INTROVERT 911: Putting Yourself Out There as an Author (Part 2)
by Donna Galanti
Many writers have voiced their fears to me over the years of putting their author selves out there and I totally get it! I was nervous once too. Let me tell you though, introverts can get a lot of mileage out of “social” media. Here are some tips about that!
Don’t worry about trying to be everywhere on social media. So, what can you do?
Start a blog (if you’re like me when I started out, you’ll be most comfortable sharing your thoughts on your own site because it’s a place people have voluntarily chosen to visit — you’re not bugging anyone in a “public” place). Or you can choose to guest blog and if you are daring enough -promote your posts on social media to send people to your site.
And if you guest blog – Use those sites to get to know your potential fans (or people who, based on their profiles, might become your fans!). Blogging is a wonderful way to connect with readers and writers. And people are a lot more likely to click on a link to a useful blog post than they are to click on a buy-my-book link. Then, through your blog, people can get to know your writing style and what you’re all about and continue that connection with you.
Be generous online – promote others. If they write books like yours – promote it. If they wrote a post on 3-legged cats and YOU have a 3-legged cat too – then promote it. These are great ways to connect with like-minded people and reach your potential readers. And being generous on social media is a fantastic way to get the limelight off YOU and on to someone else while also providing yourself with indirect visibility. Also, this way it won’t feel like you are putting the limelight on yourself.
LISTEN to what others are saying online and respond with a useful comment, tip, or similar story. People will see you as someone who is empathetic and helpful. You may think being quiet can be a hindrance but listening to people can be a wonderful asset and show a sincere interest and can draw people to you.
Use social media scheduling tools to set up social media posts to stagger out over the week. It can seem less intimidating to schedule a post in the future to post it real time. Just be sure to go online and respond to comments and continue the dialogue on your posts. Don’t be a ghost poster.
Instead of perceiving any marketing task as hideous chore, think of it as “teaching, communicating, and relationship building. It’s about offering people solutions to problems. It’s not shouting out loud about your book all the time, but rather about bringing meaning and useful information to people.”
Once you feel comfortable online socially with your author persona, it’s much easier to extend the relationships into the real world. So first, make online connections, then find a way to meet up in person. Real bonds can be formed hanging out online. Not pitching or selling, just sharing a moment. I’ve connected with so many writers and readers online first and then met in person which made it SO MUCH easier to be social as we already had established a connection.
A final tip here once you do meet up in person with people – dress for success! At home I love to hang out in my yoga pants and t-shirts, but I always dress just a bit nicer when I go out, even to the grocery store and especially to my favorite local bookstore. I never know when I will run into people I know (and have)! Feeling good about how you look makes you feel more confident to socialize.
Prepare for extraordinary things to happen to you when you go out there in public. Every day think, “today I could run into someone who could change my life.” And Dressing up will boost your confidence and increase your social skills when you meet that someone.
Here are some fun tidbits about how it’s awesome to be an introvert:
Being shy, geeky, and socially awkward is the new cool. Seriously it is! Now, I know not all introverts are socially awkward (we just need time to recharge our batteries after being overstimulated).
Also, “geeks” and “nerds” have become cool (and I’m throwing those terms out there as a reference only). It’s cooler now to say “I was unpopular in high school” than the opposite. So, embrace your awkward, quirky, geeky self! I am myself in many ways and that’s the genuine me (and my son can confirm that!). As Dr. Seuss said, there is no one youer than you. And people will be attracted to YOU.
Observe the internet memes and popular TV shows in the past few years. I can think of at least 5 shows that star a brilliant but extremely socially awkward main character but one with (photographic memory or other cool skills). Think “Big Bang Theory” or “House” or “Sherlock Holmes.” They aren’t all introverted but are socially awkward, BUT they are comfortable in their own skin being weird.
And I think people often expect writers to be quirky and awkward at times. We are these mysterious creatures to some. So, play it up if it’s your thing and as long as you are being you!
Any time you are lacking confidence in this area, go look up the awesome video of Jennifer Lawrence accepting an Oscar. She’s not polished and dazzling. She tripped coming up the stairs at the Oscars, talks about being shy, and is generally a nerd and goofball – and she’s awesome. Totally real. People love her. And people will love you!
Just be sure, if you are an introvert, to carve out down time to replenish your energy for the next round of putting yourself out there in a public forum.
Bottom line for introverts when it comes to putting yourself out there:
Be proactive in creating your author persona. Do it now in baby steps. Ease into a new comfort zone. Don’t wait until the last minute to establish your author persona. Do it now before you are published if you can. It will feed into all you need to do to create an online and in-person author presence and to promote and market your first book – and future books. If you need tips on building author persona, check out my guide here: 4 Ways to Create Your Author Persona
No go put yourself out there! You’ve got this 😊.
Donna Galanti is the author of the bestselling paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. She is represented by Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and regularly presents as a guest author at schools. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna has long been a leader in the Mid-Atlantic writing scene as a workshop presenter. She’s taught on writing craft and marketing at writing conferences, retreats, regional writing organizations, and colleges and is also a writing contest judge at nycmidnight.com. Donna also loves teaching writers about building author brand and platform through her free training series at yourawesomeauthorlife.com. Visit her at donnagalanti.com.
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