Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Promotion for Introverts

Copyright © Susan Lyons

Originally published by 1st Turning Point
I’m an introvert, which surprises a number of people who don’t know me well. They say I’m outgoing, sociable, even perky. W
ll, yes, I can be. But I’m actually more comfortable all alone with a good book.
It’s not that introverts don’t like people, but we tend to prefer being with them one at a time, and not for long periods of time. Introverts get energy from being alone; being with people (no matter how nice) tends to drain us. Extroverts are the opposite. Of course there’s a continuum of introversion-extroversion, and most of us don’t fall at either extreme.
When you consider how to promote yourself, your writing, and your brand, either before or after you’re published, it’s helpful to know where on the continuum you fall. You’ll find promotional methods that are suited to your personality. They’re likely to be effective because you’ll feel comfortable doing them, and they won’t stress you out and drain your energy. However, it’s not a good idea to simply settle back in your comfort zone and never extend yourself to try new things. If I can learn to be perky, so can a lot of other introverts!
Here are some promo/marketing techniques that suit most introverts:
  • Creating an informative, attractive website and keeping it updated.
  • Creating promo items and mailing them to conferences, stores, reader groups, etc.
  • Collecting subscriber names and sending out an e-newsletter, postcards, etc.
  • Entering contests (which provide industry exposure and give you something to post on your website and elsewhere).
  • Writing articles for writing magazines, Chapter newsletters, special interest magazines.
  • Placing ads.
  • Requesting reviews.
  • Giving away free stories on your website.
  • Blogging and social networking (unless you find even electronic contact to be stressful and draining).
  • Holding contests at your website, blog, or guest blog.
  • Participating in online loops and forums for writers and non-writers with common interests.
(No, I’m not saying you should do all these things. Choose the techniques that appeal to you and suit your time and budget, and bear in mind that you’re not trying to sell one book, but instead, trying to promote your brand and build a career.)
When you do introvert-style promotion, try to make your contact personal as well as professional and informative. This doesn’t mean you should post pictures of your kids on your website, but do put some personality into what you say. When you send out a mailing, send a cover letter. And of course, make sure the personality you convey matches your brand (e.g., if you write dark vampire romance, don’t have a humorous website or cover letter).
So far, so good. You’re probably feeling pretty comfortable. Well, now I’m going to ask you to step outside your comfort zone and grow a little. No, don’t dive into the deep end of extrovert promotion (e.g., give a solo talk to 300 local businesswomen), but start taking baby steps.
You’re a writer; you know about character arc. We expect our heroines and heroes to confront their fears and issues and grow into stronger, better people. Don’t expect anything less from yourself.
The more you practice behavior you’re uncomfortable with, the easier it will become. Learn and practice relaxation techniques (e.g., deep breathing, positive affirmations). Rehearse at home alone. Consider taking a course (e.g., public speaking, media interviews). Read up on systematic desensitization.
Talking to strangers is one thing that holds us back from extrovert activities like attending conferences, speaking at the library, and doing book signings. We fear we won’t know what to say and we’ll make fools of ourselves. That’s a very “me” focus. What about focusing on them instead? Even though you’re an introvert, you’re probably interested in people. I doubt you’d be writing if you weren’t. So, ask the person next to you what they write (at a writing conference) or what they like to read (at a signing). Then listen (i.e., focus on them, rather than on you) and ask a follow-up question. They’ll think you’re a brilliant conversationalist!
Here’s a trick I use when I’m facing an event that scares me. I tell myself it’s only a couple of hours out of my life. Even if it’s horrible, what’s the big deal? I’ll live through it. And I’ll feel proud of myself for having had the guts to face it.
Rewards are good, too. Often, a nice conversation is your reward, but the reality is, sometimes it really will be horrible! If so, there’s always chocolate and a good book.
And don’t beat up on yourself if you just can’t break out of your shell today (change is hard!); gently remind yourself to try again tomorrow.
Set goals and start small. At your local Chapter, chat with new members at the coffee break (they’ll likely be more nervous than you, and incredibly grateful to you). Get together with a couple of other authors to present an interactive workshop (so you don’t just stand there, head down, reading notes). Participate in a group signing at your local store and invite your friends and family.
You may never feel 100% comfortable doing extrovert activities, but your comfort level will grow.
A word of caution. For an extrovert, going to a conference and meeting a bunch of strangers, doing pitch appointments, and presenting workshops is an energizing experience. For an introvert, it’s the opposite. It’s likely to be draining and exhausting. When you plan an extrovert activity, allow time afterward to relax on your own and recharge your batteries. If you’re at a conference, try to schedule some alone time each day.
So, here’s my challenge: be the heroine (or hero) in your own story and take those baby steps out of your introvert comfort zone. For every two steps forward you may take one back, but your comfort level will grow and you’ll get better and better at doing those extrovert-type promo activities.

This is a topic dear to my heart, being an introvert myself. But I love hearing from other introverts too! Get out of your comfort zone and leave a comment about your promotion experiences. And don't forget to check out our new book promo specials for December at

Award-winning author Susan Lyons, who also writes as Susan Fox and Savanna Fox, writes “emotionally compelling, sexy contemporary romance” (Publishers Weekly). She is currently published by Kensington (the Caribou Crossing Romances) and Berkley (the Dirty Girls Book Club series), and has also self-published her first book. Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor.

“I loved this book. It’s the perfect sweep-you-away story—smart, sexy, funny and touching, set in a beautifully rendered place in the west. Susan Fox delivers an unforgettable read” (Susan Wiggs).
Best friends Evan Kincaid and Jess Bly always knew the future would take them in opposite directions. She’d remain in Caribou Crossing with the horses she loved, and he’d make it big in the Big Apple. No hard feelings when, after one mind-blowing night of passion, he split town. Right? Now Evan’s back, reluctantly, and both he and Jess are hiding huge trust-destroying secrets. The attraction between them is more powerful than ever, but when the truth comes out, can country girl and city boy risk a second chance at love? The Caribou Crossing Romances: Caribou Crossing (June 2013), Home on the Range (Aug 2013), Gentle on My Mind (Sep 2013), Stand by Your Man (July 2014), Love Me Tender (Dec 2014).

No comments:

Post a Comment