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Many authors are introverts (I certainly am!) but this can be a strength when it comes to entrepreneurship. Today, I talk to Beth Buelow, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur.
In the intro, I mention NOOK closing their UK store and other NOOK changes, Amazon's new physical bookstore in San Diego, problems with Kindle books with Table of Contents at the back, Data Guy and Author Earnings data at Digital Book World, and I'm interviewed on the Unemployable podcast.
The corporate sponsorship for this show pays for hosting and transcription. This podcast episode is sponsored by 99 Designs, where you can get all kinds of designs for your author business including book covers, merchandising, branding and business cards, illustrations and artwork and much more. You can get a Powerpack upgrade which gives your project more chance of getting noticed by going to: 99Designs.com/joanna
Beth Buelow is an author, professional coach, speaker and podcaster. Today we are talking about her bestselling book, The Introvert Entrepreneur, Amplify Your Strength and Create Success on Your Own Terms.
You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- The definition of Introversion and Extroversion and recognizing where we each fall on the spectrum. We both recommend Quiet by Susan Cain (which really helped me embrace my introversion.)
- How introverted authors can cope with extroverted situations, including using social media beforehand to prepare.
- Strategies for introverts and extroverts to understand each other and work together.
- The strengths and advantages that introverted entrepreneurs have.
- The struggles that entrepreneurial introverts encounter.
- Book marketing strategies for introverted authors.
- On Beth's platform and how that helped her to get a traditional book deal.
You can find Beth at www.TheIntrovertEntrepreneur.com and on twitter @introvertcoach. Her book, The Introvert Entrepreneur, Amplify Your Strength and Create Success on Your Own Terms, is here on Amazon.
Transcription of interview with Beth Buelow
Joanna: Hi, everyone. I am Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn, and today I am here with Beth Buelow. Hi, Beth.
Beth: Hi, Joanna. It's nice to be here with you.
Joanna: It's great to have you on the show. Just a little introduction: Beth is an author, professional coach, speaker and podcaster. Today we are talking about her bestselling book, The Introvert Entrepreneur, Amplify Your Strength and Create Success on Your Own Terms, which is fantastic.
Beth, just start by telling us a little bit more about you and your business.
Beth: Well, it is so funny that we start out with asking about me because that's one of the toughest questions for an introvert to answer. It's like we want to go, “No, tell me about you. I want to know about you.” But as you said, yes, I am a coach and podcaster, and author, and speaker. And I live here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in the United States, in Tacoma, Washington, not far from Seattle. And I have a husband, a cat and a dog who might make an appearance during this interview. We'll see. And yeah, I have been coaching know from about almost eight years.
It feels like yesterday when I just started my training. So it's exciting to be able to say, yeah, I've got a few years under my belt. I'm excited to have been able to use the coaching platform and what I've learned, and the topic that I talk about to be able to parley that into a book to help spread the message even further.
I believe passionately in the power of introverts and the power of entrepreneurship.
And when those two things can intersect in a really healthy way, we can change the world. We already have, but I think we can continue to do so in even more powerful ways. So that's a little bit about me and my business. I coach one-on-one clients and do speaking engagements and I love doing my podcast as I'm sure you love doing yours. It's a very introvert-friendly medium.
Joanna: It is.
Beth: So that's a little bit about me.
Joanna: Fantastic. And I guess I first became aware of you a while ago now and eventually emailed you. I've seen your book in my bookstore here in Bath, in England. So it really is getting around.
I wanted to first ask, for people listening who might still not get the difference, the personality types.
What is your definition of an introvert and also why has it suddenly become so acceptable to talk about?
Beth: I know. We're kind of in the golden age of the introvert.
Beth: Introversion and extroversion are two terms that have been around since the 1920s. They were penned by Carl Jung who is a Swiss psychiatrist, psychologist with whom your listeners are probably familiar. And I like to go back to the core definition of what introversion and extroversion is which is about energy and orientation to the world.
An introvert gains energy through solitude, and drains energy during social interaction.
