For those very shy souls among us, I’d like to rant a little about the difficulty of self-promotion, especially in the area of selling books. I know quite a few writers who excel at self-promotion and at book sales. They know exactly where to go and what to say to get the right gigs. With their extroversion, they are able to obtain speaking engagements at conferences all over and at libraries, clubs, and other places in their home communities as well as areas near by.
Reserved folks don’t seem to have such an easy time. The ones I know shy away from self-promotion yet they know they must do it if they want to make book sales. I’m acquainted with one author who actually feels sick to the stomach when she does book signings. She is just that introverted.
All this introversion started me thinking. Maybe a shy writer should start a blog. That would be the first step. Then he or she should start visiting other blogs and making posts. Eventually the timid blogger would become a guest on some of the other blogs where she/he might gain followers.
The Internet is a safe place for the introverted ones. They gain followers when no one is looking! I’ve been following several bloggers who started out with a very small, under ten following, who now have followers numbering in the hundreds.
How do they do it?
They make a plan. They create something of interest to readers—a book give-away is one possibility. One author even has her dog make the drawing each week.
A Halloween costume party is another promo event I’ve been watching. Post a photo of your costume for the day. Who has the best costume over a two week period. Let blog readers cast a vote. It’s a fun competition for all.
Book covers. Quite a few blogs have competitions for the best covers and the readers decide. The prize is simple. The victor can post about winning the contest for the best romance cover for the week.
I’ve decided the best way to overcome shyness is to bite the bullet. I have a new book out, Night Watch, that was released in early June. Since that time, I’ve somehow avoided the promotion my book needed as I let several weeks of trips take precedence in my life.
I appeared on a radio show but didn’t follow through to gain necessary recognition or the book sales gains that might be attached. I’ve had one book-signing that turned out to be a non-event because the bookstore failed to publicize. Lesson learned—no matter what they promise, publicize all events yourself.
Now, I’ve decided to create a blog book tour for my novel. I’ve lined up seven hosts and have a diverse set of posts planned for each stop on the seven different dates. I’ve been watching and learning from other blog book tours and have been impressed with the results I’ve seen on theirs. I don’t know if what I will do will approach their efforts or their results, but I will never have a chance if I don’t try. If nothing else, this can be a practice for an even bigger event in the future.
For now, I know that all writers, introverts and extroverts, must focus and follow through. If you don’t, you fail before you begin, shy or not.
Thank you, Rebecca, for having me as your guest. And congratulations to your sister on her new book!
Mary Montague Sikes is an award-winning author, freelance writer, photographer, artist, and teacher who loves to travel, especially to exotic tropical locations. The settings for her books and articles include Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, and St. Martin. Her most recent research trips carried her to Los Cabos on the western coast of Mexico, to Yellowstone National Park where she took over 500 photographs, and to Carmel-by-the-Sea where she marveled at photo opportunities wherever she turned.
The Fredericksburg, VA native is author of five award-winning books. She presents workshops on promotion and marketing to state and national conventions as well as to many local writers groups. Hotels to Remember, a coffee table book that includes the Jefferson Hotel, the Homestead, and the Hotel Del Coronado is illustrated with her artwork and photographs.
A founding member of Virginia Romance Writers, she has served on the Board of Governors of the Virginia Writers Club and is a member and past president of the Richmond Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. Her poem and paintings are featured in Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln, an anthology of work by members of the National League of American Pen Women. She is included in Who’s Who in American Women.
Her paintings are exhibited widely in Virginia and are in private and public collections in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Night Watch, her latest novel, was released earlier this year. Dangerous Hearts, a novella set in Virginia, was released by Red Rose Publishing in June.