Book Marketing Is Easier Than You Think, Even If You Hate Sales Work

Lauren Sapala is self-published author of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers, a guide to help any writer move past resistance to selling and marketing their book.

Are you a writer who is also an introvert? Do you consider yourself (or have you been called) “shy”, or even “highly sensitive”?

Many writers can fall under a more introverted personality type. For many creative writers, chances are that you may feel resistance to learning how to market and sell your writing. This applies whether you’d like to be traditionally or self-published.

While it’s common for introverted writers to avoid learning about how to market a book, it’s less common to find an effective solution to the problem. Writers might be urged to “be more assertive” or read as many articles as they can on how to promote their work, but this advice usually doesn’t help.

Pushing an introverted writer out of his comfort zone isn’t effective in the long run because there are usually three big limiting beliefs in place that cause a writer to feel so much resistance to marketing:

1)    Introverted writers can believe only extroverted personality types could ever be good at marketing and learn to enjoy sales.

2)    Many creative writers feel that any type of marketing or sales work forces people to compromise their integrity in order to sell more of their stuff.

3)    Most writers imagine that marketing a book is an overwhelming load of tasks, and also that they will find most of those tasks boring.

The most effective way to move past these blocks and get better at book marketing and book promotion is to examine why we feel the way we do about sales and marketing, and then shift our mindset to include new ways of thinking.

Here are 3 ways writers who hate marketing can conquer their fears.

1. Stay Authentic

The first most common limiting belief, that only extroverts can be great at marketing a book, has its roots in the world before the internet. Back when going online wasn’t yet an option, it was necessary to make phone calls, introduce yourself at social gatherings, and talk to strangers as a way to market your book.

However, we live in a more virtual world today and it’s possible to reach new readers across the globe or right next door without ever having to pick up the phone or meet face-to-face.

There’s still the pressure to network, even to pin down public speaking for many writers – at book fairs, at events – but Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, suggests not networking and instead collect kindred spirits. Look for people you’ll really enjoy connecting with authentically at events.

In fact, though, the best way for introverts to market a book these days is by going online and letting the power of the internet do the work for them. It can be as simple as posting a beautiful picture of your book cover on social media, or setting up an online giveaway with a few clicks of a mouse. Whatever option you choose, you can do it from the comfort of your home and even from behind the safety of a pen name, if you so choose.

Starting a blog, making a video, and offering a free excerpt of your book on your author website are all tried-and-true marketing methods that don’t require an introvert to make awkward small talk with one single person.

2. Find Your Niche

The second limiting belief that tends to hold writers back, that it’s necessary to ignore your sense of integrity in order to make sales, is also an outdated illusion about marketing that just doesn’t apply in today’s world. Maybe it used to be true that ad campaigns had to be seductive, and sometimes even downright deceptive, to gain customers through television, radio, and 10-foot-high billboards, but this is not the case any longer.

Again, we now live in an online world. The internet has given birth to hundreds of thousands of micro niches in all areas of art and creativity.

A micro niche is exactly what it sounds like: a very small niche that appeals to a very specific audience. And there is an audience for every micro niche. With that in mind, it’s possible to promote our work only to those readers who genuinely would be interested in it, instead of trying to blanket the population at large with a phony-sounding marketing message designed to hit the greatest number of people, whether they might be interested in what we’re selling or not.

When we focus on finding the micro niche for our work, we focus on quality over quantity. We focus on being the most genuinely authentic that we can be so that our readers will know exactly what we write, and exactly why they should want to read it.

3. Do What Works For You

The third limiting belief that causes resistance to marketing in writers, that marketing will be overwhelming and boring, can be dissolved by approaching the entire process at a pace that feels comfortable and enjoyable. There is no reason to cram five different marketing activities into one day just because you’ve heard that’s “the way it’s done.”

As a writer, you are a self-employed entrepreneur and that means that you get to decide what does, and doesn’t, work for you.

It’s also helpful to slow down the pace of trying new marketing options because when you try one thing at a time, you’re much more able to clearly see which activities are having a positive effect. If you try five new things at once, it can be very difficult to nail down which one was responsible for the uptick in sales or reviews. By slowing down and trying one thing at a time, it’s easier to record what worked and what didn’t and to use that knowledge effectively as you market your book in the future.

When we give ourselves permission to be authentic, keep our integrity intact, and move at our own pace, marketing can go from feeling intimidating and awful to something that is actually interesting and fun. Regardless of what anyone else says, run your own race. You can trust yourself to follow your own intuition and do what is right for you.

After all, it’s your book and you’re the person who knows it the best. There is no better person to help it find its way in the world.

Lauren Sapala is the author of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers, a guide to help any introverted writer move past resistance to marketing their work. She is also the author of The INFJ Writer, a writing guide made specifically for sensitive intuitive writers. She currently lives in San Francisco and blogs at www.laurensapala.com.

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