I was on the phone with a client yesterday while we talked about her marketing strategy for her new book. She told me she was on Instagram and posted there regularly, but she found it draining and was also having a bit of anxiety about how present and available she was able to be on the platform. Readers had reached out to her with positive feedback about her book, which was great, but she was feeling the pressure to have conversations with all of them. As an introvert, this was quickly becoming exhausting.
Luckily, I’ve seen this very same problem countless times before with introvert writers on social media. The solution is one quick pivot in mindset about how to approach social media as an introvert author, and that one quick pivot changes everything.
The problem is rooted in the fact that we introverts have been told, for most of our lives, that we don’t participate enough. Like many introvert children, I got comments about it frequently on my report cards. My teachers always said, “Lauren knows the material and does well with assignments and tests, but she needs to participate more.”
The question of WHY I needed to participate more if I was already doing well on assignments and tests…well, we’ll leave that to another day. What’s important here is that I’m not the only introvert who went through that experience in school. It’s very common for introverts to be told in school and the workplace that we need to speak up more, participate in more group activities, and be more gregarious—regardless of the quality of our work. This results in us being imprinted with the message that our natural quiet nature is not okay, and that we need to push ourselves to always participate, even when it doesn’t feel right.
So, it’s not surprising that introvert authors begin the long and adventurous journey of marketing their book by jumping on a few different social media platforms and then are instantly transported back to childhood, where they were constantly admonished to act in a way that was contrary to their introverted nature and “participate more.”
And this is why introvert writers end up putting the focus of all their social media marketing efforts on how much they participate on each platform. “Participation” in today’s social media culture means liking, sharing, commenting, and engaging in all sorts chit-chat with people who are relative strangers, however nice they may be. This kind of activity is, for introvert writers, utterly exhausting.
Now, authors should participate regularly on social media. But regular participation can be as little as once a week, and you don’t need to participate by getting into back-and-forth conversations with strangers that you would frankly rather not be talking to. When used effectively as a marketing tool, social media should be a place where you build systems that funnel interested people to your website, or your books on Amazon. The goal is for these people to move away from the social media platform and toward your offerings.
In other words, the goal is for you to make it easy for people to find your offer of a free gift in exchange for signing up for your email list, or buy your book or whatever other paid offering you have going on at the moment. The goal is NOT to help Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform make more money by feeding off the (mostly) pointless interactions people have there.
Social media is a gateway, not the actual playing field.
So, as an introvert author, your eye should always be on building systems that are easy for you to maintain and effective at gaining you new readers. This can be as simple as including a link to your “free gift with email signup” page in your social media profile. Or you can check in on social media once a week, post a link to your latest article, and make sure that article is linked to your book on Amazon or the latest offering you’ve put up on Patreon.
As an introvert author, you are not just an artist, you are an online business owner. You have a store and you have some things for sale (or you will in the future). It’s kind of like owning a store in real life. You don’t need to be out on the floor, chatting up every single person who comes in to browse, and trying to rope people in who are passing by on the sidewalk outside. It’s going to be much more effective if you just check in now and again to make sure the shelves are stocked, the prices are reasonable and clear, and everyone can get to everything they might want to buy from you.
When introvert writers begin to realize that most of their marketing time can be spent in building systems, organizing materials, selecting images to use in promotion, and coming up with innovative ideas for more creative offerings, the game totally changes. Suddenly, the heavy veil of exhaustion lifts and we feel energized and revitalized.
The key is to remember that you are okay, just the way you are as an introvert writer. And it’s also good to remember that thousands of shallow conversations with strangers will never compare to the power of one really well-built sales funnel.
Lauren Sapala is the author of The INFJ Writer and The INFJ Revolution. She is also currently offering a free copy of her book on creative marketing for INFJ and INFP writers to anyone who signs up for her newsletter. SIGN UP HERE to get your free copy of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers.