Good news for introverted writers: I was on a publishing panel last month with Michelle Vandepas, a marketing coach who works frequently with authors. At one point, she noted that book authors tend to be of two different types, those most comfortable with the creative aspects of the job ("writers," in my vocabulary) and those most comfortable with the social aspects of publishing ("authors," in my vocabulary). The latter always have an easier time with marketing, she said. No news there.
What got my attention was her insistence that writers and authors should build marketing strategies around their strengths rather than their weaknesses. When I put it this way, it seems obvious. However, the surest way to sell books is to interact with potential readers, via all manner of presentations, and sell books directly to them. Extroverted authors are at a clear advantage in this arena. Introverted writers, on the other hand, are known for cultivating the "if you build it, they will come" fantasy. If you write a book, get it published, and get it into stores, readers will be found. (Passive voice used intentionally.) This is so delusional, in my experience, that I've just assumed that the introverted writer who truly wants to be successful must suck it up and act like an extroverted author.
Not so, suggests Vandepas. She believes in building marketing platforms for writers around their aptitude and propensity to write. Thus, the introverted writer may find herself being pushed to work seriously on a blog (or blogs), become active commenter on other blogs, join and participate in Yahoo groups, and so on.
To be honest, I don't think the introverted writer should forego the in-person social interaction that is most effective for selling books, but the idea that your marketing strategy should be based on your strengths is both compelling and reassuring--especially to this introverted writer.--The Publishing Pro. .