Book marketing for introverts
Congratulations! You’re a published author. Phew, what you have been through to get to this stage, right? Whether you self-published or worked closely alongside an agent or publishing house, whether you have an eBook or physical book, your story is out there… waiting to be discovered, waiting to be read.
So, now what? Many writers spend so much time agonizing over their fictional characters, the words within the pages, the cover image, the publication date, the launch. But what comes next, apart from the story itself, is probably the most important part of publishing a book and that is… MARKETING.
Simply mentioning this word can strike fear in even the boldest of people but what if you’re an introvert or you suffer from anxiety? Self-promotion can seem like a daunting process and knowing that marketing can be time consuming and hard work before you’ve even started, might go against your natural tendency to be quiet and reserved. So, before you give up, I wanted to break it down into easy-to-manage steps for even the most bashful of authors. Here are my 5 tips for making the process of book marketing less anxiety-inducing and maybe even a little fun!
Comparison is not your friend
Does the idea of scrolling Instagram fill you with dread? Is Pinterest more Pin-trifying than Pin-tastic? In the world of social media, it can be easy to compare yourself with bestselling authors whose social media pages and blogs paint a rosy picture of how they ‘have it all’. But what beautifully laid-out feeds and swanky-looking blogs don’t necessarily show is the years of networking, hours of content creating and quite possibly expensive marketing budgets or book agents that it took to get them where they are today.
The idea is not to keep up with the James Patterson’s of the fiction world but rather, get inspiration from the authors you admire and then ask, “How can I create content like them but in my own way?”
Believe it or not, social media can be a useful tool for Introverts. It lets you take a glimpse, from behind-the-scenes, of what other writers are doing. Then, once you have an idea of what you would like to create, you can set about learning the key skills needed to create your own online offering or put a daily habit in place to make it more enjoyable rather than fear-inducing.
Start small… choose 3 authors who have a similar set-up to what you would like to achieve. Now ask yourself some simple questions. Love their blog posts? Why? What are they writing that resonates with you? Love the look of their Instagram feed? Why? Are the colours in their feed light or dark? Is the feed motivational or informative?
2. Make your ‘Ideal Customer’ your friend
Marketers often talk about identifying your Ideal Customer or your ‘Customer Avatar. But, as an author, how do you set about working out who your ONE customer is in a world of billions of people and how does this help you as an introvert?
Firstly, let’s tackle the question of ‘Why?’
Whether you’re just starting out with your book marketing on social media or you already have social media accounts for your author profile but feel overwhelmed with what you can offer your audience, knowing WHO you are marketing to can help make an overwhelming task more manageable and in turn; enjoyable. You need to pin your Ideal Customer down to one persona and one persona only. This may sound limiting but the reality is that if you can pitch to that one demographic, and pitch well, it will snowball across other types of people and your readership, followers and in turn customers will increase as a result of your on-point marketing efforts.
Before you can market your book, you need to know who you will be selling it to. Is it primarily for females or males? Are they 35 or 65? Where would the person who reads your book shop? Do they have a family or do they travel frequently? Are they a Gin at the weekend type of person or a coffee with friends type of person? Narrowing down your Ideal Customer in this way will allow you to create content for that one person. Now, writing for one person seems a whole lot easier than writing for the masses, doesn’t it? Use this new found insight to create content for that one person. Give them a name, talk to them as if you are friends. Speak familiarly but kindly, offer words of advice and experience, share your stories and most important of all, do all the above as if you are talking to a dear friend. That friendship will reward you in more ways than you can imagine.
What would your Ideal Customer like to see from you? Try exploring authors who write books in your genre to gauge what your potential audience may be interested in. This gives you tailor-made road map for where to concentrate your book marketing. Look at blog comments to see what your potential readers think of the content. Browse similar books to yours on Amazon and read the reviews. What are your Ideal Customers saying? Can you create content that answers their questions? Creating rich content takes time to figure out. Start small and make a list of what YOUR Ideal Customer would like to see, read, interact with and share and then create it. Start each social media post, blog or email by asking the question ‘Would my Ideal customer’ like this?
