Wednesday, June 26, 2013

7 Secrets to Loving Book Promotion (Even If You're an Introvert)

by  Toni Tesori, @Duolit

Do you consider yourself an introvert?

If so, you’re definitely not alone. Over eighty percent of writers (myself included!) belong to that group. In the world at large, however, we’re outnumbered three-to-one by our extroverted brethren. 

When it comes to writing, this works out perfectly. Crafting your story is, after all, a solitary task. Lots of time alone to think, plan, get creative – all things we introverts excel at!

But what the task that comes after you type that final sentence? What happens when the time comes (shudder) to promote your work?

I can see your recoil through the screen!
I completely understand your hesitation. The vast majority of marketing advice seems to be written for the more extroverted among us, those who don't mind sharing their work and expounding on its virtues.

I don’t know about you, but that concept makes me feel a little bit queasy. I’ll never feel comfortable with the “here’s my awesome book, check it out!” mindset.

I’m willing to bet that you feel the same way.

And that’s a big problem.
Because, when you start out with a negative perception of book promotion, you’ll have a hard time forcing yourself to work at it. And if you don’t promote your work at all, the odds of your having the writing career of your dreams are (sadly) slim to none.

Luckily for us introverts, there is a way we can promote our work with confidence AND actually have a little bit of (*gasp*) fun at the same time!

Sounds pretty good, huh? 

Icky Feeling, Begone!
Using the self-promotion secrets I outline below, you’ll build a book marketing habit you can stick with, all while working with (instead of against) your introverted nature.

Ready to get started?

Secret #1: Change Your Marketing Definition
Before we can get into real promotional tactics, we must first be on the same page about what book marketing really is. If you’re anything like me, the word “marketing” brings to mind either (1) sleazy used car salesman or (2) manipulative Mad Men-esque advertising execs. Neither one a positive image, right?

Just for a moment, erase those sketchy tactics and flashy hype out from your mind. Let’s redefine what self-promotion really means. 

When you promote your book, all you’re doing is sharing your work with folks who will (hopefully!) love it. That’s it! No coercion, hype or pressure required. 

Thinking of it that way takes much of the “scary” out of book marketing, doesn’t it?

Secret #2: See Your Readers as People
Trying to figure out how to reach a nameless, faceless blob of 18-34 year-old women (or whoever makes up your target market) can be, at the very least, a bit overwhelming. 

How do you what appeals to them? How do you even find them? The task feels so insurmountable that  turning to those “me me me!” self-promotion tactics seems your only option.

Luckily, your results can be just as effective when, instead of trying to figure out a huge segment of readers, you narrow your focus to individual members of your target market. A great way to do this is by creating profiles of individual readers, almost like characters in your book.

Then, when you try to figure out how to reach your readers, you can have a mental conversation with a single reader, which is way easier than trying to figure out thousands at once!

Secret #3: Slow Down
While I know you’re eager to see your sales start climbing as soon as possible, don’t let that panic make you rush into uncomfortable book marketing territory. 

Instead, slow down. 

Build up your comfort level with marketing one day at a time.

Focus on a single task (such as building a mailing list or creating an author blog) for a bit and, only when you feel comfortable, move onto the next.

Book promotion isn’t a race. There are (and will be) many winners. By slowing down, you build your fanbase naturally and prevent burnout. Which is important because…

Secret #4: Be Consistent
When it comes to building your readership, consistency is far more important than intensity. 

Far too often, authors feel the need to take on the gamut of book promotion possibilities at once; that if they can’t build a website, Facebook fan page, GoodReads page, mailing list and Twitter following all at the same time, they are doomed to certain failure.

As a result, they feel obligated to spend hours every single day working on book marketing (because how else would you ever be able to fit all of that stuff in?)

It’s no wonder so many of us end up suffering from book promotion burnout!

I hereby give you permission to stop that madness. Just slowing down and focusing your efforts will get you to the same end result, so will being consistent.

I’d much rather you find a promotion schedule you can stick with for the long term (even if it’s only 15 or 30 minutes at a time, a few days a week) than throw yourself into something unsustainable.

If you’re wondering how you can get anything done in such short bursts, check out my Bowflex Method (silly name, but a popular post)!

Secret #5: Find Your Motivation
Love her or hate her, fitness celebrity Jillian Michaels certainly is popular here in America, and she has this piece of advice that I absolutely love: “Find your Why. Because when you have a significant Why, you can tolerate any How.”

I know she’s not the first person to come up with this concept, but I think it’s a really important point for authors as well. 

Ask yourself: Why are you publishing your work? Why are you building your fanbase? What ideal outcome do you want to achieve?

With the right motivation, book promotion becomes just another step in the writing process, moving you toward the success you desire.

Secret #6: Step Back and Observe
Book promotion feels very action-oriented, but for us introverts, it’s important to have time to chill out. To reflect. To recharge.

Even when you need to step back from marketing, you can still make that time away useful. 

Use the time to reflect on the promotional tactics you’ve been working on and make some observations: what’s working? What isn’t? How much progress have you made?

As an added bonus, seeing how far you’ve come is another great motivator!

The Final Secret: Don't Take it Too Seriously
While everything I’ve said above is solid advice, this might just be the best of all: don’t take this whole book marketing thing too seriously.

I won’t argue that promotion is extremely important (I love me some book marketing, y’all), but it’s also important to see it for what it really is: fun!

Book marketing is a celebration of the finished product you spent months, years, decades of your life creating. You’re connecting with people who will fall in love with the story you created, the characters you dreamed up, the worlds you’ve described. What could be more fun than that?

Talk Back
Do you consider yourself an introvert? Does the idea of book promotion give you the heebie-jeebies? Did any of the advice above make you excited to build your fanbase? Let’s chat in the comments!

Toni Tesori is one half of Duolit, two gals who help passionate fiction authors sell more books by building their crazy-dedicated fanbase. If you're ready to stop dreading and start loving the process of book promotion, check out their FREE Weekend Book Marketing Makeover, a guided workbook that jumpstarts your fanbase-building efforts in just two days!