It doesn't mean that we can't do the social interaction or that we don't enjoy it. But in order to get up the energy to do it, we need ample alone time, quiet time, low stimulation time.
And an extrovert — while we're all on a spectrum — will tend to lean the other way. They will get energized through social interaction and higher stimulation environments, and they will get drained if they spend too much time alone or they don't have enough stimulation coming their way.
Like I said, we're all on that spectrum. So nobody is, I hope, 100% one or the other. We are all a mixture, and I like to think of it as core and cultivated. So I am a core introvert. That is who I am. That's what I’m hardwired to be and it's how I perform best. But I have cultivated my internal extrovert energy, whatever degree to which I have it, in order to do things like this; to promote a book, to promote a business, to coach clients, to network. So we have that spectrum, and I think part of the key is understanding where your core is. Do you gain energy through socializing or solitude? And then how do you balance that out and integrate all of the energy that you have within you in order to accomplish what you need to.
Joanna: Why is now such a golden time for introverts?
Beth: It seems like all of a sudden the conversation has burst out to the scene, and I think part of that is of course, the popularity of Susan Cain's book, “Quiet”. And she has a TED talk that's been one of the most watched TED talks of all time. But really, it goes back further than that. Like I said, the conversation started back in the '20s, but I think it was around…I think The Introvert Advantage was published around 2002 or 2003. I should know that, but as far as I can tell, that was the first book that was purely devoted to talking about introverts and what are the strengths of an introvert. So that was one thing that started, planted the seeds of the conversation.
Then there were several other books that came out, and there was a fantastic article by a gentleman named Jonathan Rauch that he wrote in the Atlantic. I believe it was called “How to Care for the Introvert” and it was meant to be this tiny, little column in the back that didn't really have a lot of presence. And it turned out to be, and continues to be, one of the most shared articles that The Atlantic has, even 13 years later. So it has been going on for a while, but I think that “Quiet” served as that catalyst and people are starting to understand how we have that extrovert bias, that extrovert expectation and that if we really want to have a progressive economy and society, we really need to be able to understand all of the different traits that people bring to the table.
Joanna: I really used to think that there was something wrong with me as a kid. It was always like “Why don't you do team sports?” I hate team sports.
Beth: I know. I was always picked last and it sucked.
Joanna: Yeah. I'd rather be reading a book.
Joanna: But it's funny because I got into a professional speaking, and then I said to a friend of mine, “I get so tired at these events. Do you get tired?” And she just looked at me and said, “You're an introvert, I'm an extrovert.” And I was like, “No way.” And that really helped me and got me into it. And then, of course, Susan Cain came along. What are some of the tools that people can use to…obviously, we're not putting people in boxes, but there are some tools on there that help people figure out.
What do you recommend people to look at if they want to find out more about themselves?
Beth: Thank you for asking that and mentioning that we're not putting people in boxes because some people would resist the label of I’m an introvert or extrovert or whatever it is. I think it helps with the journey of self-awareness and exploration to understand that it's just information. It's not meant to define you. It's information that as you're learning, as you read, take what works and leave what doesn't. And even if you look at something you say, “That's not me.” The coach in me challenges you just a little bit. Think about that a little bit. Is there a grain of truth in that for you because often it's those things that we deny that can tell us the most about ourselves?
So one of the books…I'll start with the books actually. One of the books was “Please Understand Me”. When I first heard about introversion and extroversion, that was the book that I went to and just reading about the different types, and of course, it goes beyond extrovert and introvert into the entire Myers Briggs. And in this book, it's actually Keirsey Bates, which is an adaptation of the Myers Briggs.
I learned so much. When you're learning, that's the second thing that I think is important to take what works, leave what doesn't and accept yourself. You said, “There's nothing wrong with me.” And so often society is telling us, “You're too quiet. You're shy. You need to get out of your shell. What do you do for fun? I don't get it.” Or the worst, “Are you mad at me?” because people don't understand being an introvert doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. You're able to show up as who you really are without apologies and without being defensive, and you start to form a language around it.
