The Introverted Author and Live Events

Depending on your promotional aspirations, at some point, you may wish to do a live event, like a book signing. I'll be attending the Texas Book Festival at the end of this week, and I'm already a jangle of nerves.

It's almost impossible to explain to the extroverted how much stress and strain this can put on an introvert. Our brains function differently than an extrovert's. It's easy for us to get over-stimulated, especially in a crowded, noisy situation. Our batteries are drained by social interaction instead of recharged. Unless we're careful, these can become negative situations for us.

Image by Cheyanne-Stinson
There are ways, though, to help make live events more comfortable.

1. Find a way to work in a few moments of alone-time. There will almost always be a few minutes of "down time" available during the event. Slip away by yourself for a few minutes to somewhere where you can be alone and calm. It helps to scope out the location ahead of time and find quiet little nooks.

2. Bring an extroverted friend to assist. I've found this to be very helpful. The friend can take the burden of most conversation off of you. If you're at a book festival, or other event where you're sharing space with multiple authors, they can help lure potential buyers over to your table by engaging them as they pass by, handing out bookmarks, etc.    

3. Keep your hands busy. This can help calm some of the anxiety you may feel. Drink some tea or water, sign some bookmarks between visitors.

4. Try to have a concrete schedule. As an INTJ, schedules and routine are very important to me. I'm not going to say I peer at my watch constantly, but knowing when your session has ended or when you can take a break can help you feel more in control of the situation.

5. Plan things to say. Think of questions to ask readers, such as how they discovered your books. That can help you feel less awkward than just "winging it."

Ten Tips for Building Your Author Blog

Mike Licht,

You could pay to have a professionally designed webpage with your own domain name, and someday, you'll probably want to do that, but when you're first starting to build your platform, a blog is a relatively easy-- and free-- way to do it.

There a few choices of hosts, such as WordPress and Wix; I've used Blogger because it seemed the easiest to me. There are online tutorials that walk you through getting started.

The best thing about it is that you can start off very simply, using the templates provided, and slowly work your way up to a more complex blog as you learn more about it. You don't need to be very computer literate to get started.

Here are some general tips & helpful hints I've used which apply to whichever host you decide to use:

1) Make sure that your blog is linked to your Google+ profile. This tells the Google search engine it's yours, and makes it more relevant in search results. Go into your Google+ profile and edit your "About" section. If your blog is not listed in the blogs in the "Contributor to" section, add it. You can also embed a "rel=author" tag into your posts to make sure it's picked up by the search engine when it trawls your site. I haven't done this so far.

2) You can get social media buttons without needing to learn coding or download/upload the images, etc., by using the NiftyButtons social media button maker. It creates the HTML code for you and all you have to do is paste it into a HTML gadget or widget box. Authors, make sure to make note of the Bookbaby section. This area creates buttons to link to your booksellers, like Amazon, and iTunes. Make sure the sharing bar is enabled on your posts; you will have to manually install a StumbleUpon button.

3) Position your content correctly. Your sidebar should be on the left side, and the most important icons you want your visitors to see at the top of the bar, just like a page in a book. It's the way our eyes have been trained since childhood to read things.

4) Use copyright-free Creative Commons licensed photos. You can be sued if you use someone else's photograph on your blog, and it's better to be safe than sorry. There are tons of photos in the public domain. There are also many online collections of copyright-free photos you can use. You can also do an advanced search on sites like Flickr to filter for material that's free to use.

5) A blog amplification group like Triberr will greatly expand your audience. See my article for further information.

 Mike Licht,
6) Write about what interests you. Chances are, they're subjects which interest your readers, as well. You may want to consider having several different blogs for different subjects. If you've written a murder-mystery, for example, and have a passion for gardening, your readers may be confused when clicking on your blog, looking for info about your book and seeing a post on rosebush pruning. I have a blog for each of my novels, my fanfiction, and this blog about marketing, aside from my main blog. I keep them all linked together on the toolbars at the top.

Extra content is always something visitors love. Deleted scenes, excerpts, Spotify songlists, photos of some of the locations in your novel ... One of my fellow authors has recipes for regional dishes from where her novel is set. It gives readers a reason to come back if you add more on a regular basis.

7) Try to make your blog match the mood of the book itself. If your story is dark and mysterious, a pink, flowery blog that looks like it was plucked from an Easter basket is incongruous.

8) Try to keep the layout simple and clean. That's something I'm working on rectifying on my own blog because the sidebar was just choked with widgets. Just like having too many signs in one area, if you have too much junk on your sidebar, the good stuff gets lost in the clutter. Some of the things you don't need include:

  • A hit counter-- your stats screen has that info
  • A tag cloud or recent posts-- you can put it in the footer, or add a search bar, which looks cleaner
  • An "About Me" section on the sidebar-- you can put it in a pages tab
  • Group membership icons/widgets-- put them in the footer
  • Members/networked blogs --put them in the footer, too.

