When you have to market your book, but you’re an introvert – Sarahlyn Bruck

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By Sarahlyn Bruck

My story: I’m a classic introvert. I don’t consider myself shy. I love being around other people very much, but find it draining. My time alone is where I get my energy and how I recharge my batteries. So I’m learning to manage how to expend that energy and how to do it in an efficient way.♥

Often this means I get anxious and nervous before events. If let myself get too wrapped up in that anxiety, it can tank my interview or reading or presentation—or at least, that becomes my perception. A badly perceived performance can make me want to avoid those experiences in the future. It’s a vicious circle. This means I’m not sharing my work as widely as I want, which is counterproductive.

Book promotion requires writers to reach out and connect with readers, reviewers, event hosts, and other writers. So how do you put energy into all of this outreach and still leave room for energy for everything else? Like … writing your next book? Keeping your day job? Staying connected to family life?

First, figure out where you’re most comfortable.

Is it in front of a large auditorium? Some people like the anonymity of a large crowd and the fact that they can’t pick out Aunt Gertrude sitting in the front row. The thought of speaking in front of a large, auditorium-sized crowd is making me sweat RIGHT NOW. As a debut author, no one is knocking down my door for events of that size, but I know they’re out there and I know authors who like speaking in those venues.

I prefer smaller crowds, where I feel I can make a connection. I teach college English, so a classroom size space is familiar and a place where I feel in charge. A small, short reading and Q&A at a library or bookstore would probably be fine. An author panel at a conference would be fine. Are you more comfortable with one-on-one interactions? Maybe with readers who just want a small chat and maybe to have their books signed? Book fairs, my friend. Book fairs. Get yourself a table, put out some swag and/or chocolate and just chill for the day.

Remember, you’re in control. Pick and choose your mediums — you don’t have to do everything live.

That’s what the internet is for. And you don’t have to be all things social media, either. Pick the one or two you like or at least feel most comfortable with and go with those. For me, I like Facebook and Instagram the most. I dabble in Twitter, but it feels like shouting into a void for me, so I’m not on it regularly. I don’t understand Pinterest. And I’m sure I’m not even aware of anything else the kids are using these days.

Or how about the phone? Do you hate having to make a call to ask if their bookstore would be willing to host a reading for you? Me too. Email is your friend, here. It’s a great way to reach out and ask for what you want without spacing on why you called and forgetting what you wanted to say.

OK, so now you’re getting comfortable with taking control and doing what feels most comfortable. But it’s still scary! I get it. When you’re putting yourself out there, it’s hard not to feel vulnerable. This is when I remind myself to make it about the work, not me — hopefully, you’re really excited about your project. That alone can get even the most socially awkward among us out there to share our work. It’s far easier to talk about the stuff we’re passionate about.

Still feels scary? Trick yourself (aka, fake it ‘til you make it).

Instead of dreading, tell yourself you’re “excited,” that you’re looking forward to the event. That’s what I tell myself before any moment where I’m putting myself out there. I’m excited to be here. This is going to be fun. I’m looking forward to this. And you know what? Most of the time it works out. I DO have fun.

But in the end, what if I embarrass myself? Or faint? Or fart? Or say something dumb? Or, oh god, blank and say nothing? Geez, as long as you don’t cause anyone actual suffering, odds are, whatever happened will be forgotten tomorrow. Fact is, we’re all caught up in our own private little worlds… So for me, I try to remember that, that way I can just get over myself. Yeah, it’s true.

So you messed up? You were nervous and your voice shook the entire reading? No one cares. Your mouth was dry the entire interview? Doesn’t matter. You tripped on your way to the podium? Hope you didn’t hurt yourself, but probably no one even noticed. But if they did? So what? They’ll most likely forget all about it once they start going over their grocery shopping list in their heads on the way to the parking lot. Point is, these things happen and WILL happen, but that’s not what they’ll remember. More likely they’ll remember a writer who cared enough about her work to show up and share.

And when it’s over, don’t forget to take time to decompress.

Take a break. Make time to do what you do to recharge those batteries. Yoga? Meditation? Long walks? Naps? Netflix and the couch? Whatever it is, do it, especially when you’re putting yourself out there more than usual. You deserve a reward.

Sarahlyn Bruck writes contemporary women’s fiction and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of Designer You, published by Crooked Cat Books on August 31, 2018. Sarahlyn teaches writing and literature at a local community college and also coaches writers for Author Accelerator. Designer You is Sarahlyn’s debut, and she is hard at work on her next book.


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