That helps educate other people that no, I'm not mad, no, I'm not boring, no, whatever it is they're…whatever label they're putting on me. So I think the best tool is to learn about it, to listen to things like this, to read books. And then to really do your own self-exploration whether that's journaling or whatever it is that helps you to clarify things for yourself. Go into that place of saying, “I accept this about myself. This is who I am and I'm not going to defend or apologize for it.” And the more you're able to show up in that power, the more powerful you will be and people will respond to that.
Joanna: It is tough though in facing up to some of my issues. I definitely as an introvert in a social situation use alcohol. That's a way.
Beth: Yes. Introvert, add alcohol — instant extrovert, right?
Joanna: Exactly. And in fact, I went to an author's event, fiction authors run by a company. They have tried to run a meeting with a group of authors without alcohol and they wondered why the room is so silent. So sometimes you have to do this. But on the serious side, authors do have to do events. You know this as an author. We have to go along to conventions. We have to meet each other, but also meet fans and go through this.
How can authors deal with this stuff? What are some of your tips for dealing with those situations?
Beth: The first thing is to understand your ratio of solitude to social, to be able to take care of yourself. So in my case, I need maybe three parts solitude to one part social. So whenever you've got those events coming up or an opportunity to be networking, be cognizant of that. Arrange your schedule in such a way and take care for yourself, so that you have the ample charging up and recharging time so that when you show up at the event, you have the energy to be there. So I think that's the first and one of the most fundamental things.
The second is to be very intentional about what you want to achieve at that event. We can become very…and when I say that I don't mean like set a firm goal and try to achieve it, it's more saying I'm going to walk into this event, I'm going to be comfortable. I'm confident about my book or my writing. I just want to connect with maybe one or two other people, and that's enough.
I want to have good conversations with them. It doesn't have to be anything profound; part of this is accepting small talk. That's all. Don't make small talk big. That's where, I think, we get into trouble. We try to put this expectation on it. Small talk is just small talk. Go in with this idea that I just want to meet a few people, find out a little bit more about them. If I can talk about my work, that's great. I want to hear about their work because if I am a good listener, then they're going to share with me and hopefully turn the tables and ask me a question about my work, and release the pressure for something to happen.
Just make it about chatting with people because the other thing that's important to remember when you go into one of these events is that everybody there wants to meet you and wants to talk. It's curious. It's not like you're intruding on them or stalking them or anything like that. Everybody is there because they want to meet each other. That seems like a very simple “duh” thing, but I think we can forget that we're all there for the same reason. And as uncomfortable as you might be, there are other people who are just as uncomfortable.
Something that might be useful is to say, “I'm going to find the most uncomfortable looking person I can,” and because I am an introvert, because I'm maybe uncomfortable myself, I'm going to reach out to that person in a very warm, friendly, non-threatening way and just say, ”Hi,” and break the ice. Chances are as uncomfortable as you are, there's bound to be somebody who's less comfortable than you are.
Joanna: Definitely. And that feeds into the shy side of things because I'm not shy, I'm a not-shy introvert. And of course, there are people who are shy extroverts which must be super, super hard, which is difficult. So if people are both shy and introverted, that can make things really difficult.
And one of the things I found is social media, like actually finding people beforehand who are going to events, is that something you would recommend?
Beth: Absolutely, absolutely. Especially LinkedIn is really good for that because you can find people in a professional context. But also you can look them up on Facebook or Twitter, see what they're writing about, whatever about. I find introverts tend to have a lot of privacy settings. Not always, but I’m going and I'm like, “I can't learn anything about this person because I can't see anything,” and I respect that. But for a lot of people, especially entrepreneurs and people who want to be found, they will have information up there that you can tap into.
And so it might be as simple as you used to live in the same place or you have a couple of people in common, or the person wrote a blog post that really intrigued you, or posted a podcast. And that makes it a lot easier to be able to approach them and say, “Hey, I saw in your LinkedIn profile that you work at X. Did you know so and so?” And it doesn't matter. It might have been a company with thousands of people and the chances that they knew each other were very slim, but at least it's an opening. It's that point of entry just to…and it shows that you did your homework, and that you were curious and interested in that person.
