June 15th, 2012 | by Beth Barany
Welcome to Artist Entrepreneur Fridays, where we focus on how to create a successful and sustainable author career from the business and strategic perspectives. This week I have another guest post from Matthew Ashdown, a personal empowerment coach and author, best known for his work as a GratiDude, speaking and coaching on the power of gratitude to transform business and life. This month he shares 5 book promotion tips for introverts.
“Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”
Most authors are introverts, and the lucky ones get to team up with an extravert who becomes their personal megaphone. I have spoken to many authors over the years, and most of them would just love it if I would take up the promotional piece for them, and they would be quite content sitting invisibly in the background.
I get it. Believe it or not I am introvert, too, and I had to embrace that before I was able to really enjoy the successes that I have had in life. Trained as an aerospace engineer, I was the shy, geeky, self-critical guy who decided to become a personal trainer. That did a ton of good for my confidence, and putting myself into a position of public speaking brought it out even more. Despite being shy, I wanted to do public speaking, and I know that it is a major fear for many authors. But many have done it in the name of spreading their book further afield.
Don’t let the fact that you are an introvert, become an excuse for you not to have the success you desire for your book.
1) Don’t compare yourself to extraverts. When I was taking my work with Brad Morris around the world, with our alter egos “The GratiDudes,” I often felt like the invisible one. You see, Brad is Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, personified. He even has a striped orange and black sweater! And because he is an extravert people flocked to him. Meanwhile I sat somewhere between being jealous of his magnetism, and happy to be invisible. Eventually I was able to embrace the many gifts of being an introvert, found peace within myself, and actually began to have more of an impact as a result. So don’t compare yourself with extraverts, you will drive yourself crazy. You can still enjoy success in a world that can sometimes place greater value on extraversion.
2) Take baby steps. Allow yourself some time before you realize your dream of being on the Ellen show. Take baby steps in between. Start by producing short YouTube videos, or recording your voice for your website. And know that nobody else is criticizing it as much as you are. There are no pictures of me on camera in my teenage years, as far as I am aware, and I hated my voice, and seeing myself on video. But I realized it was the voice of my inner critic that wanted me to play it safe and small. Now I have come to appreciate them, and can listen quite easily to my voice and watch my videos. When I do listen, they provide me with great feedback as to how to improve as I move forward.
3) Don’t think too much. If you are like me, then sometimes you fall into the trap of thinking about all the details before you act. The challenge with that is you end up thinking about all of the things that can go wrong. People always told me that I think way too much, it used to bother me, and I would go away for hours and think about it. I have learned that when I have great ideas for promotion, or thoughts of people to call, that I need to think more on my feet, and take that action step straight away. Thinking can be your greatest gift, and yet we need to be aware of the self-sabotaging aspect of it. Plan your talks, your speeches, your events, and your radio interviews, but allow yourself to have fun and go with the flow, too.
4) Spend time with people. I know, you would rather be locked away in your cabin in the woods, with a fire blazing, than hanging out with others. I am talking about balance here. For me, large groups of people can be a little too much. I love spending time with a small group of people and having heartfelt connection. It can be in small house parties, networking groups, classes, and they can also be great ways of spreading your book further. And then I take time to meditate, create and write at other times. Sitting inside of my house all day has definitely limited my connections in the past and so healthy balance is key. We introverts need our time of inner reflection, it is how we get our books written, and at the same time we do also have a need for human connection. We can be picky about the kind that we choose though.
5) Social media could be the magic bullet for you. There are authors making quite good money, simply through sharing their wares in the online world. They can think very carefully about what they write before posting anything. It is great when you can write blogs (using your craft of writing), Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and LinkedIn to promote your books without having to make public appearances. Amanda Hocking is a fine example of one such author. She promoted herself to millionaire status via creative online marketing. So yes, it is possible to do a lot of initial work on the social media alone. Study it, embrace the changes (which happen often) and be creative in how you use it. ( I see very creative promotions coming from authors often.) But even Hocking, with her new found fame, had to step out of her comfort for TV and radio interviews occasionally.
As an introvert, it is possible to enjoy successes with your books, but this author believes that in order to achieve the higher levels that many people aspire to you, you will have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone from time to time, and speak up in public, for the good of the message you share. Just know that you can practice it bit by bit. And most of all, learn to thank your inner critic for its concerns, and then ask it to be on its way.
Now, off you go. Your writing awaits you.
Matthew Ashdown is a personal empowerment coach, best known for his work as a GratiDude, speaking and coaching on the power of gratitude to transform business and life. He is also an avid writer, currently working on his first novel and lives in Victoria, BC. More information about Matthew and his services at www.MatthewAshdown.com.