I’ll be forever grateful to Susan Cain for making introversion cool. Her book QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, helped millions of chatty extroverts understand why our culture’s preference for people-saturated experiences exhausts some of us. She gave an excellent Ted Talk, too. I finally felt celebrated! We introverts do have many skills! And someone was finally saying so! Yes! * fist pump, quietly, alone in room.*
Introversion is not uncommon among writers. Many of us are drawn to writing, at least in part, because it is a solitary and quiet activity. Which is great! But at the end of the day, those books must be marketed to reach their audiences—dun dun DUUUUN—and introverts often find marketing daunting and exhausting. It’s not that introverts are shy (although some of us are both—a double whammy!) but for us, interacting with people drains our energy, even if we’re enjoying ourselves.
Here are five things to keep in mind that will help smooth the road and allow even the most introverted of writers to succeed at marketing their books.
1) Play to Your Strengths
Choose low-people-interaction tools to be the bulk of your marketing. Consider writing (blogging, newsletter), podcasting where you can re-record over and over until you’re happy, and social media that doesn’t require immediate responses. And, yes, social media of some kind is a must, especially if you are just starting out. Luckily, you don’t have to be on ALL platforms. Choose two or three that you can do well. Great photographer or write for young people? Make sure Instagram is one of yours. Are you writing for women? Pinterest could be your jam. Some marketing strategies work best for extroverts such as book signings and public speaking, but there are plenty of less draining options that still reach plenty of people.
2) Know Your Limitations and Work With Them
Schedule the high demand stuff carefully and be realistic about limitations. Rehearse your pitch and bio until it’s down cold, so it’s less emotionally costly to chat about them. Practice before doing a public speech so you can concentrate less on your words and more on eye contract and staying relaxed. And be willing to say no and set boundaries. For example, I have learned I can’t spend all day at a school visit, not if I want to remain coherent or have anything to offer anyone later. Each class is wonderful, but as my energy drains away with each class period, I’m left gasping for air by the fourth class I speak to—and it shows. Better to only schedule half-day visits and do them well, rather than struggle through and hate going because I’m dead on my feet afterwards.
3) Make Time To Rest and Rejuvenate Yourself
It’s imperative for introverts. Think of it like putting the oxygen mask on yourself before your child in the event of a loss of cabin pressure. Extroverts might be physically tired after a long day of presenting or after a live radio interview, but people like my husband (super extroverted man!) will be amped up emotionally. Me? My head is literally buzzing with exhaustion and I have to crawl under my covers and sleep. So I will make sure things are set up so I can do just that.
4) Take risks… Wisely
- Does it feel scary? Then do it—you may find that once it’s done, you’ve actually survived. School talks? Check. Radio interview? Check. Live Video Hangout? Check. All of these robbed me of sleep and exhausted me afterward, but ultimately, were not as bad as I feared. And next time, maybe I will be even less afraid. However, here’s the catch. Don’t schedule too many people-saturated events in a row. If you are on tour or doing something where you can’t help being constantly surrounded by people, make sure you speak up for yourself to carve out time alone in your hotel afterward or to eat dinner alone in your room.
5) Know Your Goals and Work Toward Them Steadily
- Plan your goals and make them SMART: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Then break them into smaller actions that you can work through in a single sitting, preferably. Great resources abound on creating strong goals. I find that if I have a specific, measurable goal in mind, then it makes the hard stuff easier to tolerate.
In fact, in some ways, our very perceived weaknesses can be our marketing strengths.
- Remember, marketing is really all about connecting with others in an authentic manner, and sharing the love of books. We introverts can definitely do that, even if we aren’t doing it all the time! When I think about marketing in this way, it feels much less exhausting and fear-inducing. Remember your vision for your books and just DO IT…even if you do it quietly.
Any tips you’d like to offer? Answer in the comments or on social media, using the hashtag #5OnFri!
Amy writes fantasy stories for tweens and teens. She is a former reading teacher with her Masters in Library Science. As an Army kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters and are currently living in Germany, though they still call Texas home.
About MER-CHARMER ( World of Aluvia, Book Two)
To save her beloved merfolk from an ancient sea beast, 14-year-old Phoebe dives into the ocean and discovers her own magic. But when the beast decides she is the tastiest prey in the ocean, she must learn to control her wayward sea magic, earned at a shocking cost, or lose the very people she loves the most.