I want to throw in one more quick tip that I think is useful. And I don't know if this is helpful to someone who is shy or not, because like you, I don't consider myself a shy introvert although I have situational shyness, which I think a lot of us do. But that's to think of the words introvert and extrovert as a verb. So when you go to the event, you are extroverting. You don't have to fake it. You can pull on that natural extrovert energy that you already have and just say I'm going to project my energy outward for this period of time in service of my work, in service of my writing and my book, and my colleagues.
Because like I said, everybody is there because they want to meet somebody. One of the things that I love about going to one of those events is if I have a conversation with someone and I'm able to say, “You should really meet so and so.” Or, “I just read this article that I think you might find interesting. Can I send it to you?”
Joanna: That's great.
Beth: Any time I can pass on resources and stuff, even if I just focus on that, I feel like I've shown up, I've been contributing and I've accomplished something.
Joanna: That's great. And I liked the “I'm extroverting on this occasion” because it does feel that way. And I was very surprised again when I got into public speaking that so many public speakers are introverts because it's almost we're more comfortable on a stage. There's actually a barrier, really. And when people approach you, they approach you because they've seen you speak and it stops it. And also actors, I learned a lot of actors are introverts.
There's nothing wrong with pretending sometimes, is there?
Joanna: We have to put on that armor or that mask for that occasion. That's allowed.
Beth: I think the key is finding what is that mask that is authentic to you. It's a mask that already exists within you because I think we can fall into the trap of saying I need to be like so and so over here. I need to be big like Tammy or John or Sue. It's about what's big according to you.
Not to bring politics into it, but I just thought this was really interesting because the presidential candidates here in the United States, there's a number of them that lean introvert, including Hilary Clinton who right now is in the lead for the Democratic nomination. And I saw an article where she actually described herself as an extro-introvert which I thought was an interesting combination of the words. She was like, “I very much love people and I like getting out there and talking to them, and I definitely am an introspective, need my alone time type of person.” I think that was the first time I'd seen that way of phrasing it, and I thought that was a pretty effective way of explaining it.
Joanna: I wondered in your…because you obviously work with a lot of business people and introverts and extroverts….
…do you see any gender difference in this space?
Beth: That's a great question that…you know what I've heard at least anecdotally or read, and I can't cite a source, is that there tend to be more introverted men than women. But when it comes to entrepreneurship, so far at least if I just look at my clients, it's pretty even of the introverts that are drawn to entrepreneurship. So I don't know. I think there are probably gender differences in what the concerns are or what the challenges are. But in terms of who is drawn to being an entrepreneur, at least in my experience so far, it has been fairly even.
Joanna: And then another question is…I'm very lucky, I have a lovely husband who is also introverted. So he understands the way I do things and we have lots of time separately. But I know some people struggle because their partnerships may not…they may not understand why the other one is like they are. And this helped me to understand my brother brought up by my mom who is an introvert as a single mom. Me, as an introverted sister, my poor brother spent his youth being misunderstood basically.
I'm wondering what tips do you have for both introverts and extroverts listening on how to understand each other and work together, and get on together?
Beth: I think first is to recognize that there is the difference and that it's not personal, that it's something that is just part of your makeup, of your energy. I even like to talk go so far as to talk about introverts and extroverts not as personality types but as energetic types. Because when we talk about it as personality types, yes, it influences are personality, but that's not the true definition. And I think when we do that, we are able to take a step back from personalizing whatever the behavior is. So we can talk to each other and that's the next step, I think. Grace your awareness and say, “Okay, I'm acknowledging I'm an introvert. It means this and I'm an extrovert and it means that.”
So talking about what does that mean in a relationship in terms of what the differences in your needs are? Because the introvert can feel like the extrovert is forcing them into social situations and trying to fix them, accusing them of being depressed or whatever it might be.
And the extrovert might feel like the introvert is neglecting them, doesn't like spending time with them, shutting down. So having a conversation and saying…when you've done your research, you start to have some language about this, of saying…sometimes in order for me…as an introvert, in order for me to really be present with you, to enjoy your company, to be my best, I really need to have some of that down time and alone time.
