Marketing is about connecting with people, getting your message across, and getting people interested what you want to say. Simple. If that was the case, I wouldn’t need to continue this post. But it isn’t, not at least for someone like me, who has always struggled to make connections with other people, who has been unlucky finding similar minded people. You know why? They like to stay indoors, read books, play games, and be out of the way like me. (And maybe they have the same underlying fear I do: not being accepted and not being good enough.)
Now I socially inept should do marketing. The success of getting my book to the right readers is down to my social skills. Oh boy. Okay, maybe working as a salesperson at a local bookstore has helped me. My day job has given me an opportunity to polish my social skills. It’s easier to interact with others at the shop as I know my role. It’s the same with other similar situations where I can take a role (this doesn’t mean I’m changing my personality. In the bookshop I tune my sociality up, smile extra, and try to be interested in everyone who steps in. I’m amplifying skills I already have, but it can be tiring and hard at sometimes.) I can’t seem to be able to take the necessary leap to the marketer’s role. Is it because my underlying fear of being rejected? You and I know the answer to that.
Another option would be to hire a publicist. (World is full of social people, who know how to interact with others. That is a good thing, I wish I could be like that. Paring up with one would be ideal.) Only trouble is that I have gotten so mixed information about their usefulness, and there is the fact they cost. What I have learnt is that as an author both traditional and self-publishing you have to do marketing, there is no escaping the demand of being active on social media. So, I opted out hiring a publicist and instead try to learn about book marketing strategies by myself. Internet is full of blogs, articles, and pages dedicated to marketing strategies. They provide simple lists to follow (top 5 things to do and so on), but reading and following them can be overwhelming. After finding Reedsy, I attended to their email courses about marketing and Amazon algorithms, to understand what I was getting myself into. It’s a lot what’s needed to get your book noticed. There are mailing lists, giveaways, adds, social media, search engines, how lists work… I’m currently going over these, and which of those I can do before and after launching my first book, and what I need to try with my second book. I’m attending at the moment Reedsy’s once a day email course(s) about marketing and getting my head around the information. What I have learnt is get 2-3 marketing places (for me Twitter, this blog, and Goodreads) and try to make the best of them. Higher than 3 is too much. Dividing attention to different platforms takes a toll on writing and marketing itself. The advice I got was do marketing where your potential readers are and rely on worth to mouth as it is still the best way to get readers. So finding a community should be my priority.
The thing is communities and groups scares me. I lie to myself that I can’t find suitable ones. And when and if I do, I stand on the doorsteps unable to go in. It’s a funny thing how old hangups come back and bite you. I have been told that with my author personality, I can “invent” myself, be anything and do anything, to use it as a front cover. First of all, it isn’t that easy to shake up old habits, and secondly, I want to be me. Yes I should try to be further adventurous and take risks, but still it would be me behind the front cover and my pen name. I rather be honest who and what I am even when I’m doing that under “false” name (Yes this is absurd.) I am at this stage: I need to knock to the door and step in. When I get in, the first thing I say won’t be I have a book and you will like it, it won’t be even the second thing. First, I say hello and then I ask what they have been up to. At some point I might mention my book, but only after I have gotten into the group. I understand all this, but I need to take that step first. And all this anxiety isn’t about that I don’t want to get to know people, I would like to find like-minded friends and readers to discuss books and life and everything, this is about my own insecurities and past experiences.
I never knew I would have to dismantle my mind to be able to write and publish my work, to let them both get under my skin and break my restrictions.