By and large, the biggest problem I run into with struggling authors is the challenge they have around marketing themselves. I hear a lot of different reasons for this: “I’m too introverted.” “I hate anything that has to do with sales.” “I don’t want to be fake or phony,” etc. I get those reasons, because way back in the day when I felt like I had an allergic reaction to anything that had to do with marketing, I told other writers I hated marketing because of those very same reasons.
But, here’s the thing. That really wasn’t the whole story.
I’ve launched three different books in the past couple years and I’ve definitely noticed a pattern. Every time I go into “launch mode” I tend to also go into “marketing frenzy,” which means I’m frantically researching, emailing, posting, and overthinking about my book of the moment. My main drug of choice to support the frenzy is the internet. Because no matter what question I might have, the online world seems to have the answers.
Well, this is true. Sometimes. But at other times—a lot of other times—my overthinking is only made worse by reading around on what I “should” be doing to market my book.
Usually when we think about “book marketing” we think of glitzy ad campaigns or nuking everyone on social media with relentless messages to “buy my book!” This is a huge turn-off for most writers. We’ve spent months, possibly years, working on a story that is so personally meaningful to us that it’s even hard to describe it succinctly to other people without getting tangled up in words and emotion.
And now we’re supposed to push it onto total strangers using a catchy (or cheesy) hook?
Um, no thanks.
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.