If I say after dinner I'm going to take a walk by myself, it's not because I need to get away from you or anything. It's not about getting away from you. It's about getting connected to me, so that when I come back, I can be present. And then the extrovert can say sometimes…the extrovert might say, “I really need to be able to go out on Friday night, and I know you're just beat and you want to stay home.” And for the introvert to be able to say, “That's fine. Go ahead,” and for the extrovert to feel okay about that, to reconcile with themselves, I'm not abandoning this person, I'm not being selfish. Both people to understand you're not being selfish, the key is to be able to talk about it and to be open about it.
Like you, I'm married to an introvert as well and just feel really lucky about that. It's really about having the conversations and being transparent with one another. Don't make the other person read your mind about what's going on, and I say that especially to the introvert because we can think that well, if I want to take a walk by myself, of course, they know that it's nothing personal. But we don't know what the story is that's going on in someone else's head to be able to say that.
Even in our introvert household it's like we love being alone together. And then, we appreciate the times when we can go our separate ways because then when we come back together, we enjoy each other's company more. So to see that there can be a richness there, it's mainly about having some really open communication.
Joanna: And I would add, since the audience are writers, for me letter writing to people. I don't think that is an introvert trait.
Beth: No, that's universal.
Joanna: I would rather write a letter even to my husband or like you said, journaling can be really good in that way. But I wanted just to switch to the business side. Your book is great because I think the introvert entrepreneur is something I really care about as well and an author, and a creative can also be a business person.
Joanna: What are some of the strengths of an introvert in the business and entrepreneurial sense?
Beth: We often have a really strong independent streak and creative drive. I think that's one of the reasons we become entrepreneurs in the first place because perhaps we've been in a traditional work setting and found that we're either not appreciated, we're not given room to grow the way we need to, we're always forced into team interactions, and things like that; meeting after meeting, after meeting. And it really wears us out and we feel like we're not able to do our best.
And so that's one of the reasons why we strike out on our own because we say the only way I can be me and express myself is to create this entity on my own. So I think that independent streak gets us out of the gate and gets us going, and motivates us.
While we're in it, the independence can be a lonely endeavor. Probably, most of the people I talk to, and probably you as well, we're more solopreneurs. We don't have employees, and brick and mortar, and lots of people around us. So it can be rather isolating, and for the extrovert that would be really hard. They will be like, “Okay, how can I form a team?”
Whereas the introvert can withstand that and actually thrive in it a little bit longer. And I think that's a strength because we'll persevere and we're not going to feel that isolation as much. And so, we are able to hunker down and do the work.
I also think that…I go back to a book by Dan Pink called “Drive” where he talks about…
Joanna: And the one before that, the one…”A Whole New Mind”.
Beth: “A Whole New Mind”, yes.
Beth: In “Drive” he talks about the surprising things that motivate us. It's autonomy, mastery and purpose. And when I think of the introvert entrepreneur, those are three strengths and desires that I believe they have that propel them into success. So the autonomy, I already talked about. You're in charge of your own ship. You are the captain and it's up to you, sink or swim.
Purpose, you're very driven by a specific objective and a call to create something in the world, and to make it out there and making a difference in people's lives.
And then, mastery, I think, is another thing that is a strength of introverts, is that we have a desire to go deep on something rather than broad. So I would much rather be an expert and almost form an identity around something like introvert entrepreneurship. Form and identity, that also represents me and to have confidence in that topic rather than be a Jack or Jill of all trades where I dabble and I know a little about a lot of things. So we tend to go deep, rather than broad.
And when it comes to making connections, really entrepreneurship is about relationships in the end. It's about making connections with other people. I think introverts, we have something of an advantage in that department because we are really good at connecting one on one, and we tend to be really good listeners. And when you look at studies that look at what are the traits of successful salespeople and networkers, it's about listening. It's not about talking. And if an introvert can lean into that, even further refine their listening skills and trust them, then they're going to make really solid connections that will help their business.
