Can an Introvert be a Successful Writer?

Can an introvert be a successful writer? And no, I’m not implying I’m an introvert, but this week I’ve been busy doing marketing, so the question came to mind.

I used to believe a good book would succeed no matter what, but I’ve discovered that isn’t always true. Over the last couple of years I’ve read some great books that have only enjoyed moderate success and a couple books that have been big money makers that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time or money on.

I know word of mouth is important, but with so many books being published nowadays (over 292,000 new titles and editions published in 2011) how does a writer get a book noticed? How do you start that word-of-mouth?

And that, of course, is where marketing comes in. Blogs and blog hops. Book signings. Talks to book clubs, libraries, groups. Panels at conferences. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any and all social media sites. Book marks. Contests. The list goes on and on.

I’m fairly gregarious. I’ve been a teacher, so standing in front of a group and giving a talk doesn’t bother me, but I know it petrifies some people. So how do they get the word out?

A few years ago I purchased a book called Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman & Michael Larsen. It’s mostly an idea book, and it breaks down PR possibilities that are either free, low cost, or expensive. I remember looking through the book when I first bought it, then putting it on the shelf and forgetting it. Most of the ideas it includes are ones all writers discuss or try at some time or another. It does, in a way, answer my question regarding introverts. A large number of the suggested ways to get the word out about a book do not involve standing in front of a crowd or mingling with a lot of people.

The Internet certainly helps the introvert. While sitting at his or her computer the writer can join discussion groups, write blogs or be a part of a blog hop, create a fantastic web site, run contests, send out newsletters, send the book to review sites, pay for on-line ads, allow free snippets from the book, and give-away prizes or free books.

Of course, even the non-introvert can do all of the above as well as attend conferences, retreats, book signings, and give interviews. I’m getting excited because Writers Police Academy starts in 2 weeks. Today I received notice of when I’ll be participating in the Meggitt (shooting workshop). Yesterday I worked on a handout (tray card) to bring to WPA to advertise my next book. This is what I came up with.

Tray card2

I like this size because I can get more information on it in a readable size. Will these create word of mouth? Increase sales? I have no idea, but since I’m not an introvert, I’ll also be talking about my book while at WPA. (More in 3 weeks about what I learn while there.)

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12 Responses to Can an Introvert be a Successful Writer?

  1. Connie Bretes says:

    Hi Maris, I don’t have a problem standing in front of a group of people to talk about something, but do shy away from large crowds and people , mostly because of my hearing disability. Sounds almost contradictory huh? But I DO love the idea of marketing, promoting and getting my name out there by sitting behind my computer. I was just thinking this morning how great it was that I could sit behind my computer and do this! lol

  2. Diane Burton says:

    I remember when “advertising” my book meant lining up bookstore signings and mailing info cards. With the internet, we have much more flexibility and we’re able to reach many more readers. But it’s easy to get so wrapped up in marketing that we don’t write–forgetting that nothing sells the 1st book like the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. We have to keep things in perspective.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      I totally agree, Diane. I enjoyed creating that tray card, but the process took up half a day. That’s time I could have been writing. It was so much nicer when the publisher’s marketing department provided those little perks.

  3. Social media does wonders for the introvert. And don’t count on the publisher to do that much. Hire someone like Florence Price at My Girl Friday. She has me “out there” all over the place. I don’t know what I’d do without her. In my case, though, I am far from an introvert. I’ve never had a bashful bone in my body, but still, a person can’t be everywhere at once, and to keep up with all the kinds of social networking takes a LOT of time and takes away from your writing, so it really helps to find someone who can do it for you.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Your experience, Rosanne, convinced me to hire Florence Price (Mygirlfriday). She has more ideas than I have energy, which is exactly why I need her.

  4. Melissa Keir says:

    I’m a shy person but when it comes time to talk about my books, I get better. I’m also better around children. Everyone has to find a way to market their books. What works for one person, doesn’t always work for the next book or author!

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      I bet you’re wonderful around children, Melissa. The nice thing is nowadays we have many options…though, in truth, I’d rather just sit at home and write.

  5. I am an introvert, not adept at public speaking or schmoozing. Blogging has become my favorite marketing technique, both as blog guest appearances, and writing weekly posts for my own blog. I can think about what I’m saying before I put it out there.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      I do like the idea of thinking about what you’re about to say, Catherine. Even though I don’t consider myself an introvert, there are times when I wish I’d thought before speaking. I love the ability to edit and rewrite, both with my stories and with my blogs.

  6. I’m also an introvert but have managed to make myself do a few talks and signings, teach a couple of workshops, and get out there to network with real people, real time. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. I could almost say I had fun. But……I’d still rather stay home and do my promo online.

    Conferences and conventions are another story. For some reason, I love them although I always come home exhausted.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Patricia, I’m with you. I’d rather stay home…but those conferences and conventions do energize me. It is wonderful to mingle with other writers and with readers who enjoy what we write.