Writing is, in many ways, a solitary pursuit. At least, the actual sit down and write the thing part of the process. Then there comes the editing and the proofreading, cover design and illustrations if you have them, formatting and marketing and all of the other stuff that generally includes — gasp — other people.
Even if you’re an indie author, you need someone else on your team to help when the screaming becomes too much.
And then you — well, at least I do, and many other writers I know — would like actual living, breathing people to buy and read their book.
That could mean having to meet people. In person. Like, for real. Of course, you can market your work online, too — but sometimes that has its limits. And showing up in the flesh could really help encourage sales.
(Funny thing, but readers like to know their favorite authors are in fact humans, too. Or at least dragons.)
So, here are some tips from a natural introvert on how to survive this whole part of the “solitary pursuit” that quickly becomes a team effort.
Only reach out to beta-readers or editors who you trust. I don’t just mean trust them to be nice. Yes, tact is so important for us sensitive souls. But also, most authors in the pre-printing phase wouldn’t take kindly to spoilers of their impending publication floating around the internet. Same goes for cover design (unless you give the artist permission to share ahead of time).
Make sure to rehearse your release spiel. This is really helpful for being interviewed by bloggers and reviewers. It’s so easy for introverts to say on their social media, “I’m writing a book about faeries, talking cats, and a secret organization that saves the world on a regular basis,” but sometimes trying to make that come off your tongue on the phone or via Skype/YouTube video, etc. can feel quite daunting.
If you do arrange a book signing or release talk, practice, practice, practice. Having a speech planned is really important (even if you end up not using all of it on the day). If you think you could handle people asking questions, try to have readers submit a limited number of questions prior to the actual day of The Big Event. Oh, and don’t worry about packing people in like sardines — see your sanity over the possibility of money, and book a small venue, like a coffee shop or a local library.
Know what your limits are, and stick to them. Part of why I decided to go with self-publishing is the complete control over how often I release work, or how much I write about any one subject — or how frequently I in fact have to attend in-person events promoting my novels. I am very aware that if I try to do too much or interact with too many people in one week, it will not end well. Even if you’re traditionally published, there is absolutely no law stating that you have to let your agent over-schedule your life.
Don’t be afraid to put those limits in place. Remember, it does not mean you are a terrible person if you need to take a break, or even make it longer than what most people consider “normal.” After all, if you burn out, the chances of you getting back to writing quickly are quite slim. And if people really like your work and want to see more of it, well, then…they should give you that chance to re-fuel without complaining.
So, there you have it, for now. Any other thoughts to add, fellow indie authors and introverts?