Mike Licht,

9) Create an RSS feed for your blog. It's easily done in Blogger by adding an RSS gadget. This slideshow explains why it's so useful. Using the feed, you can set it up so your blog posts automatically appear on your Facebook timeline using an app like Social RSS.

10) Make sure your site is easy to navigate. If I want to buy your book right now, is there a tab or an Amazon icon that's easy to find? Same thing if I want to find other things you've written; do you have a tab or a link that's convenient and easy to spot?

The Introverted Author's Toolkit: WLC Facebook "Likes" & Re-Tweets

If you haven't done so already, you should set up your Facebook author or book page. A page differs from a profile in a couple of important ways. You are limited to having 5,000 friends on Facebook; there is no limit to "likes." I'm told this may be important to me someday, though I can't type that with a straight face.

Secondly, a page gives you all sorts of statistics on your visitors that you don't get from a profile page. There are all sorts of resources on the internet for using this data to tailor your content to increase traffic and such.

I just started my Facebook author page a few days ago, so the numbers from it aren't terribly interesting, but they give you an idea of what sort of data you'll be able to glean.

If you're like me, starting out without a huge fan base, you're not going to get many "likes." But there's some sort of complicated algorithm thingy regarding whether people will see your posts on their timeline based on the number of "likes" your page has, so increasing your likes is something you might want to consider focusing on.

There is a "like" sharing program which can be helpful in this regard. It's found at the World Literary Cafe. You will need to create an account before you'll be able to see this page.

First, you add your Facebook author/book pages to the list of links. Then, you choose a certain number of pages to "like" per day (ten is suggested,) and visit those pages. You'll leave a message on the page that you've come from the WLC program, and like the page. That's it. Others will do the same for you. I generally get between three to five likes from the program every day. And if you leave your page link in the message, the person you visited will usually return the favor.

The cool side-effect from this is you will see posts in your timeline from other indie authors & be able to re-post about books you think your audience might enjoy, contests & giveaways they might never have heard of otherwise.

Another feature they offer is Tweet Teams. This is especially useful for getting your message out to a new audience.

Each day, there's a new thread on the RT board. You compose one or two Tweets (read the rules; there's a hashtag & formula you have to use.) Your post will wind up on a thread page with ten other people. You send out at least one of their Tweets, and they return the favor. The random nature of the assignments means you'll be getting a fresh batch of audiences each time you use it, and you'll be introducing your audience to their books as well. It's win-win.

Like with ordinary Tweeting, "BUY MY BOOK!" isn't particularly effective. Quote a good review, or an intriguing line from your story, advertise a contest or giveaway you're having, etc. You're getting a brief introduction to another author's audience. Make it count.

Obviously, you don't want to send out all ten Tweets at once, so you'll need to use a Tweet scheduler like HootSuite or FutureTweets.

The Introverted Author's Toolkit: Book Sites

Most writers are readers, after all, so stop and think for a moment about where you find books. Chances are, it wasn't from an advertisement you saw somewhere, but from a review, or a book site.

Amazon, of course, is the primary book retail site, but that's not the kind of site I'm focusing on with this post. I'm talking about "social" book sites where readers review and exchange recommendations. Keep in mind that the more places you're listed, the more ways readers can encounter your book.


We'll start out with Shelfari, because of its association with Amazon. Shelfari is like a Wikipedia of books. Each book has its own detailed information page, including character bios, quotes, settings/locations and more. If you set up your Shelfari account through your Amazon Author Central page, that extra info will show up on your book page. It's another chance to hook the reader with details from your story.

Readers can leave reviews, or add to your description of the book. (I have an email alert set to notify me if any changes are made to the page.)

You can also add a Shelfari widget to your blog, displaying your favorite books, or just your own titles.


The largest social book site is Goodreads. If you haven't already claimed your profile or added your books, you should. Their Author Program page has instructions for doing so. They accept any published authors, whether through a traditional publisher, or self-published.

I have twice as many reviews on Goodreads as I do on Amazon. It's a more socially intensive site, and authors are encouraged to engage in the book discussion boards. I've made a couple of tentative forays in that direction, but haven't fully committed to it. I'm told that it has the same effect as social media: engagement builds relationships with readers, who turn into your readers once they get to know you and get curious about your work.

Goodreads also has a feature which lets you upload samples of your work. Effective ways to use this feature include adding deleted scenes, and short stories from your books.

Trivia questions and quotes are another feature that can get your book noticed. Some users are avid trivia fans and the newer questions are bumped toward the top.

