Your dreams of being a successful, published writer probably didn’t include visions of pounding the pavement and sending out email blasts, trying to sell your book. But whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, doing your own marketing is the new reality. The trick is to find out what you’re good at (and what you’re not!) when coming up with a marketing strategy.
So, what are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to promoting your book?
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? A gregarious, outgoing extrovert will be more comfortable with open mike night, interviews, readings, and other social venues. If you’re a social butterfly, talk up your book to everyone you meet, and enjoy the spotlight!
But if the idea of socializing makes you break out in hives, you may want to direct your efforts to behind-the-scenes promotion. Introverts can concentrate on social media, blogging, and coming up with clever promotional giveaways and contests. (Or let the Writer’s Relief Virtual Assistant Program do it for you!)
What do other people think your strengths and weaknesses are? It’s not always easy to evaluate yourself. Ask your friends and colleagues what they think your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to self-promotion.
You don’t have to be pushy or obnoxious to promote your work. If your friends agree that you are warm and compassionate and a good listener, you can concentrate on forming interpersonal relationships with your readers, whether it’s face-to-face, through social media, or on your author website.
Or maybe your colleagues concede that you’re just a little bit (ahem)…self-confident? Tap into that supreme buoyancy and channel it into effective promotion. Throw a launch party and celebrate your new book in style. Just remember to add a dash of humility!
Do you have a niche or a unique hook? Maybe you run an ostrich farm when not writing, or you have firsthand experience in third world agriculture, or you speak five languages. Even if your book isn’t about ostriches or agriculture or foreign languages, look for possible tie-ins between it and your hobbies or experience. If there’s something unique about you or your life, this could be a strength in terms of marketing.
Do you have other talents or tricks or interesting personality traits? Are you known for your sense of humor? Create a silly video or book trailer and let your inner comedian out! Or feature your original artworkor music inspired by your book on Facebook or your author website. Do you have a rich, soothing voice? Record yourself reading an excerpt of your book or your poetry.
By staying true to your personality and your values (if something feels creepy or inauthentic, don’t do it!), you’ll be an effective advocate for your book.
What scares you the most about self-promotion? This question may help you identify weaknesses when it comes to marketing. If your fear is public speaking, avoid situations that put you in front of the microphone. (Or sign up for Toastmasters and learn to deal with it!) If your fear is rejection, read more about how to handle it here—but don’t let the fear of rejection get in the way of confidently promoting your work.
“Heroes must see to their own fame. No one else will.” ― Gore Vidal, Julian
Still not sure what your strengths and weaknesses are? Feel free to experiment! Marketing involves plenty of trial and error, so set realistic, attainable goals, and take note of what works best—both for your personality type AND your book sales.