Six marketing tips for introverts – Jackie Bouchard
By Jackie Bouchard
I’m an introvert, as I suspect most writers are. We introverts sit happily alone, listening to the voices in our heads, getting it all down on paper. The birds are chirping, everything’s wonderful, and in the end we have a lovely book. Then comes time to market that book . . . and the dread sets in.♥
When it came to marketing my first novel, I started out looking like the dog looks when she realizes we’re on our way to the vet. Trying to sell my book felt like trying to sell me. As an introvert – in addition to being shy – I’ve never enjoyed selling myself. It was cold-sweat flashbacks of talking myself up in job interviews. (Shudder.) I felt that same “please don’t ask me to sing my own praises” dread all over again. But over the years, this old dog was able to learn some new tricks that make marketing more enjoyable. Hopefully they’ll work for you, too.
1. Change your mindset
Do you love the writing part of this business but detest the promotion part? I know haters gonna hate and all that, but what if you tried to stop hating marketing? I slowly trained myself to stop whining, “Ugh, I hate marketing!” If you keep telling yourself how much you despise promotion, it will always be a chore. Change your inner monologue: I may not be the best book marketer out there, but I’m doing what works for me. You never know . . . you might even start to enjoy it. Or at least parts of it.
2. Focus on connecting, not selling
As I mentioned, I hate to sell myself. (I mean, I may not be the best at selling myself, but . . .) Luckily, I realized I didn’t have to go on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog and shout: “My books are awesome! Buy ’em!” Instead, I focused on connecting with my ideal readers, and the process became fun. (Honestly, no one wants to see you post every single five-star review you get anyway.) Figure out who your ideal reader is and focus on things they’d be interested in. My books are about women and the dogs they love and learn from, so I focus my social media efforts on connecting with dog lovers. Talk to someone about me and my books? Er, uh, not so much… Talk to someone about our dogs? Heck yeah! Connecting with dog-loving people gets my Twitter profile, Facebook cover, or blog sidebar on their radar, and hopefully leads them to sniff out my books in a way that doesn’t make me want to hide under the bed.
The beauty of this new publishing world is that you don’t have to do things the same way authors did before, touring city-to-city and trying to get interviewed by the newspaper. Now, you can do the vast majority of your marketing online – while sitting at your desk in your ratty T-shirt and fuzzy socks. No one has to know you’re shy! They don’t have to know that you retyped that tweet five times because you wanted to get it just right. Online, no one can hear you stammer!
4. Plan a non-traditional event
Maybe you want to venture away from your desk and hold an event to celebrate the launch of your new book. (After all, having an event gives you a better chance of getting some coverage in the local media.) But, if the thought of standing in front of a room full of readers – or, worse yet, a mostly empty room – leaves you feeling dry-mouthed and nauseous, then think outside the typical author event. Plan something non-traditional where you can interact one-on-one with people, rather than stand up front and be the center of attention all night. For my new book’s launch, I’m thinking of having a “Yappy Hour” at a dog-friendly venue. If people bring their dogs, I’ll have a much easier time making small talk. (“Your dog’s so cute! Where’d you get him? What’s his name?”) Try to think if there’s a non-traditional spin you can put on your book. For example, if the main character is a chef, why not build an event around a cooking class?
5. Think stealth marketing
When I had bookmarks made, I envisioned myself chatting up the woman ringing up my groceries and handing her one. Yeah, delusional. (It’s not that I don’t chat with the clerks, it’s just that I’m too shy to work my novels into the conversation.) So I started leaving small stacks at coffee shops instead. Since my books are geared toward dog lovers, I even pinned a few to the community bulletin board at the dog park. No human interaction needed!
6. Don’t get overwhelmed
We’re writers. We want thousands of people read our words. It can be overwhelming to think of the number of books you need to sell when you’re first starting out, but somewhere I read a tidbit that makes me feel less intimidated: books sell one at a time. Go out there and connect with potential readers, one at a time. You can do that, right?!
I don’t know if anyone ever tried to calculate what percentage of time authors spend on writing versus marketing, but some days it feels like a fifty-fifty split. Since so much of our time is spent on promotion, we might as well learn to enjoy it. Learning to enjoy it can be like house training your puppy: there will be two steps forwards, then one step back; and sometimes you might step in something you wish you hadn’t. But patience and perseverance will pay off. Now, who’s a good marketer?! You are! Who deserves a cookie?! You do!
Jackie Bouchard, a USA Today bestselling author, writes what she calls Fido-friendly fiction: humorous and heartwarming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives. Bouchard has lived in Southern California, Canada, and Bermuda and now lives in San Diego with her husband and dog. Her novels include What the Dog Ate, House Trained, and Rescue Me, Maybe.