Joanna: I'm glad you mentioned autonomy there because my audience are also indie authors, independent authors, and I do wonder if indie authors skew introvert. That's a really interesting thing because we do so much on our own and actually all our assistants; I have 11 contractors but none of them are with me. They're all virtual, which is great. And as you say, we can do that. We can work alone. That's quite interesting.
But just on the other side, what are some of the typical struggles? Obviously, we mentioned networking as a struggle. What are the other struggles that an introvert might find in a business sense?
Beth: There is a requirement like the networking to take that further what the umbrella is, it's about visibility. In order to be successful, I would be hard pressed to think of an entrepreneurial endeavor where you would not need to be seen and heard, and connecting with people. So that requires a lot of energy, requires a lot of strategy and thinking and planning, and all of that, setting things into place, but then the actual implementation. What's great about that and somewhat what counters the challenges is social media and opportunities like this.
Social media can still be really draining. Depending on what kind of head space you're in, I can log in on Facebook and it's like I'm walking into a happy hour party with 100 people all chattering away. And then when I shut it down, it's like okay, it's quiet again. So tools like that have really greatly expanded our ability to get past that challenge of visibility and making ourselves heard without shouting from the rooftops. And I think it's a tool that we need to also be very intentional and strategic with, so that it doesn't start eating up our energy in a way that's not healthy. So I think visibility.
And then along with that visibility comes vulnerability, especially for writers. You've probably experienced this, I've experienced it. Putting yourself out there, in the introvert's case we have so much that's going on inside that it can seem like everybody knows about it because it's so real. Have you ever had a conversation with your husband where you're sitting in the car and you say, “Did I just think that or did I say something right then?” And he'd be like, “You just thought it.” Okay, well, here's what I was thinking.
It can be very rich. And so when it's time to bring that out, it's very vulnerable because we are putting it out there for everybody to see. I imagine that's true for extrovert as well, but I think introverts probably go through the process as long as they can in solitude before they have to share it. And when they share, it's out there open for criticism. That's one thing I appreciated. I've self-published and I've traditionally published.
And with the traditional publishing, what I found was helpful and I encourage…and I think this is totally replicable with an indie writer. As I went along, I invited more and more people to come on to the process. While I was still working on the first draft, I went ahead and hired an editor, a developmental editor. And I would feed her chapters and she would feed me feedback. And so by the time we got to the end, what I had was a draft with fewer red marks. As we went along, I became better in my writing. I started to think what feedback would Lori give me about this part? And I wasn't alone in doing it and it sort of broke the vulnerability bubble. It wasn't just inside of me but now somebody else was seeing it, somebody who was not judging it but was rather there to support me and help me, and make it better.
By doing that, then it wasn't quite as scary to start sharing a sample chapter with an agent. And then it wasn't quite as scary to share with potential publishers. It's like each step, more people came on board and I think you can do the same thing with guest readers, having an editor, and doing other things in your process as an indie writer. So that when it finally gets out there into the world, you already have gotten feedback that has been supportive. You feel confident and it's not quite so scary. So I can't remember what your original question was because I went off there, but I hope that that was useful.
Joanna: No. It was about the challenges.
Beth: Yeah, the challenges, yes.
Joanna: But for every author, I find that an editor is the one thing…well, professional editor and professional cover designer, these are the two non-negotiables when it comes to publishing in any way.
Going further in your experience as an author, – this isn't really related to introverts – but getting a book deal, how much do you think that was related to the platform you've built up and your podcast? What was the impetus for that?
Beth: I think all of the above. Right? So I think there were a couple of things that were in place. One, I entered into the introvert entrepreneur space back in 2010 before it was this everywhere topic. So I had something of a head start in building my platform. Started the podcast.
I have to say I don't think I would have gotten a book deal had it not been for the podcast. Because it's not just about the podcast itself, it's about the connections I made through that podcast and the content that I was able to generate and gather, and to demonstrate that I can consistently put myself out there in that way and connect with people who were influencers, who had written bestselling books, that sort of thing.
