by Lesley-Anne Longo
Published at 2023-07-26
If you’re an introverted author, putting yourself out there in order to market your book can be incredibly intimidating. Self-promotion might feel uncomfortable and the idea of making sales will raise the question: Where do I start?
This applies to both indie authors and authors working with a traditional publisher. And, as we know, in today’s market, all authors are expected to participate in their own promotion.
So how can you do it? A first step is to re-evaluate how you think of marketing. This can open up new pathways of thinking about becoming involved with marketing your book. Many people think “marketing” and automatically think of sales tactics, pressure, and a “sales-y” persona. But marketing doesn’t have to be that way.
At its core, marketing is simply connecting with like-minded people. Reframing marketing as the process of interacting with people who are interested in the same things you are can make the idea more approachable and less overwhelming.
If that sounds like something you can get on board with, read on for some tips on how you can market as an introvert!
Use introversion as a power tool, instead of being told it’s a drawback! Focus that power where it will do you the most good, and try to form deeper connections with a few people, instead of exhausting yourself trying to interact with a crowd.
Pick out two or three people you would like to make a connection with (or deepen an existing connection). Try setting up a coffee meet-up with them, or write them a handwritten note (you could tell them how they have helped or encouraged you).
When you show genuine care and interest, people will want to mirror that energy right back at you, and will hopefully take any chance they get to spread the word about your book.
If you are having a book launch for your book, invite authors you know, book review editors from local magazines and newspapers, as well as friends and family.
If you’ve been invited to do a reading, be sure to send out the details of when and where to your network.
Making the decision to write a book was probably a pretty big leap for you, right? You probably felt nervous to get started, your hands might have shaken a little as you typed out that first page. Butterflies might have started a dance party in your stomach. But you pushed through that fear and sat down and wrote that book anyway.
Part of doing something that scares you is just deciding to make the jump without worrying what will happen, without letting your thoughts scare you into submission.
So, if you can, try to find a way to turn those nerves into feelings of excitement. Take the fear and mould it into a feeling of power by remembering the last time you felt that fear and did the darn thing anyway!
You’ve felt that fear before and have come out the other side as a more powerful, more experienced, more accomplished person. So, the next time you want to, say, record a little vlog for your social media, and you feel nervous, think back to that version of you who felt the fear and, instead of giving into it, sat down and got to work.
If the idea of promoting your book has you squirming a bit, why not try to reframe it as promoting yourself?
Promote who you are, your personality and quirks, and work to have would-be readers get to know who you are as a person.
You can start with social media. If you don’t have a blog on your author website, try writing some short blogs in your own personal voice—about what books you are currently reading or about your writing experience. You can even talk about how you researched your book. Just pretend you’re writing a short letter to a friend, and let your personality shine through.
If you’re interested in trying out vlogging or creating video content, create a TikTok account. Check out the BookTok community and see how you can get involved. You can start by just commenting on bookish videos that interest you. Once you’ve built up some confidence, try recording a short intro video for your account!
Don’t forget to send out your book to possible reviewers. Traditional publishers do this automatically. If you are an indie author, do a bit of research to build a list. Be sure to include book review editors at magazines, journals, and newspapers.
Consider each review editor and do your research—do they only review certain genres? What are their preferences? Put the time in to ensure your list of potential reviewers gives you the best possible chance of scoring a review.
Write up a punchy cover letter outlining your book and why the editor would enjoy reading it. And try using your introverted nature as a strength—imagine ways you can personalize each letter, or something you can add to grab the reviewer’s attention. Perhaps a quirky add-on that has to do with the subject matter of your book could be fun.
One way to build connections is to become involved in author/reader communities and show up for others in the same way you’re hoping people will show up for you.
Here are some ideas to try out. Leave comments on the posts of other indie authors or authors you admire. Share content posted by people you want to connect with. Buy another author’s book and post a short review on your blog. You can share the review on your social media and tag the author so they know about it.
Attend book launches! I know, I know, they can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know anyone. But you don’t need to go for the whole event! If an author you admire is launching their new book in a public venue, go, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Attend readings at your local library or at author festivals in your area.
When you do go to an event, you can make it a goal to make a connection with just one person. It can be the author who is launching their book, or another attendee. You never know who you might happen to sidle up next to at the bar, so try putting yourself out there and use boundaries that are comfortable for you.
If you show up for others, they will remember you. And chances are they will want to repay the favour.
Being organized on social media can be a huge benefit as an introverted book marketer. You can create and add to a list of content ideas and topics that inspire you. Then when you are feeling stuck, you have something to refer to.
You can also carve out a couple of hours each week to plan and schedule your content in advance. That way, you don’t need to keep obsessively checking social media feeds to find content to react to.
If you plan your posts in advance, you can rest easy knowing you have content going out. When you get a comment or a share, you can respond right away and keep the conversation going.
Remember, you don’t have to use all the platforms! If you like text-based and casual, try Twitter. If you prefer more visuals, try Instagram. Dip your toes in over at TikTok and see how you feel.
Different platforms will appeal to different people for different reasons. It is important that you find the one that feels like a good fit for you. Then you can decide how you want to use that platform.
Focus on quality over quantity (in terms of content and posting) as you get started, and experiment!
For more great tips on social media for writers and authors, check out our resource guide, Social Media for Writers.
When it comes to promotion, use what you already know. If there is something you already know how to do, a skill you have, think of how you can apply it to help with promoting your book. And it doesn’t always have to be “social media.” What other ways can you promote your work?
You can start, of course, with writing. You can offer to write a guest blog on a site that relates to your book topic. You can write a piece for a website that promotes your book and your name as well. Start with popular websites that are geared toward authors and writers. Maybe you used a specific trick to help you slog through a particularly difficult chapter. Maybe you created an interesting writing habit that inspired you when you needed motivation. Share those experiences!
Writing on your book topic is great, but don’t forget, you can write about the process of writing as well, and share what worked for you with others.
You can land a few freelance gigs as well and include your book title in your byline.
Just consider your skills and interests outside of writing. If you love to cook and are experienced in the kitchen, maybe you can come up with a fun recipe (a snack, a drink, a dessert, etc.) that has to do with your book’s content. You can share it on your author website, or even reach out to other outlets to see if they would be interested.
If you have experience from the business world, skills like running a meeting or creating educational content, consider how you can apply those skills. Could you create some free resources about writing and post them on your author website? Or host an FAQ on either the topic of writing or the topic of your book?
Remember, starting is the hardest part! So, just start with putting yourself out there—even a tiny bit. Feel the momentum of your efforts and acknowledge your bravery. And make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s okay to take breaks!
Once you get started, you’ll notice that you develop a little bit of confidence with every step you take. Like many introverted authors, once you get the marketing venture started, you’ll find it gets a little bit easier every day.
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