When I first started learning how to market a book I was resistant, to say the least. I have always shied away from marketing and sales, in any form, my whole life. I’m an introvert, and a Highly Sensitive Person. I’m also kind of a hippie, and definitely an INFJ personality type. While most of my friends in college were taking business courses and trying to land juicy internships, I was writing poetry and grappling with existential dread.
I thought that I would never be able to learn how to sell anything.
All that changed though when I wrote and published my first book, The INFJ Writer. The book had a message that I knew could be helpful to a lot of people, in a really deep and meaningful way. It was a book with an authentic message that I wanted all my fellow intuitive souls to hear: You’re not weird. You’re actually gifted. And the world badly needs your gifts at this time.
So, I was solid in my belief in the message I wanted to spread, and the book I wanted people to read. But I knew that my belief wasn’t enough. If I ever wanted to reach a larger audience, I was going to have to learn how to market and sell my work.
And that’s where the resistance came in.
I didn’t want to be fake, that was the most important thing to me. I could spot fake people a mile off and any sort of phoniness felt sleazy and icky to me. I didn’t want to aggressively push myself forward either. I had spent much of my life observing the way most of Western culture functioned all around me and I’d drawn strong conclusions on how damaging extreme aggression and the ego-centric approach could be. So, I definitely didn’t want to do that either. The problem was, if I didn’t want to be fake and I didn’t want to be aggressive, I wasn’t sure what else was left.
Fortunately, the Universe led me to the lessons I most needed to receive. I started by hitting the “publish” button on The INFJ Writer and then I did what came naturally to me: I started building genuine relationships. I looked around on social media and reached out to people who seemed to be on my same wavelength. I bought and read and reviewed books by other indie writers as often as I could. I wrote blog posts with the intention of being helpful in whatever way I could to my fellow artists. And slowly, over time, my relationships blossomed and grew into a community of people who were always there to support me.
This is the kind of marketing that INFJs, INFPs, and any other Highly Sensitive Writer can truly benefit from, and it’s honestly the only kind of marketing that we have any chance of being good at. Because we are just never going to be those people who think of sales numbers first, and people later. We’re never going to feel comfortable schmoozing, or doing the hard sell, or throwing our business card at people we hardly know. That’s just not us, and it’s never going to be us. And that’s okay. Because we’re moving into a new kind of world.
These days, an INFJ or INFP writer has a huge advantage when it comes to learning about marketing. Because all of us live within the online landscape now, and in this brave new online world there are just too many choices available to waste time on people who are phony, manipulative, or won’t stop blasting others with spam messages urging them to buy products they don’t really need. What DOES work in today’s world is actually authentic people who actually care about the really cool thing they created that they actually believe can help others.
That’s a marketing message everyone can get behind.
If you are an INFJ or INFP writer, or an introvert, or a Highly Sensitive Person, then chances are that you’re also highly creative, you write or make things that you would love other people to experience, but you’re resistant and intimidated by this whole marketing and selling thing. That’s totally okay, because you’re not alone. There are a whole bunch of us out there and we’re all scared. But guess what? We’re all doing it too. Every day, more and more people are self-publishing their books, starting blogs, selling their artwork online, and sharing themselves over social media. Even if you’re the most introverted of introverts, it can be done. And it can be done in a way that aligns with your most deeply held values.
If you’re reading this article and you’re nodding your head because this is you, like this is SO YOU, then check out my new book: Firefly Magic: Heart-Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers. It’s got chapters on all the things I’ve talked about above, plus a bunch more on how to shift out of feeling resistance and fear around marketing into feeling empowered and excited about getting your work out into the world.
Now is the time. Let’s do this.
Lauren Sapala is the author of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers, a guide to help any HSP, INFJ, INFP, or introvert writer move past resistance to selling and marketing their work. She is also the author of The INFJ Writer, a writing guide made specifically for sensitive intuitive writers.