Let’s face it–most people write because it’s easier than talking to people. The blank page doesn’t judge or require social skills like interpreting micro-expressions. However, unless you’re stuffing your writing into a drawer, your work needs to get into the hands of the public. So, how does an introvert sell their work to actual, living, breathing people? Let’s find a book event strategy to help you fake an out-going personality.
Get your pitch on.
First of all, you can’t sell anything without knowing what you’re selling. I know, you’re probably like, duh. I wrote the book, of course I know what I’m selling! Yes, I know that, but can you sum it up in one or two sentences? If you can’t, you need to figure this out.
Here’s one of my pitches:
My book is a historical fantasy novel about a homicidal mermaid who’s been stalking the waters of New England for centuries. The book goes back and forth in time, but, in the present day, my main character–a functioning alcoholic, young mother (think Amy Schumer) funeral director–is trying to make sense of it all.
In this pitch, I’ve narrowed down the genre (historical fantasy), the main character (a young female–most likely an anti-hero), the conflict (a mermaid is killing people) and the setting (New England). By doing so, the listener can check off the following boxes in their head:
Do I like historical fantasies? How do I feel about female main characters? Is this scary? Do I like New England settings? How do I feel about evil mermaids?
Remember, you’re selling a product. People want to know what they’re buying and they want to know quickly so that they can possibly give you money.
Know your audience.
Introverts need to conserve their energy, therefore, this second book strategy is super helpful because it puts you in control. If you figure out which demographic buys your book, you can use your limited social-skills-battery-life to target the right people. Yes, there will be people outside the demographic who will buy your book. However, if you’re shy, you need to pander to people who’re already open to receive your work.
My demographic is women between the ages of 25 and 60. I paid attention to who came back for the second and third book, who left the most comments while I was writing the other books and who asked me to be part of their book clubs. You, too, should be paying attention to who’s interested in your work. All this data is valuable.
Stand up and smile, no matter what.
Okay, you have your pitch and you know who to use it on, so now what? You’re not going to like this, but you have to stand up. That’s right, do not sit down at events. Of course, if you have a disability, that’s unavoidable and your smile will be your welcome sign. BUT! If you’re able to stand, do it. Look presentable, smile. Say hello–to everyone.
Oh, I see you cringing, but remember this, awkward is a choice! That should be your mantra. In your head, repeat this over and over. Awkward is a choice, awkward is a choice …
A Small Book Event Strategy: Hide behind your bookmark.
You’ve just had a small panic attack reading all of the above, but never fear! I have one last book event strategy for you–a bookmark. That’s right, this gem of a marketing tool can talk when you can’t! You can thrust it into the open hand of anyone passing by, knowing that you just silently gave them a sales pitch and no one got hurt.
My bookmark has one of my best reviews from a highly reputable source. It sums up the book in a clever way and makes people laugh. On the front is a picture of my book cover with the catchphrase, Not All Mermaids Are Nice … Also included are icons of the popular retailers that carry my books and my website url. All the information needed to buy my book, and the best part? I didn’t have to say a thing.
You can do this, just remember–awkward is a choice, awkward is a choice …
For more on author promotional materials, check out Jaclyn’s post about Book Postcards.