I think it's a combination of having gotten into the entrepreneur space just a sliver ahead of the curve. And then the fortune of, of course, “The Conversation Breaking Open”. Like if “Quiet” hadn't happened, I don't know. So I think there is value in being able to say that the success of one person…what is it? A rising tide lifts all ships, whatever that saying is. So that's one.
I think the other was, as a coach, that was my business, it still is, but I came up with a very clear niche. I found a gap in the market place, a gap in the conversation and was able to move into it, and engage to people in a very conversational way, especially on social media, and to just be consistent with it. So I think that was important.
And then it is about showing up in all these different places and making connections. For me the podcast was about having the conversation and creating content. But I had and I have a genuine interest in promoting other people's businesses and getting their messages out there, and what their learning is. And that includes my introvert colleagues, the other people who are working in this space. Full of collaboration was also something that was really important to getting that deal. So yeah, it was a combination of things for sure.
Joanna: Yeah, and as you say in 2010 you are an expert, you've been doing this for a number of years. This is not the first book you've written. It's just gone boom and you just appeared from nowhere. I think that's really important for people to remember is that for anybody, it takes time to develop yourself as an expert in a niche. And then I wanted to ask you about…obviously, you've mentioned the podcast. But book marketing in general as an introvert, because lots of people still have these horrible fears about marketing.
What are your suggestions for book marketing as an introvert?
Beth: Start marketing the book before you've written the book. You are practically doing it from day one, at least in terms of always having in mind that the way a book, especially if you are introvert is going to catch on.
I keep go back to this, is to have champions, is to have that network of people that I might only know 5 of them, but those 5 people each know 20 or 30 or 50. And if I form a relationship with those champions and it's mutual — I'm championing their work, they're championing mine — then when it comes time to do the book, you've got a little launch team there that can help you spread the word.
It's not just you going, “Hey, hey, hey. Look at me. I've got a book.” You've got all these other people saying, “Wow, I'm really excited. Beth just put out this book. You need to check it out.” So that is part of it, really forming relationships and enlisting your champions, and forming those mutually beneficial relationships.
An introvert author, instead of doing a book tour where you're going around book stores and things like that, they would do a blog tour where you would guest blog on other people's posts and be interviewed. I decided to do a podcast tour. So instead of doing the blogs, I would pitch myself to appear on somebody's podcast, so that I would be able to chat about it and share some content and value. That was much more energy efficient for me. It was much more comfortable even than the blogging because in the blogging I have to come up with writing something fresh every time I feel like. A conversation, just by the nature of you being different from Dave, being different from Sue, it's going to be different no matter what. I think it's a powerful platform to get the word out.
And it's also about social media and being willing to showing up consistently and share content. And I hate to use this expression but it's the one that's coming up. Don't be shy. Be bold about it and there are ways that you can do it without being braggy. I think that's the other thing that we often will have a fear. We are saying, “Look at me, look at me.” It can just be, “I'm really excited that this is out now.” Just sharing celebration, asking people to share and celebrate with you is also a way of putting it out there without shoving it down people's throats.
Joanna: Yeah, I think that's great. I'm the same now. I won't do, or very rarely will do a guest blog post because I much prefer to do podcasting because as you say…it's very difficult to write a whole load of blog posts. And you've just written a book.
Beth: Yeah, exactly. I'm tired. Once I did it, the publisher was getting different media hits and they were all requiring me to write a fresh article or post, and I was grateful for that. But at the same time I was out of words.
Joanna: I can't spin this another way for this other thing.
Beth: Exactly. Other things to make it fit with their publication or their voice. So this to me is just a way to be able to show up authentically, and it feels like a much more energy-efficient way to connect with people.
Joanna: And actually, it ends up being quicker because even though we're on the phone for a certain amount of time, it's still quicker than writing a draft, editing it because your words are…people will forgive us with our conversational tone and mistakes, but they don't forgive it when it's written down, do they?
Joanna: Especially authors. Authors are terrible.
Beth: Merciless. And the Internet, I've seen it like the Internet where grammar goes to die. I think we are more forgiving with the conversational aspect.
Joanna: We definitely are. But we are out of time. So just tell people what can they find on your website and where is your website, and where is your book for sale online?
