Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Marketing Tribulations

Last night, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and went to a marketing seminar for writers. The speaker was amazing. He makes his living writing and songwriting. He gave examples on how he learned about marketing in elementary school—he had a bullet lodged under his armpit (true story) and he charged kids their milk money to feel the bullet. He told us how he got a $50K deal for a song he wrote on the way to a meeting (he’d told them he had a song just for them—he didn’t, he wrote it on the way).

But here’s my problem. I’m so NOT the kind of person who says, “For 50 cents you can feel the hollowpoint rifle bullet my brother shot me with and is now lodged in my armpit because it would do too much damage to surgically remove.” Nope. So not me. I’m more like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about—my brother would never accidently shoot me with a gun—that gauze hanging out of sleeve is for sweat. I, uh, sweat a lot.” Of course, afterwards I’d have a crisis of conscience for lying.

But shyness isn’t my only problem. And I have serious spending money issues. Several years ago went we had to buy a new couch (our former one broke into two pieces), Cal actually made the purchase while I did deep breathing exercises and calming self-talk—“We need a place for people to park their heineys when they visit. This purchase cannot be avoided.”

The problem with my spending issues is that I apply them to everyone. This is why I never worked in retail during the summer. This is me working at Belk/Gottchalks/Talbots/etc. “Um, are you sure you can afford the shoes and purse that match that outrageously overpriced dress? Besides, it’ll be out of style in six months.” So I have trouble asking people to pay for my book. Even if it’s only 99 cents. Okay, I don’t feel bad asking for 99 cents.

What I need is a version of the Dummies book, only this one would be “Book Marketing for Shy People Who Are Paranoid of Asking People to Spend Their Money on Anything, even on something so valuable that they’ve invested two years of their life into it.” Does anyone know about a book like that? And if you have any shy, non-aggressive person suggestions, I’m all over that.

N.B. For other who are in the same boat as I am. Here’s what I’ve done so far: book blog reviews, author interviews, book features, submitted my book to different e-book review sites, posters, GoodReads, Shelfari, Twitter, Facebook, inkPageant, and I run two blogs. I’d love to hear what you’ve done. I’m actually joining a writers’ marketing group associated with a local writers’ guild. So check back because I’ll share what I learn—we’re all in this together.


  1. Hm, see, I'm shy and hate spending money (except on books), but I discovered as a teenager that I'm really, really good at selling other people's goods. My sister apprenticed to a silversmith for years, eventually started her own jewelry business, and man, I could SELL her pieces like no man's business - "You don't know which your wife would like better, the bracelet or the earrings? Buy both - just think of how special you'll make her feel!" When I got into retail, I was pretty good there, too. It's selling my OWN stuff that I have a hard time with; I'm no good at promoting myself.

    So I'm afraid I'm no help. But if you do find that book, let me know! Maybe it will have a section for people who are really good at selling other people's goods, but notsomuch their own.

  2. Sorry, I can't help you, either. I'm the kind of person who'll craft something, and then when someone admires it and wants to buy it, will give it to her. Lousy, lousy, lousy at self-promotion or making money. It certainly sounds like you're doing a terrific job so far, though.

  3. I'm the same way! I have no trouble asking people to buy other people's books, but when it comes to mine, I'm like "...." I try to put myself out there, and get things going, because I really do believe in my books--I just worry I'm going to cross a line from "marketing" to "annoying blogger." ;)

  4. Those are two of my things too! I'm shy and it doesn't quite sit right to me when I'm asking someone to pay me, you know?

    I'm not so bad with spending, but I will hem and haw over things. I'll definitely splurge once in a while, but I'm also always looking for deals. Haha.

    There's a blog, Shrinking Violets promotions, which is book marketing for introverts that I've found amusing and informative!

  5. “Book Marketing for Shy People Who Are Paranoid of Asking People to Spend Their Money on Anything, even on something so valuable that they’ve invested two years of their life into it.”

    Um, yeah. I need this book.