Marketing & Promotion
Introversion and Self-Promotion
On another thread we were discussing self-promotion and I mentioned how being an introvert had made some aspects of self-promotion challenging.
Any other introverts out there? How have you dealt with the challenge of promoting yourself?
I am a hermit on the Meyers-Briggs I-E scale. It’s not that I dislike other people, but I prefer my own company and I am happiest when I am alone.
My coping strategy for introversion is preparation. When I perform in front of people, I find out everything I can, and I know what will work before I get there.
I learn what I can about the venue, the physical layout, the media equipment, how close I will be to the listeners, where the men’s room is and where I will park my car, everything that threatens to raise some uncertainty or stress in the engagement.
I learn everything I can about the audience. The gender, age, interests, and how long it’s been since they’ve had a meal are important. A bar or food on site will make a difference. I tailor the presentation to the audience. I’ve used a Brandy Manhattan as a prop more than once, but not when speaking to the Temperance League.
I know my material. I write it out. I develop an outline of the text, and prepare note cards from the outline. Then I study the note cards, and when it’s time for the presentation I leave the text and the outline and the cards in the car. I’ve spoken for as long as 50 minutes without notes, hit the key points and turns of phrasing that I wanted, and sold books when I was through.
I am not a public speaker. It’s exhausting for me. I can do it with thorough preparation. In my day job I have to meet with small groups and large, and be direct and confident and persuasive. The people are professional partners and professional adversaries, committees and governing boards, and occasionally an arbitrator or a judge. I can do it because I have prepared.
We introverts get our energy from inside, from our own internal world of ideas, emotions, and impressions. This buffers us somewhat from the effects of rejections; we don’t have quite so strong an emotional need for the approval of others.
Of course we need enough approval from others so they will buy our books.
It’s best I think to hang out with the friends of our stories. It’s important to know the target audience. The target audience of my two published short story collections is a middle class/working class middle aged to older male from the Midwest who participates in fishing and/or hunting and has twenty dollars in his pocket. I had an editor suggest removing four “very well written” stories from the second book because they did not speak clearly to this target audience.
I've gone to speak and read and sell my books where these people gather. Why the twenty dollars? So my target has money to buy the book and enough left over to buy me a Brandy Manhattan.
Fortified thusly, I am encouraged to write a broader range of stories and cast a wider net for a more diverse readership.
Even we introverts can be brought into the mainstream in this way.
"We introverts get our energy from inside, from our own internal world of ideas, emotions, and impressions. This buffers us somewhat from the effects of rejections; we don’t have quite so strong an emotional need for the approval of others."
Perry, you've said this better than I've ever seen it said. That's it, exactly.
I'm an introvert with fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression. I was also a caregiver for my grandparents and mother for the past 15 years. I'm a Mom of a 15 and 8 year old. And before ALL of this, I was a Type-A personality working about 70-80 hours per week at a full-time job. There have been MANY times over these past couple of decades that I have felt challenged with not only self-promotion, but feeling normal enough to fit in with others.
BUT here's the thing... social media is awesome! You get to hide behind your cute profile picture and look cool to everyone you virtually meet. Why?
BECAUSE you get to plan the times you want to be social and the times you choose to unplug. You get to listen to others A LOT and you don't have to feel guilty about not contributing anything more to the conversation then a simple, "I'm here for you-- PM me anytime." or a "You are in my thoughts."
I think it's very important for introverts to schedule times to be alone, especially if you are sensitive with other issues in your life. Social media does not have to be complicated. Many of the really popular writers schedule their social times too. James Patterson only FB updates once a week or so.
I've been following that and it has helped me not only come out of my shell and socialize a little more but it also is great because I can plan my writing AROUND the social time.