Beth: So the website is theintrovertentrepreneur.com. And there, you will find link to the podcast and the blog, and the book. Of course, the book is available in the UK. It was published by Virgin, so you should be able to…I'm so excited. That's one of the best parts like somebody saying, “I saw it in the bookstore.” Some people would even send pictures, which is very fun. So hopefully, you can find it in the bookstore. Otherwise, Amazon, the UK site or if you are in the States, on the US site. And in terms of social media, you can find all the links on the website, but I tend to be most active on LinkedIn and Twitter, with trying to pick up my LinkedIn presence. So I invite you to join me and let's have a conversation.
Joanna: Great. Thanks so much for your time, Beth.
Beth: Thanks, Joanna. It's been a pleasure.
C.Steven Manley says
Thanks so much for this episode. I’m definitely one of those shy introverts and I find it very difficult to engage people both in person and online. I tend to regret every post I make as I make it (see? almost hit delete right there.)
Anyway, this helped to put some of that into perspective for me, so thanks again. Your contributions to the indie community are priceless.
Another surprisingly edifying show.
I never heard this about introverts/extroverts before.
I think I am a weird introvert. I think I would just be an introvert but I have pretty substantial OCD going on so I think that makes me a weird introvert.
I like Beth’s spin on it and I dig the positivity, though I do find that in practice, people tend to weaponise these differences for advantage in group situations, especially offices(grrrrrr), schools and longterm group situations. And it’s a shame cos it tends to have the unfortunate effect of reinforcing the traits that go with it, while simultaneously generating murderous thoughts … or maybe that’s just me 🙂
That alcohol line made me laugh. Love your honesty on these podcasts Joanna.
Thanks for another winner.
First of all thank you for all your inspiring content always! Specially if we get discouraged sometimes, I guess I am also of the introverted side. I would like to submit you and your friends a question, though I am not sure if it is the right place to do it. It’s about marketing content by adding more to an already published ebook.
I’ve writen a small Poem’s ebook with 13 poems in spanish, people like them and I sell alright in certain plaforms, not necesarily Amazon, I don’t know why.
The thing is this: every now and then I write a new poem, just beautiful and inspired like the others but I do not feel like having material for a new ebook. I though of adding them to my already published one with a promotional message to buyers.It will be like an ebook that will be growing.
What do you think of this?
Joanna Penn says
You can always change an ebook – but you might be better off waiting to create book 2, a new collection. That would be more effective 🙂
Thank you very much, Joanna,
As I’ve said, you have inspired me for many things like using scrivener, organizing time and motivation, as I am part time writer yet on my spare time from a daily job.
Yes, you are right I might just create a collection with ebook #2 😀
Warren Bluhm says
Maria, the first edition of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” contained 12 poems, and he kept adding to it for the rest of his life until the final edition had 400-plus. It’s your book, and if this feels organic to you, I suggest you follow the impulse. Maybe at some point you’ll feel it’s time to put some in a second or third or fourth book, or maybe you’ll have this generation’s “Leaves of Grass,” but make it yours.
Thank you very much Warren, for taking the time to answer to my question, in fact I am a novel writer which cannot abandon poetry and when the feeling comes it is irresistible 🙂 I even put some poems in my romantic novels and it goes well with them.
To add poems to the book was indeed my first impulse, I’m just going to have to add a subtitle or something to the actual title: “13 Poems of Love”.
I really enjoyed this episode. As an introvert who has “indie published” a novel and currently working on the 2nd book in the series, it’s helpful to know that we have innate entrepreneurial skills too.
Also, I listened to your interview on the Unemployable Podcast with Brian Clark. Good stuff. Keep up all the good work you are doing for indie authors and publishing.
Lesley Taylor says
HI Joanna, I wonder if your readers know about the Myers Briggs Type Assessment? I recently took the Myers Briggs certification and was surprised to learn that while I am an introvert in 3 areas (I’m reserved, reflective and quiet which is why I love writing) I’m also an extrovert in 2 areas (initiating and expressive) which means that I find it easy to network. We are all more than just extroverts or introverts. Cheers!