Goodreads giveaways are also very popular and get your book attention. The only restriction is that the giveaway book has to be a paper copy, not an ebook.

One thing that's very important to know about Goodreads is that there is a very strict system of author etiquette you are expected to follow. Ignore it at your peril.


LibraryThing is a growing site, somewhat like a mixture of Shelfari and Goodreads. You can enter extra info on the book, such as character names, tags, your favorite reviews from other sites, first and last words, and a summary in haiku.

There are also discussion boards, featured authors, local events and giveaways.


AuthorsDB is like the IMDb of books. Add your bio, your links to all of your social media and retail sites, plus your books with cover and full summaries. You can also add book trailers, audio clips and documents to your entry.

Authorgraph (formerly Kindlegraph)

 Authorgraph is very simple site which allows you to send electronic autographs to readers. Upload your books with Amazon links. The autographs are sent to the reader as a PDF file they can attach to the book in the Kindle. You can sign using an iPad or similar touch-screen device and then save your signature to use on future requests, or (as I do) sign each time.


ManicReaders is the only site among these that has a paid membership option with expanded benefits. The free version allows you to make an author page with bio, links, and picture, as well as the customary book page. You can also upload free samples or short stories. Another difference is that you can upload an ebook to the site so it's available for reviewers.


I'm always on the look-out for more sites like these, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

The Introverted Author's Toolkit: Triberr

Triberr is called a "blog amplification service," and essentially, what that means is your blog posts will be shared over multiple social media networks by numerous sources.

Your blog's RSS feed sends it to Triberr and then your tribe mates share it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and Google+.

It looks confusing at first, but it's actually very easy to use once you get it set up. This page gives you step-by-step instructions on how to get set up.

Every day, I check my "Tribal stream" page once or twice. It looks and works much like your Facebook page. (Well, without the cat pictures and TMI.)

This is my Triberr homepage, the "Tribal Feed." In the center, you see posts from my tribemates. I scroll through those and select the ones I want to share on my social networks. Generally, I select posts about indie authors, writing, new romance novels, etc. Things I think my Twitter and Facebook followers may enjoy.

I want you to notice something up in the corner:

That is the total number of people who are following the members of my tribe. That means, if every member of all of my tribes shared my post, it has the potential to be seen by over a million and a half people. Now, in reality, that doesn't happen, but I do get a decent number of shares.

The top post has been shared eighty-four times and the post below it has been shared sixty-eight times so far, and those numbers will increase a bit more over time as the stragglers catch up. Those posts are reaching people who wouldn't normally have seen my blog.

On this site, reciprocity counts.  You'll notice that people will be more willing to share your posts if you share theirs. Hovering over their icon will tell you how many times you've shared their posts.

Finding tribes can be done in two ways.

On the left side of your Tribal Stream screen, you'll see a search box below your stats. This is an example of a search for writing tribes.

Click on "Tribes" after you punch in your keyword. Browse though them to find one that looks promising. Make sure to check that they're still active.

Click on the orange "Follow" button on the right. This does not make you a member of the tribe. If you only "Follow" you will get their posts in your stream, but they will not get yours. You have to ask to join a tribe.

After you click "Follow," it will take you to a comment screen. Leave a comment there, asking to join the tribe.

Once you're already in some tribes, you have another way to search for them by using the "Discover" button on your menu bar.

You will be taken to a page where you can browse through tribes similar to the ones you're already in.

Use the blue arrows on the right to tab through the available tribes, and the orange "Follow" button to start the joining process.

When an invitation has been sent to you, it will appear as a blue dot beside your "Invites" button on the menu bar at the left. Accept the invitation, and you're in!

I strongly recommend this site for all of my introverted author friends. It's a great tool for spreading your blog posts, and getting new followers, without having to spam your social networks about your blog.

The Introverted Author's Challenge: Marketing

One Way Stock
It's difficult to sell a book today. The ebook and self-publishing revolution have flooded the market with thousands of new books, new authors, and even new genres. It's a great time to be a reader, because it means more choices than ever before, but for the author, it's akin to standing in a huge, crowded room full of people shouting to get the attention of a reader in the doorway. If you look hard, you'll find the introverted authors at the back of the room, huddled against the walls, and ducking behind the potted plants, trying not to make eye contact.

More and more, even the big publishers are relying on their authors to market their books. Fortunately, the bulk of it is online these days, but even that safe distance sometimes presents challenges to the introverted and/or socially inept.

You still have to put yourself forward, ask people to review your books, announce sales, and try to build a following. The latter requires active engagement on social media platforms.

I'll be honest, I don't like marketing, and I don't think I'm very good at it, but I'm learning things along the way that can help my fellow introverts get the most out of it.