As a self-published author, a professional and a person, being a salesperson is not my natural forte. And it’s not just because I’m an introvert.
I’m flat-out horrible at it for a few different reasons, No. 1 being how I can’t stand pushy people. If you want me to buy or buy into something, don’t assume you know better about what I need and want.
I don’t care if it’s news – right-wing, left-wing or center – a product or an opinion. Don’t tell me how to think about it. Tell me why I should think about it the same way you do. And if I indicate that I’m not interested, don’t push me.
Pushy people are annoying. On some sort of level, they’re condescending, which is my biggest pet peeve.
As such, since I try to treat others how I want to be treated, I go out of my way to not be pushy myself. Admittedly, perhaps a little too far out of my way.
Okay. Definitely too far out of the way.
The fact that, yes, I’m also a natural introvert doesn’t help, of course. I wouldn’t call myself shy, but I do enjoy being all by myself writing or reading or editing.
Gathering with other people can be an invigorating, enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Yet I still find it ultimately draining, whereas I get recharged whenever I get some alone time.
Added up, these personality traits and preferences result in me being a lousy salesperson. So if you’re a lousy salesperson too, I get it.
Unfortunately, I also get that, as a self-published author, you can’t afford to be that way. You’ve got to be on top of your selling game if you’re going to make any kind of mark on the publishing world.
Chances are high that you don’t have a marketer to do the extroverted stuff for you. Sorry self-published introverts, but you need to pretend to like people, since:
Successful self-published authors are successful salespeople.
It’s really quite brave for authors to take the self-publishing plunge.
But if that’s what you choose, you have to maintain your courage long after you hit the publishing button. If you want to be successful, you still have to let readers know that you and your book exist.
And if you think you can pursue the introvert’s dream by advertising online, you might want to think again. Online advertising works best when you already have a recognizable name and/or a lot of money to work with.
Take it from someone who’s been there and done that. I’ve utilized Amazon advertising, LinkedIn advertising, magazine advertising and radio advertising.
If I got a combined $5 back from that roughly $3,100 worth of financial investment, I’d be surprised. And most other “little people” I know of have seen the same results.
Feel free to try it out for yourself if you’d like. Just understand that the risks and probabilities involved are not in your favor.
Which means that, more than likely, you’re going to have to set aside your nerves or reservations and actually talk to people if you want to sell your self-published book.
But don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to go accost random people on the street. Instead, here are some marketing tips to try:
Find groups who share your book’s interest. For instance, if you’re writing religious fiction or non-fiction, start calling up relevant churches, synagogues, temples, etc. to see if they’d be interested in a free author reading. Or, better yet, ask your friends to ask their churches.
If your published book is historical fiction or non-fiction, see if there are any historical societies around you. And if you wrote a sci-fi/fantasy piece, maybe check out Meetup.com to see if there are any local groups that focus on such things.
Ask your friends if they’d like a free copy in exchange for a review on Amazon or Goodreads – complete with an online post, tweet or share.
Find ways to get people talking, whether it’s by suggesting your work to a local book club or calling up local book stores to see if they’ll carry it for a cut of any profit you make.
Mom-and-pop coffee shops can also be a great resource, either to read off some of your work or to carry it.
With any of these, just don’t think you can take the introverted shortcut by sending an email. That’s a great way to go right to spam or the trash. You’re going to have to call these places up or, better yet, go chat with them in person.
I know that’s difficult for the introverted soul, but we really are capable of finding the courage to promote our self-published books toward greater success.