Saturday, July 21, 2007

Self-Promotion and the Introvert

I don't think I'm very good at self-promotion, which is bad. Because writing for Harlequin as I do, I'm pretty much stuck with promoting myself, because there's not a whole lot that Harlequin does to promote its lesser authors. We're thrown out among the sharks to sink or swim. (In Harlequin's defense, I think that's true of most new authors at most publishing houses).

I read a quote from someone who went to the RWA conference and sat in on an Agent panel. The gist of the quote was that authors should spend 3 to 10 hours a week self-promoting online. My question is--if I spend that much time self-promoting, when am I going to write? I work full time, for pete's sake, outside of my writing career. Yikes.

My self-promotion consists of this blog and my website, putting my books in the sig line of my email, occasional (far too occasional) posts on eHarlequin (also with my books in my sig line) and just basic word of mouth. The last two books, I bought bookmarks, but the problem with that is, by the time I get the cover art, I have only a month or so to get the bookmarks done and start distributing them before the book is out. And with category books, it's only in the store about a month, if that, before it's removed from the shelves to make room for more books.

I'm not at all comfortable with public speaking. I never have been, and I don't anticipate becoming so after all these years, so I don't think I can go the "give a presentation at a writer's conference" or "try to get on a local TV morning show" route. Just can't go there.

So what do I do? Keeping in mind that I'm a total INTJ (Myers-Briggs) introvert who has a terrible time asking for anything for myself or bragging on myself, what positive steps can I take to get my name and my book titles out there where people know about me? Steps that won't cost me an arm and a leg, mind you, because I'm nowhere near wealthy from my book profits at this point. ;) Anybody have any cool ideas?


MaryF said...

Did you read my agent notes? Kristin Nelson had some good tips that wouldn't be that time consuming.

And you've got me ;)

Paula said...

Yes, I read your agent notes. That's where I saw the hyperventilation-inducing "3 - 10 hours a week in self-promotion" thing. ;)

I actually do most of what Kristin suggested, except giving talks/workshops. So not gonna happen.

I have a friend, Cissy, who runs, and I think once I get a few more books under my belt and have a little more money to invest, I may let her take over maintaining my website and doing things like newsletters, etc.