Promoting your book by using your natural talents

Posted By on June 25, 2010

When I talk with most authors, I find that writing their book isn’t the biggest challenge; marketing is. Many authors tend to be more introverted, so blatant promotion of their work makes them very uncomfortable. It’s disappointing when I see authors invest so much of themselves—emotionally and financially—into their book only to see their enthusiasm wane when they realize buyers are not flocking to the bookstores or to their website to purchase their book. They are often “stuck,” unable and unwilling to move forward.

I maintain that it isn’t the marketing authors don’t like, it’s many of the traditional tactics they think of when they hear the word “marketing.” They are uncomfortable at the thought of getting “out there” to “toot their own horn.” The best way to promote your book is to find marketing activities that capitalize on your natural talents and abilities, and that you enjoy. It’s more likely you’ll actually do these activities.

Since most authors have a natural propensity toward writing, it makes sense for them to blog. Becoming active in the blogosphere (blogging and commenting on other blogs) is a great way to interact with readers and reach out to potential readers. Yet I am still surprised at the number of authors who resist. Some are not tech savvy, so they assume they won’t be able to figure out bloggging software. Others are worried they won’t know what to write about. Blogging software today is simple to use—even for non-techies. And as far as what to write about, what about writing your next book? Nina Amir has an entire blog devoted to this very topic.

If the thought of attending networking events or—gasp!—speaking in public leaves your mouth dry, try social media marketing. From the comfort and security of your own computer, you can interact with people—and potential readers—from all over the world. Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are easy for even the novice to sign up for and maneuver. When resistant authors ultimately sign up and start interacting, I hear over and over how much fun it is and how surprised they are at how many connections they are making.

If you are comfortable talking with people on the phone or face-to-face, then by all means—capitalize on your ability to schmooze. Attending events and meetings or conducting seminars and workshops can be an excellent way to build a name for yourself and promote your book—especially nonfiction.

Of course there will be some level of discomfort for nearly everyone when it comes to promoting yourself. At some point you will likely be called upon to step outside of your comfort zone if you truly want to sell books. But intersperse these activities with those at which you excel. If you focus primarily on what comes naturally to you, your book marketing plan will contain less struggle and will generate more success.

About The Author

As a writing coach and publishing consultant, I have worked with hundreds of authors, helping them write, edit, and publish hundreds of books. My book The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is slated for publication by Writer’s Digest in March 2010. I currently own Self-Publishing Resources; we provide book writing, book packaging, and book marketing services for self-publishers and small presses.


13 Responses to “Promoting your book by using your natural talents”

  1. This keeps baffling me. Marketing is a natural extension of writing for an andience, so someone that is good at the former should fare well at the latter… right? Why then are authors so hesitant?

  2. I think for many they feel it’s going to be too time-consuming. Or it will take them away from their “real” writing. Some are just nervous about the technology of it. But yeah–it seems like a no-brainer for a book author to maintain a blog, right?!

    Thanks, Muriel, for reading and commenting!

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PublishingSpy and Sue Collier, Sue Collier. Sue Collier said: Promoting your book by using your natural talents: [...]

  4. Hi Sue,

    Great blog. I followed a link posted by Nina Amir to get here. I am an author’s husband and I found myself nodding all the way through your post. Gina, my wife, is very shy but she has focused and proactive when it comes to marketing, but on her terms. She is a blogaholic – I believe she has five or six blogs, all active, all with frequent content added. For anything to do with marketing that she’s not comfortable with, I do for her.

    I think for many authors who find it difficult to put themselves forward, it’s often about stepping out of their comfort zone. That’s very hard for many people.

    Thanks again for a great post! Please swing by Gina’s site, or mine, if you ever have a moment. You never know, you might like what you see. :)

    All the best to you.

  5. Hi Ryoma–Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I also saw your comment on FB, so I’ll track down your blog that way. :-)

    Sounds like your wife is doing just what I suggest in the article–going with her strengths. I have found this to be quite true for myself as well. I love social media and it’s been a great way for me–and lots of other writers–to promote themselves.

    Thanks again for stopping by! Hope to see you again!

  6. Great topic. By nature, I’m more of a shy, quiet person, but when it comes to writing, my passion, I’m the total extrovert. Last week at a wine tasting event, a week before the release of my first book, I was asked a lot of questions about it, and about writing in general, and before I knew what was happening, I was center stage at a party, instead of propping up the wall as I would normally have done! You comment is spot on. Promoting a book is easy. Every writer should love talking about their book, especially when invited.

  7. Good for you, Jen! You’re so right–if we are writing about what we are passionate for, it should not be difficult to talk about. On the contrary, it should be difficult to shut us up! Ha!

    Thanks so much for sharing…hope you’ll stop back!

  8. A blog is the best way for an author to show off their talent. We tell all of our authors that they must have a blog even before they begin their book. If their readers like the blog most likely they will like their book.

  9. What if you are a “natural” blogger but can’t figure out how to keep track of where and when you blog! I’m hopelessly stuck trying to create a buz for my book via social media.

    How do you find blogs sufficiently active and popular to concentrate on?

    I don’t have a blog. Plan to launch a Facebook Page for my book and blog THERE. Possible??

  10. Great stuff, Sue.

    I’m not shy about getting my name out there and it absolutely leads to results. It’s a fine line between being pushy and being proactive.

    Words of wisdom for the shy, though…


  11. I love writing and anxiously await the publication of my second novel in my paranormal romance series, however I am too close to my own writing. I have no objectivity when it comes to my creativity but others pick up on things that I might never notice. I sometimes enjoy discovering book review sites and book blogger websites but I would much rather write. I feel marketing is the balance between my instincts and those professionals who have helped launch my first novel, Imortal Obsession. It’s total trust, give and take and listening to one another all the way.

  12. My novel’s title is Immortal Obsession! Sorry for the typo!

  13. Great topic and interesting ideas too. The alternatives you pointed out are somehow applicable to authors who choose to hide behind their own books. Do social media marketing instead of physically marketing your book in front of many people.

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