I, like many writers, am an introvert.
This does not mean I'm shy. I'm not. Not really anyway. I'm just more of an observer. I usually only chime in on a conversation when I feel I have something to add. But since I'm an observer, I notice when the extroverts have already said what I am thinking. So I’ll nod silently in agreement or slip in a stealthy “Like” of a comment as a show of solidarity with a person who has stated my thoughts. This is not a slam against extroverts. In fact, many times I wish I were an extrovert. Particularly at a time like now when I've finished writing my first book, The Ilia Stone, and I need to put myself out there to market it.
Now lets go back a bit, planning how you should market your book should come much earlier than when you are about to publish. And it has for me. It is one of many lessons I have learned while writing this book. The thing I still struggle with, even though I have improved in this area, is putting myself out there to engage readers. This is a HUGE problem when you want people to read your work.
Introverts are perfectly content to be the wallflower or the one at the party you almost forget they are there until they chime in with a perfectly timed zinger that has all heads swinging their way. We are not big on attention, so working to put a spotlight on ourselves or our work goes against our very nature of staying in the background.
I can sit at my computer all day long and type out conversations between my characters. But when it comes to me participating in conversations (at least with people I don't know), either I draw a complete blank, have the worst case of writer’s block ever or a million reasons flow through my mind of why I don’t really need to comment. Sometimes it’s almost automatic and instantaneous that I will talk myself out of saying what comes to mind because it is more comfortable for me to do so.
So how do we overcome it?
It’s a good question that I don’t really have the answer to. All I can offer is how view it from my perspective. The way I look it, staying in my comfort zone of watching as other’s effectively market their book is not going to make people aware that I wrote one. It is an obstacle I must overcome. I have worked long hours over the last year and a half on a story I love. But at the end of the day, I do the story a disservice if I don’t put as much effort into letting other’s know the book exists as I put into writing it. ßReread that last sentence. Are you putting in this effort? Are you willing to?
I do not want to be my own worst enemy. I do not want to be the obstacle that stands in the way of my book’s success. In order to overcome that, I need to step out of my comfort zone.
Over the past year, I started following more book review blogs and joined writer’s groups on social media. I am an avid reader. I have also been writing pretty religiously for the past five years and I have assisted in marketing fellow author Jas T. Ward’s books, so there are some groups and blogs I have followed even before that. I took it slow at first, participating in conversations here or there until I felt more comfortable commenting. Baby steps, right? I’m not sure it’s enough though. I found that the key to engaging readers is to developed relationships with them. In order to do that, you have to actually participate and not stand on the sidelines to watch.
I am still a far way from cracking completely out of my shell. My hope by writing this post is that others may relate. If you are a fellow introvert trying to get word out about your book, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What has worked for you to ease the pains of having to put yourself out there?