Introverts vs. Book Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and advertising interest me, but I’m not sure I’d be a great marketer even for my own books, which is, of course, a disadvantage. Even traditional New York City publishers require authors to do much of the marketing on their own. Introverts aren’t all that great at putting themselves or their work in the public eye – and that’s a big hurdle to get over in the journey toward publication.

There’s a fine line to walk in marketing: being pushy versus not revealing enough information about the book. Nobody wants to be one of those people who constantly inserts, “And by the way I have a book out. It’s about vampire squirrels and you can buy it at Amazon!” at the end of every conversation or blog post.

I find it very hard to tell others about my work because I hate to be seen as one of those bragging people. Luckily, social media and blogging have made it a bit easier for introverts to spread the word about their works and find an audience. It also helps to give away free stuff and try to help others out by helping them to promote their own work. (It’s much easier for me to brag about someone else’s work than my own.) Eventually, the “karma” may come back around, and if you’re in need of help with marketing/promotion, then others will be more inclined to help you since you helped them. (The norm of reciprocity!)

In a way, I think that if you’re smart about it and plan your marketing/promotion strategies well, your book will eventually find its audience. If the book is of good enough quality (production quality, writing style, and editorial quality) and you know the right words to say about it as you’re promoting it online (or wherever), people will become interested and want to read it – or at least give you some constructive criticism on it.

How do you promote your books? Are you shy or hesitant about it?

14 thoughts on “Introverts vs. Book Marketing and Promotion

  1. Good morning and good point. You could be the most talented writer in the world but without the ability to promote your book and be proactive talent will not mean a thing.
    For me, since I have nothing published I am trying to build a platform side by side my writing progress. It gives me a head start so even if my followers are not interested they can still pass along the word for me.
    In reality I am super shy about putting myself out there. I want to be liked and not deal with a bunch of whiny people who have no empathy but at the same time it is not my problem if people don’t like my writing. I do it cause I love it.

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    1. That’s what I think, too. In the long run, I don’t care if nobody likes what I write or if I only get a small audience. I write because I enjoy it and I can’t imagine life without writing.

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  2. Kristen Lamb ends virtually every one of her blog posts with:

    “I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.”

    http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/the-doctor-is-in-the-house%e2%80%93novel-diagnostics/

    I see nothing wrong with promoting our efforts to any potential audience . . . especially if we feel our words have worth. 😀

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    1. What’s awful is that I’ve actually been tempted to buy her books because I constantly see that ad every time I read her blogs. The advertising definitely works, but the thing that turns me off about it is that it’s so manipulative.

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  3. Excellent post. Yes, I hate to feel like I’m one of “those bragging people.” If this means I sacrifice some sales, that’s fine. And I don’t think this reflects on my feeling about the value of my work (if anything, I am probably more pleased with my work than it really deserves).

    I think I will write about this on my blog this week, because this connects with some things I’ve seen on other blogs this week. I think the best plan is, as you say, to do the things that you’re comfortable doing — but always be willing to experiment to find out what those things are. For example, as I commented on another blog recently, I am an introvert and always have been, but I have no trouble with performing on stage and public speaking (two things that usually aren’t associated with introverts). If I hadn’t tried them, I would have assumed they weren’t for me.

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    1. That’s interesting because there are some things I do that aren’t typical “introvert behavior.” Maybe it’s all about moving away from your comfort zone to determine what’s easy for you that you never thought would be easy.

      By the way, I got my copy of A Sane Woman and I’m looking forward to reading it soon! Thank you! 🙂

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  4. I don’t have much to promote right now, since I haven’t published anything. However, I started my blog because I heard writers should start platforms as early as possible (I’ve since heard contradictory advice, but no matter. I like my blog).

    Once I do publish something, I’ll probably use Twitter, my blog, and possibly Facebook. But I’m not going to do something like Kristen Lamb has done, because honestly that annoys me. It’ll be more about being a presence, and available, and making real connections with real people. I don’t plan on spamming people with links to my site or reviews of my book or anything like that. I’m an introvert, too, but all this stuff is easier online than it would be in person.

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    1. Same here. My blog will eventually be part of my platform, but that’s not for a long time! Nothing I have is even remotely close to being published. And yes, promotion is definitely easier online. It somehow feels less intrusive.

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  5. Thankfully there are some subtle ways to get your name out there and bring some attention to yourself. Take your blog for instance, you update often with rich material that draws people here and keeps them coming back, and word of mouth will spread it around. There is also a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of situation. This way you can get others spreading the word around as well. Though I guess when you get to the big leagues its a bit more complicated. And I have a hard enough time as it is. I’m not very good at self promotion. It’s something I’ll have to eventually work on.

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    1. I find blogging easy – and helping others out is easy too, but as you say, “the big leagues” tend to worry me. I’m not quite what to do when/if I get to that point.

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  6. Great blog post! I am an unfortunate introvert, but blogging and social networking has made such a difference in how i communicate to people. I still struggle with face to face communication and as i’m trying to get a job in publishing, i’m literally facing my biggest challenge! Sales and marketing arent my ideal sectors as an introvert but i’m pushing myself to do it anyway!

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    1. I’m in pretty much your exact situation; trying to get a job in publishing and having to get over the hurdle of face-to-face communication. It’s so much easier to type up a message online.

      Good luck to you!

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