Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Introvert Struggles with Self-Promotion: Lessons Learned

 By Guest Blogger Sara van Dyck
Last year I self-published an e-book for children, about a quiet but influential scientist. Research and writing were stimulating - but the prospect of  marketing  intimidated me. So many books out there, so many ads screaming for attention, so much drama. How could I compete?

But any publicity was up to me, and that meant  communicating, exposing myself, persuading – all things an introvert has trouble with, even online. So I’d like to share what I learned from one mistake, and one step taken I  hope in the right direction.

When I first tried to attract readers to my book, I sought advice from others. "Spread the word to everybody you know," they recommended. Attract “followers.”  Attend events. Set up speaking engagements. Engage in online “communities.”  I struggled with these but felt I didn’t fit in.  I felt surrounded by too much action, too many people - as though I were playing a guitar and somehow wandered into a marching band.

So my first lesson was to “Claim your  identity,” as Shelleman puts it. I needed to use my own style - the analysis, the thoughtfulness, the care for detail that went into my book - as a source of strength in promotion.

So I stepped back and moved more deliberately. I set a few goals, such as getting reviews. I identified people who might understand and appreciate my book, as well as significant colleagues  - what Shelleman might call the stakeholders -  and considered more personal approaches.

Is this paying off? It’s growing. Comments have been positive, and it’s gratifying to feel that people enjoy my book. The next step will be figuring out how to attract likely readers. Especially, I hope, children who may find encouragement to follow their inner dreams.

Note:  Sara van Dyck is author of a delightful book that I recently reviewed.  If there is a child in your life, you should check it out:  "The Boy Who Loved Ants: Edward O. Wilson". 
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