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.
I have a really weird thing that happens to me whenever I receive a bit of emotionally disturbing news. Whether it’s something small (like someone tells me I said the wrong thing at the dinner table) or something big (like getting hit with rejection or betrayal) my system immediately goes into shut-down mode. I freeze like a panicked animal, my throat, chest and stomach lock up, and the rest of me feels totally numb.
This numb feeling can last a few minutes, or it can last a few days.
I took a creative writing class in college that was made up of 25 writers. Each week a couple of us passed out a chapter of our work to everyone else. The next week we took turns getting feedback.
“Feedback” meant 24 other people sitting and staring at you and telling you about all of the problems they found in your writing.
I hated that class so much.
Whenever it was my turn my stomach dropped, I started sweating, my throat locked up, and I wanted to crawl under the table.