Do you regard writing as heaven and getting your work known as hell?
If so, I’m guessing that you’re an introvert. Introverts love being alone, neck-deep in work projects they have initiated. Solitary passions feed their soul most, and they become cranky if they don’t get enough quality time to themselves.
Introverts usually shy away from selling and calling attention to themselves. They dread or despise small talk with strangers. In a large group, they look for ways to escape or to create an oasis of comfort with just one or two others.
If you recognize your personality in the previous paragraphs, you probably look upon marketing your work as something alien, exhausting and hard. Well, cheer up. If you approach marketing in a “no rules” spirit, it can feel as comfortable as cooking a meal with friends, singing in the shower or exploring trails that don’t seem to have been trod in years.
You see, society teaches us that promoting yourself is a kind of performing, it is done in public and those with the gift of gab do it best. However, each of those statements is untrue. Let’s take them in reverse order.
In the early 1990s, I teamed up to offer business writing seminars with a friend who could fearlessly schmooze with anyone, on the phone or in person. The idea was that she would land clients and I would serve as the back-office person, in charge of details. We would both deliver the seminars.
After a year or two, though, when I analyzed who was actually responsible for bringing business in the door, I discovered that I was far more effective than she was. My quiet skills of precise writing, creative positioning and connecting with participants in the small adult education classes I regularly taught far outperformed her ability to mouth off like a salesperson.
Promotion doesn’t necessarily take place in public. Putting together a postcard, a press release or a newsletter to send out, or a blog piece to post is something you do in private. Talking to a reporter on the phone, in your writing office or even in a studio under spotlights isn’t like standing on a stage or amidst a crowd at a party, either.
And last, promoting yourself actually works best when you stay true to your values, your attitudes and your personality. Fans of your work won’t want you to pretend you’re brazen when you’re shy or that you’re a city sophisticate when you feel most at home on your ranch in Big Sky country (or vice versa).
So I encourage you to reject the myth that marketing your work requires you to put on a mask, to steel yourself to play a role or to engage in unpleasant tasks. Build an audience your way.
Toss out the “shoulds” dictated by so-called experts and instead, start by listing at least three things related to getting the word out about your work that you enjoy doing. For example, you may love writing answers to questions on writing forums. You may like designing stuffed creatures who resemble your novel’s characters. You may find it exhilarating to coach others who are beginners at their craft compared to you. All these things are activities that can become part of your unique marketing plan.
In addition, stretch yourself and try some promotional activity that’s not on that list. You may be shocked to see how readily you take to something you mistakenly thought you couldn’t handle. For instance, I grew up thinking I was hopeless at public speaking. But when it came to commentaries I had written and then edited with a skilled producer, I was able to deliver them on National Public Radio. It turned out to be one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. And weirdly, even though those commentaries had nothing to do with my primary business activities at the time, they promoted me effectively.
Again, pay no attention to the “musts” in anyone else’s marketing system. Someone says you have to blog to be successful? I don’t blog. Someone says you have to do a book tour? Noted recluse Thomas Pynchon never does. Discover what works for you.
About Marcia Yudkin
A bookworm as a child, Marcia Yudkin grew up to discover she had a surprising talent for creative marketing. She’s the author of more than a dozen books, including 6 Steps to Free Publicity, now in its third edition, and Meatier Marketing Copy. She mentors introverts so they discover their uniquely powerful branding and most comfortable marketing strategies, and helps them create a promotional presence that attracts the kind of clients who make them happiest.
To learn more about the strengths and preferences of introverts, download her free Marketing for Introverts audio manifesto: http://www.yudkin.com/introverts.htm