Introverted Marketing – Isn’t that an oxymoron? (Just like “military intelligence” as the old joke goes…)
Writing. My Dream Job.
I recall the lazy summertime meanderings as I daydreamed of my writerly life — the perfect home office with the perfect view out my window, solitude to write while listening to my music, no distractions, no interruptions. I’d reach the heights of the New York Times Bestseller list and stay there all my days, never needing to leave my literary haven.
A pretty good daydream.
Definitely not reality!
I’ll hit the New York Times bestseller list when I have a mainstream publisher with tons of advertising funds and an editor dedicated to my novel. Until then, I’m on my own.
As the extreme introvert, nothing terrifies me more than having to go out and meet people. For those who met me last year at GCLS, you might not believe me, but it’s true!
Introverted Marketing. My Reality.
In early 1999, I was invited to a Xena Fest in Vancouver, British Columbia. I had on onstage interview with two other authors. I was so tense, that I had a migraine headache from the rock my neck and shoulders had become.
I attended two Bards Brunches in Pasadena in the early 2000s. In both cases, I met friends who herded me inside and distracted me from my building anxiety attacks.
In 2005, I was at the Orlando Bardcon. I hovered out in the foyer, waiting for anyone I knew — anyone! — to show up. I hesitated across from the door, peeking into the room, not even willing to approach the registration desk!
A year or so ago Lee Lynch came to town, and a joint reading was arranged at the local women’s bookstore. I attended as one of the authors, but refused to do a reading. Oh, no. No way! It was tough enough joining the group Q&A!
Yeah, I know. Yellow streak up my back. It’s a mile wide, and my wife has a yellow highlighter to touch it up upon occasion.
So, introverted marketing is the only way for me to go!
Getting Over My Bad Self
Over the years, I’ve become more comfortable at gatherings though not as socially adept as I’d like, more’s the pity.
(That doesn’t mean I’ll be doing Karoake at GCLS this year either. Sorry, KG!)
Because of this, I’ve looked to the internet to for alternatives to market my work.
1) Word of Mouth –
This is first in line, of course. No matter how many panels I attend, the professional authors I’ve heard speak prefer word of mouth over advertising budget any day. A full page ad in a high profile magazine costs a lot of money and isn’t effective.
There it is, a glossy, full page ad of the book cover. It looks beautiful. The blurb at the bottom is engaging. There are a couple of notes about the award winning writer or perhaps snippets of reviews: “Stunning! A great romp through a land of sword and sorcery!”
But you’ve never heard of the author before. If the book cover is as engaging as the promotions people hope, you’ll do a little investigating, maybe read the back material at Amazon or actually look at a review or two on Goodreads.
Given the choice, however, why buy an unknown (to you) when your best friend just finished an awesome book by Josetta Blow? She’s been gushing about it for days, and her tastes run the same as yours.
So, you skip the pretty picture for the much firmer evidence.
That’s the way with word of mouth. You buy what your friends or trusted sources suggest, not what looks stylish on the ad pages.
Getting word of mouth ain’t easy, but it isn’t exactly labor intensive either. Excel at your writing and hope for the best. Share on your blog the trails and tribulations of your characters, your technique, your research details. Join online communities and forums, join the discussions. Eventually it will click and people will pay attention. News will spread!
2) Guest Blogs –
Admittedly, I don’t do many of these. I never know what to say… What if I write something no one cares to see? If my topic isn’t something that flows with their website, anything I post there won’t get any attention anyway.
Still, the logic is sound. When you write a guest blog, you’re borrowing that website’s readers. If your entry is engaging (and you’ve ensured there’s a link to your own website,) you should see an increase in traffic.
Which then boosts word of mouth!
And don’t forget to pay it forward, either! Invite other authors to guest on your blog, and their fans will head over to see the entry. The more the merrier!
3) Social Media –
I know, it’s a time-suck, isn’t it? Some times I don’t get any writing done because I’m too busy idling on Pinterest. But as a networking and marketing tool, social media sites can’t be beat.
When I write a blog entry these days, I head over to Facebook, Goodreads, Google+ and Twitter to announce it. I feel kind of squicky about the multiple announcements (the artist in me screams, “Corporate sell-out!”), but I do it anyway. Slowly but surely, word of my writing is getting out there to be picked up by new readers.
Occasionally, those posts are shared by other readers, thereby reaching THEIR friends as well as mine. Woot! Win – win!
And in the reverse, I do the same. If an author friend of mine writes a cool post, I’ll comment and share it among my readership. Spread the wealth!
I’ve created a Facebook Page for myself where I post everything writerly related. (I save the funny, geeky stuff for my personal FB account.)
I know some authors have created Pages for each book they write, but I doubt I’ll do that. My books are all across the board, genre-wise, and I don’t want to split my readers’ focus over a bunch of Pages and titles. Better to sell my name as the brand than a single title or series.
On Google+ I’ve done the same, but it’s pretty new. I don’t think there’s a lot of interest there.
Goodreads is awesome in that you can register with them as the author. When they confirm you’re the author of the listed books, you have your own page, as well. From your Author’s Dashboard, you can add blog entries! Every time I post a blog, I upload an excerpt and a link on Goodreads. Readers who are interested will then get an announcement in their email that I’ve updated my site, and head over.
4) Pinterest –
My latest introverted marketing endeavor has been Pinterest. When it first hit the ‘net, I wasn’t particularly interested – I’m a writer now, not a graphic artist. What’s the point of a photo bulletin board? Then I read an ebook about how writers market their work, and one woman had come up with an ingenious way to use Pinterest.
On my Pinterest account, I’ve created boards for each of my books. Yeah, I won’t create Facebook Pages for each book or series, but a Pinterest board is something else entirely.
I then added photos I had on hand or pictures I’ve seen online that I’ve used to inspire me through the writing of the book in question. Characters, places, things, clothing styles…you name it! The most extensive boards are the Sanguire and Orphan Maker ones.
(Go check them out! I’ll wait.)
Is that not an awesome idea?
Plus as I cruise the web, if I see something of interest, I can pin it to my inspiration boards, too. I love Pinterest!
5) Squidoo –
(I’m not affiliated with or endorsed by Squidoo LLC, FYI.)
My final introverted marketing suggestion is the website Squidoo. It takes the guest blog concept to a whole new height!
When you join, you create your own page. Then you write your blog entries and upload them to Squidoo, making certain to tag them under the appropriate topic.
Then, anyone who comes to Squidoo and chooses that topic can find a selection of blogs regarding it, yours included. Kind of like a home away from home.
And, no. I haven’t taken this step quite yet. In the last year or so, I’ve been working on a three posts a month schedule for my site. What with holidays and novel deadlines, I haven’t been able to build up an excess of blog entries to use on Squidoo. (The idea is that the Squidoo posts are in addition to your regular posts, not a reposting of the same material.)
I doubt many who read this blog are aware of Squidoo. Admittedly, it’s something I picked up from my copywriting and marketing research, not fiction writing.
But that’s a bonus, isn’t it? Just like folks here might not know about Squidoo, there are people there who haven’t a clue about the lesbian romance niche.
Posting there can bring more attention to my site and our market! Another win-win!
There You Have It.
That’s what I do (or plan to do) while I cower behind my computer screen day and night. And never fear, my wife always has that yellow highlighter with her…
Is there something you know of that I can add to this list? I’m always looking for new marketing avenues (the kind that don’t require me standing up in front of people on a stage!) Comment below and tell the world (safely, without any one-to-one interaction.)