“I know I need to market my book, but I just don’t like talking about myself. It feels so wrong.”
Does this sound like something you have been thinking or saying when it comes to spreading the word about your work? If so, you’re not alone. This is hands-down the most common statement that other writers say to me when discussing marketing. It is also a challenge that I have had to overcome for my own book sales.
Luckily, there are many, many strategies to help to overcome this. Here are a few that worked for me… try out few! Some work better in different situations than others, and all of them get easier with practice.
1. Practice Your Pitch. This is perhaps the most important, no matter what other technique you try. A “short pitch” is something you’ve probably already had to give without even knowing it – this is a very quick summary of your book and its merits. And by very quick, I mean quick enough to insert into any conversation in less than a minute. Actually sit down and write this out, and say it repeatedly to get comfortable with it.
However, don’t memorize it verbatim. You will need to be able to say it conversationally, not sound like you’re reading from an index card! You may even develop several for different types of people you might be speaking to. Once you’re a little comfortable with it, seize every opportunity to insert it into conversations.
2. Grab The Moment. This goes back to what I talked about several posts ago – no one will know about your book unless you tell everyone. You never know who will be interested… even a tough Harley riding leather clad Hell’s Angel may want to buy your book of chic lit for his little sister. I originally made the mistake of only telling physically active-looking people about my book on bicycle touring, until I realized that I had more sales of people buying it for gifts for friends and family. Since there’s no way I could profile a potential customer’s unseen network, I gave that up and never assume I know whether the person in front of me might be interested in my book.
But how to tell them? Work it into the conversation, and if necessary, steer the conversation toward some topic that relates to your book. Look for an opening, and don’t hesitate! With practice, it will get easier to insert your pitch into conversations without feeling awkward.
3. Everyone Loves You. This can be hard to believe sometimes, much less remember. However, the key to this technique is to overcome hesitation to talk about yourself by remembering that other people actually want to read your book, and honestly want to hear about your work!
If you feel uncomfortable talking about yourself, imagine yourself switching places with the person you’re talking to: if that person were to tell you about their new book, would you want them to stop talking or get angry about it? Would you like them less for it, or think less of them somehow? Certainly not! So trust that in your own respective shoes, the other person will gladly listen to you and converse with you about your writing.
4. Just Write It. Okay, maybe not “just” – you do need to speak it too. But, as writers, it is often easier to share with the written word over the spoken. Use your writing time as a tool to practice promoting yourself. Not just by talking about your writing (although that’s important too) but also by other marketing tools such as keeping a blog.
5. Schedule It. While it’s important to grab opportunities as they arise, that doesn’t mean you need to do all of your marketing spontaneously. Take just a few minutes each day to do something to market yourself and your writing. Even 10 minutes can go a long way to increasing your sales! Treat your writing as the business that it is, and your marketing time as one aspect of your job as a writer. This time can be enjoyable, but even when it’s not, do it anyway or figure out how to make it enjoyable.
Speaking of making it enjoyable, here’s a bonus tip – make your “marketing time” do double duty so it feels more worthwhile. Structure your blogs so they build up into chapters of a book, use Twitter as a writing challenge on brevity, do something fun so you can write about it later on Facebook and your other social media outlets.
6. Confidence is Essential. Yet, this can be a major psychological challenge. I use essential oils to help me with this. Ginger for boosts my confidence level, Marjoram helps me be more extroverted and talkative, Wild Orange makes me feel empowered and energetic, and Lavender lowers my anxiety in sharing about my writing. I don’t necessarily use all of these at the same time, but if I know that I will be facing a situation where will need to overcome my hesitation in sharing about my writing, I assess which would be appropriate and use them!
A good short pitch, a drop of marjoram essential oil, and some positive visualization, and you’ll be spreading the word about your book in no time!
Ready to learn more about marketing your writing? Don't miss my presentation at the Sierra Writers meeting on June 10! Check out my class calendar for more information