengths which many introverts possess – creative, introspective, analytical, organized, loyal, and thoughtful. I also recognized that I was actually a functioning social person, though typically on my terms – in certain circumstances and time frames.
With such renewed personal strength, I retired from corporate America and returned to my teenage passion of writing. I’ve found introspective writing to be both therapeutic and inspirational. I had found my comfort zone after all these years…until I realized I must also market my book!
Most writers lump the writing life cycle into writing, publishing, and marketing. So why focus on marketing here today?
Rest assured, there are plenty of purveyors of sage advice for every stage. But writing is such a personal experience that, to an extent, each writer must find their own way. Publishing, and self-publishing in particular, is an especially enticing challenge for introverts, tapping our strengths and rewarding our fortitude and organizational skills. But marketing is the least natural phase for introverts and often the most overlooked by all writers.
Five reasons to remember marketing:
- This is the phase to connect writers and readers – to help convey our message, inspire, and sell books.
- Many writers think marketing tasks can be passed to publishers, especially if traditionally or hybrid published, but this is not the case.
- Marketing is the most broad and nebulous stage of the writing process and thus needs some further definition.
- There are thousands of people prepared to offer sage advice – well intentioned fellow writers, experienced consultants, and some unscrupulous “snake oil” salesmen. Lots of great input which I do encourage everyone to tap via books, podcasts, blogs and face to face meetings or conferences, but somehow, we must weed through this plethora of information to chart our own course.
- Thus, many people, perhaps especially introverts and/or shy people, find this process overwhelming. Their manuscript remains on their laptop or their published book is limited to the bookshelves of only family and friends.
But if we want to share our talents and voice to those hungry readers, we must find our approach to marketing that fits for us. So how do we tackle this?
1) Know yourself: as with much in life, happiness starts by knowing ourselves, our strengths and values, and striving to adhere to this guidance. Regarding book marketing, ask yourself:
- Why did I write my book?
- For whom did I write?
- Do I enjoy sales?
- Do I consider myself a motivational speaker?
- What are my sales aspirations?
- Is this book an entry way into my consulting/coaching business?
- Do I prefer writing vs. speaking?
- Do I like small group or large group engagements?
- What drives my passions?
- What makes me nervous?
- What’s my aspired work/life balance?
These reflections must be answered by you and you alone. This will help reveal what your true dreams are and what your comfort zone is regarding marketing.
2) Gather information far and wide. What is marketing? What are your options? Consider other authors – new and old, boisterous and quiet, and other business marketing models besides authors. My favorite resources:
a. F2F Engagement:
- Nonfiction Authors Association (NFAA)- local meetings, weekly teleseminars, semi-annual virtual conferences
- Local writing organizations and conferences
- Authors Marketing Guild (AMG)
- Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
- Association of Writers & Publishers (AWP)
- One-on-one discussions with a broad variety of authors
- The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan (Stephanie Chandler)
- The Shy Writer Reborn (C. Hope Clark)
- Smart Marketing for Indie Authors (Mike Kowis)
- The Author’s Guide to Marketing Books on Amazon (Rob Eagar)
- Speak without Fear (Ivy Naistadt)
- Take the Mystery out of Marketing your Book (P.M. Terrell)
c. Podcasts (new and old shows):
- Sell More Books Show (Cohen)
- Social Media Marketing (Stelzner)
- The Marketing Book Podcast (Burdett)
- The Self Publishing Show (Dawson)
- The Creative Penn (Penn)
- Go Publish Yourself (IngramSpark)
- Book Marking Show (Chesson)
- Book Launch Show (Grahl)
3) Filter all the information to form a marketing plan you believe in. There are literally a million marketing tactics. Many of these “experts” are adamant (“you must”) about their paths. I don’t really like that approach but rather than completely disregarding, I like to filter for the nuggets that fit my strengths and goals. You should do the same.
Through my own process, I concluded that I love to write. I find any writing helps improve my skills. On the other hand, my introversion and more so my shyness makes large speaking gigs numbing. Though many will insist you must speak…I believe we should do what you enjoy. Whatever that is, sharpen your skills and message, engage with others, and reap the benefits…your way!
It’s great to challenge ourselves to stretch, learn, and grow, but not to the extent that we dislike the process. Try something new every month or quarter, but give yourself permission to pass after trying if that approach isn’t right for you.
Given my preferences, I am focusing on these marketing approaches:
- Topical Website- not just about my book or myself
- Weekly Blog- centered around a theme for my target audience
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
- Book Endorsements
- Guest blogging
- Magazine articles
- Book launch party at home
- Guest podcasts (stretch)
- You Tube videos (stretch)
- TBA- leaving space for my next new tactic to try
Others may get energy from more public speaking and thus may replace some of these with a launch at bookstores, various speaking engagements where your readers can be found, or your own podcast…
Finally, we need to test our plan with our work/life balance goal. We could fill every minutes of every day, but it’s best to find a sustainable balance that satisfies our book marketing aspirations with our family life and other personal goals including work, exercise, hobbies, travel, volunteering etc.
Once we have an approach, organize:
- Use a spreadsheet with tactical tasks in rows and weeks in columns
- Note weeks we will schedule, prep, or execute each tactic
- Every Sunday, transfer next week’s activities to your planner (whether paper calendar or online organizing tool – I use OmniFocus).
This may sound tedious, but organization provides control which provides comfort, especially for many introverts.
Marketing can be an intimidating, stressful process for everyone. Introverts in particular may feel like we must wander too far from our comfort zone that we avoid marketing altogether. There is a better way. Your way.
Enjoy! Celebrate! Learn! Be Happy! Good luck.
Please check out my new book, In Search of Courage: An Introvert’s Struggle with Addictive Behaviors, as well as our website and weekly blogs at www.BeyondIntroversion.com
Steve Friedman grew up in a loving yet turbulent household in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from The University of Alabama with a major in Finance, Friedman worked 30 years in various logistics and trading leadership roles with Shell Oil. Besides living in Houston, Detroit, and London, Friedman has traveled worldwide through business trips and family vacations. In 2018, Friedman retired, ready to relax and focus on personal health and family connections. He has also rejuvenated his passion for introspective writing which has spawned In Search of Courage and other nonfiction projects. Besides nonfiction writing and blogging, Friedman enjoys running, reading, and family time. Friedman met his love, Jennifer, in Houston. Together, they have raised three amazing children, Gwendolyn, Madolyn, and Noah. They delight in cruising and hanging around the house together.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit for book marketing. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!