Being an introverted writer isn’t easy. Although you work well alone and you love to read and write, you detest attending functions where you don’t know most of the attendees. Yet unless you become more comfortable talking to people you just met, how will you be successful in your marketing efforts?
Personally, I don’t know whether I was born an introvert or my stuttering pulled me into this category. Not being able to complete sentences or even certain words is always a conversation stopper and a horribly embarrassing moment. Instead of putting myself through the ordeal of speaking, I would retreat to the world of books and ideas. As soon as I learned to read, I voraciously consumed books.
There were some benefits to being introverted.
- I always won spelling bees.
- My reading skills surpassed my classmates’ abilities in elementary school.
- My writing skills surpassed those of my sister, who was three years older.
- I never got into trouble at school.
But as I grew up, being introverted made life more difficult for me.
- I never knew what to say to boys. (Luckily, I’ve over come this.)
- I had difficulty making new friends.
- In college, I would rather read and study than face a room filled with people I didn’t know at a party.
There have been other benefits and disadvantages to being introverted as well but I share these to share a point: Being introverted may cause you to feel uncomfortable at times but it’s also an asset.
As a writer, you need to break out of your introverted nature enough so that you can market the books you spend so much time in solitude writing and perfecting.
In my case, I stopped stuttering by the time I reached high school and by pursuing a profession (journalism) that forced me to talk with new people all the time, social situations became easier. By the time I published my first book, I wasn’t an extrovert but I was more comfortable pretending to be an extrovert when needed.
This is exactly what you need to do. When appropriate – such as at book readings and signings and when appearing as a guest at book club gatherings – relax and don’t worry about what you’ll say. Let your words flow as you pretend that your closest friends surround you.
There have been studies that indicate that social media is actually good for introverts because it enables people who love to stay at home get out into the world – even if it’s a virtual experience – and meet and interact with new people every day.
There is a caveat to this. Pretending to be an extrovert should not be interpreted as an excuse for constantly hawking your books. Instead it’s an invitation to form virtual relationships with writers and readers worldwide and support each other in promoting what you write.
8 Exercises for Introverted Writers
These exercises won’t involve standing or walking nor will they encourage you to attend a husband’s party at work where you’ve never met anyone before. These exercises are for writers working on their marketing platform. Here they are.
- If you haven’t yet done so, start a Facebook profile. If you already have a profile, set up a Facebook author page and write a status update on your profile that says, “Hey, dear friends, I just started a Facebook page where I’ll be discussing my new book and other topics. I would love it if you would take a peek, tell me how I can improve it, and give it a “like.” If you feel brave, you could add this line, “I would be thrilled if you would then recommend it to just one other friend. Thanks!” On your Facebook page, thank people who like it, boost a post occassionally (boosting is a type of Facebook advertising), and run a contest annually offering an iPad Air or a $20 gift certificate to a local bookstore as a prize.
- Start a Twitter account and start following 20 to 50 new readers every day. Use an application such as Tweepi or JustUnfollow to find new Tweeps to follow or use hashtags (#amreading, #bookworm, #bibliophile, #novel, #memoir, #shortstory, #suspense, etc.) to find people who love to read your genre. Reply to people’s comments, ask questions, thank people for retweeting, and retweet your staunchest supporters and retweeters.
- Go to your LinkedIn profile – or start one if you aren’t yet on LinkedIn – and send a personalized request to connect to everyone you’ve ever worked with. As LinkedIn sends you suggestions for new connections, follow up. Your message can say, “I know it’s been awhile since we last spoke but I would like to reconnect on this platform and keep up with your career.” Join a couple of groups and join in the conversation.
- Make sure you have a profile on Google+ and add friends and colleagues to your circles of followers. Share their posts and give them a +1 when appropriate.
- Start using Pinterest and create pinboards that reflect your books and interests. In addition, create a pinboard of your favorite books and include your colleagues’ books. You could also start a pinboard for the various genres you like to read and include your friends’ best picks.
- If you can manage another platform, start including your blogs on Tumblr and following other users.
- Start an enewletter and collect names on your website by including a signup form. Then email your subscribers every month offering them fresh information they can use.
- In short, reach out, travel beyond your comfort level, and become comfortable with conversing with new people from around the world. You’ll be amazed at the magic that can happen when you step out into the world, even if it’s a virtual experience.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer, and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.