Your Ideal Customer is the key to your book marketing success. Knowing exactly who your Ideal Customer is and focusing on speaking to just that one ‘friend’ rather than thousands, is a game-changer and makes the whole process of content creation a lot less intimidating.
3. Focus on your ‘Why’
So many authors feel uncomfortable promoting their book and as a result their readership, engagement and effectively their book sales suffer. Over the years, I have met many authors who need help with their book marketing. And the first thing we always look at together, is their online profiles. Nine times out of ten we find that in a one-year period they barely mentioned their book if at all. That’s one whole year of lost marketing opportunities. One whole year of no one knowing that they had even written a book and let’s be honest perhaps one whole year of barely any new followers, likes, discussions or dare I say it, online book sales.
But I want to enlighten you with the fact that marketing is simply the act of connecting with people who are interested in the same things you are. It’s as simple and easy as that. It shouldn’t be about the book sales, that comes as a result of the positive connections you make online. So, how do you do that? By focusing on what you love: writing! Sometimes we get caught up in all the hype and forget our original purpose for writing our books. For many of us the purpose is to help or educate others first.
What is the purpose for your book? Is it to entertain, engage, inform or to strike ’change’ in the world? Why do you do what you do? If you’re a full time writer relying on your book sales as your only source of income, the first “why” is likely because you need customers and income. But you need to think deeper if you’re going to stop your marketing from sounding too ‘salesy’. Which, let’s face it, is a big concern for introverts when marketing their book! Why did you start writing? How do you write? How do you aim to help people? How are you making a difference? How are your customers lives better because they bought your product? Start with the ‘why’ and focus on educating your customers.
The point of marketing is not to convince people to buy your book. It’s to help you find the people who need your book. Don’t create something for everyone. Create something for someone; your Ideal Customer.
4. Keep it simple
There are many people out there telling you, you need to show up every day to make an impact. And whilst that is true to a certain degree, quality over quantity overrules. It has been proven that:
Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published zero to four monthly. - HubSpot, 2015
However, if you do not have the time to post 16+ blog post each month (and let’s be honest, who does?) it is also true that:
Over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts - HubSpot, 2016
A compounding blog post is a high-quality post, one that perhaps offers information, advice or freebies, and is one that you use time and time again on your social media platforms. Now, you want to keep offering the information that is within the post but it needs to look new and refreshing to existing visitors on your website so, perhaps you change the post image and description to freshen it up but you essentially reinvent the wheel and re-post that blog article time and time again. This means less time spent creating NEW content and more organic reach from search engine results.
To sum up; spend more time creating quality content for your Ideal Customer and use that content to reach people repeatedly. Reinvent the wheel, don’t reinvent yourself!
5. Learn something new
It is a well-known fact that successful entrepreneurs’ credit ‘continual learning’ to their overall success.
It is also true, that fear may be what is holding you back from achieving your author dreams. Fear of the unknown, fear of taking a risk, fear of people discovering you’re an impostor (I think many authors have fallen at this hurdle!) but fear, as with insecurity, can be conquered if we increase our knowledge of the world and how ‘it’ and ‘we’ work.
Depending on your free time, look to set aside one hour a day or two evenings in the week to learn something new that will make your book marketing less scary. For example, love YouTube video but hate to see yourself on camera? Practice filming yourself speaking but don’t publish your videos. Use them as practice runs to gain confidence in seeing yourself on the camera. Perhaps you realise that your voice isn’t quite as high-pitched as you thought or maybe your quirky fringe looks cool on camera and so you become more comfortable with the idea of posting video content online.
There are some great resources out there that can help you learn a new skill set that will in turn help with your book marketing but our favourite is:
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Marketing your book can feel like an impossible task and often it’s not even something that authors took into consideration when they set about writing their first novel. But no one expects you to be the master of all trades and the great thing about today’s technology means that we have access to thousands of tools online. What you can’t do today, you can certainly learn tomorrow!
Take one or all five of the tips above and try to incorporate them into your ongoing marketing strategy. Rome wasn’t built in a day but as Zig Ziglar said:
“YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE GREAT TO START, BUT YOU HAVE TO START TO BE GREAT.”