While some authors embrace book marketing and promotion with enthusiasm, many just wish it would go away.
Getting “out there” and talking about their book can be downright painful for a shy author or those who prefer to write, not talk.
Then there are those who aren’t exactly shy, but don’t like being the center of attention.
Still others are afraid they will be labeled as “shameless self-promoters.” Can you blame them? I’ve seen some who are beyond “shameless” – they’re downright undignified.
Common shy author obstacles and how to get over them
How do you overcome your personality-related reluctance to promote your book?
Here are the “I can’t do this” obstacles I see the most from shy authors along with ideas for getting around them.
Problem: Proactively promoting my book makes me feel self-conscious. I don’t like calling attention to myself.
Solution: Flip your perspective.
You’re not talking about or calling attention to yourself – you’re calling attention to your book.
You wrote that book to educate, entertain, or inform a certain audience. You won’t be able to do that if they don’t know about it. You’re doing them a favor by doing as much as you can to help them see how your book will help.
Shift the focus from yourself to the people who will benefit from reading your book. That will help you relax and maybe even enjoy that media interview.
Problem: I don’t like talking. I’d rather be writing.
Solution: Focus on the many promotional opportunities that don’t require voice-to-voice interviews or conversations:
- Do a “Twitter chat.“
- Go on a virtual book tour.
- Post information and updates on your Facebook page.
- Create and share social media images.
- Give review copies to readers who agree to write an honest review.
- Blog regularly – and be a guest blogger, too.
- Send out tip sheets.
- Ask to do media interviews by e-mail.
Problem: I see what others do and it makes me uncomfortable.
Solution: Head in the opposite direction with your tactics.
For example, did you receive a book announcement e-mail message that you thought was too self-serving, overly-aggressive, or even pointless? Write yours in a way that’s classy, helpful, and informative.
Don’t like how an author friend shares a purchase link to his book on the Facebook timeline of new friends as soon as they accept his request? Set a better example. You might create a fan page for your book and share helpful information there, or start a Facebook group for your genre or topic.
Problem: I don’t know where to start.
Solution: Make time to learn.
This problem isn’t unique to introverts, but they’re more likely to use it than extroverts.
I’m a big on starting with a plan, but before you can write one, you need to know more about your options.
Begin by writing down your goals for your book. Then educate yourself about book marketing, publicity, and promotion:
- Search online.
- Subscribe to newsletters.
- Read a book or two.
- Take a course that will walk you through the process.
This will help you decide which tactics will help you reach your goals. Next, select one tactic or tool that seems like the best fit for your skills and personality, and learn how to do it well. When you’ve mastered and implemented it, select another.
Be sure to download my free Book Marketing Plan Template, too. It walks you through the process with instructions and examples.
Problem: I don’t have time.
Solution: Apply the time you used to spend writing the book to book promotion.
You don’t have to be shy to have this problem. Still, when you’re a little more uncomfortable putting yourself “out there,” you might find it easier to use lack of time as an excuse to avoid taking action.
Try these strategies:
- Get up an hour early two days a week.
- Focus on the book after the kids have gone to bed.
- Work on book promotion during your lunch break.
Make promoting a priority
It’s hard to promote a book when the related activities don’t come easily or intuitively. You’ll make progress if you focus on tactics that not only help you reach your target reader, but that are a good fit for your personality, too.
Start with one tactic — just one. You’ll soon see that doing just one thing — and doing it well — is far better than doing nothing.
Give it a try. I’m cheering you on!
How do you feel about book promotion? Do you love it, hate it, feel ambivalent? Why?
(Editor’s note: This article was first published in April 2012. It has been updated and expanded.)
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