When Renee first came to me with the idea for a ‘Cabin in the Woods Hub for Indie Writers’, my first reaction was ‘Eek, a promotion service? But I hate marketing!’
Followed by the swift realization that once I’d have finished my WIP, I’d have to do all that icky marketing stuff anyway.
According to some internet article I read ages ago, the majority of writers are actually introverts. It’s on the internet, so it must be true. Even if it wasn’t, it certainly fits our profession: writing a book consists of spending days and nights alone at the keyboard, talking to nobody except the people in our heads (and certain elevated creatures like cats, husbands, wives, and other writers). We’re tucked in nicely in our imaginary worlds, where we shape plots and fates like the bloodthirsty, volatile deities of old (or maybe that’s just me).
And when the grand opus is finally done, we chuck it out into the world, into the grasping hands of the waiting masses, who will devour it while we retreat behind the keyboard to create our next grand opus.
At least in theory.
The Marketing Struggle For Indie Authors
In reality, we have to shove our baby in everyone’s face, repeatedly, until they finally buy it, just so we stop shoving it in their faces. We have to interact with people. *shudders* There are extravert writers among us who will shake their head now, but I can assure you that for an introvert, there’s not much difference between canvassing the neighbourhood in person, or tweeting five times a day (not to mention Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Safely assume that we were never part of the cookie-selling squad.
That’s one reason why traditional publishing isn’t dead yet – they have these nifty marketing departments that do all that dirty work for you, at least if your name is J.K. Rowling or GRR Martin. If your a newbie, you still have to market yourself. And if you self-publish, you still have to market your book yourself.
Make no mistake, even when you’re a CITW affiliate, you’ll still have to market your book yourself.
And still, this hub is what every introvert has been secretly wishing for: a way to lessen the pressure of relentless socializing.
The Introvert Dilemma
I don’t know about you, but I hate the thought of having to tweet five times a day, of having to join Facebook, of having to create nice photos for Instagram. It’s actually not the thought of doing these things, but of doing them every single day, to stay in people’s awareness that tires me out just by thinking about it.
As an introvert, I have off-days – days when I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, or interact with anyone, and it makes no difference if that interaction happens in real life, or in virtual reality. And it’s not just one off-day; it can be a string of off-days, and when you’ve fallen off the Twitter wagon for a week or two (insert social media of your choice here), it may not make much of a difference for the hashtag writer games, but it will make a dent in your outreach.
On the other hand, I know that I won’t buy a book that has been offered me fifty times a day, every day, in an automated tweet (or other social media). I feel harassed by this sort of advertising. To avoid the same hassle for my potential buyers, I have to do more than shout ‘Buy my book it’s great, I promise!’ at them. I have to sprinkle it among posts and tweets and images that are interesting and entertaining and subtly promoting me as an author, but not mentioning the book. Buy the damn book already!
At this point, I always wonder if I shouldn’t take up crocheting as a hobby.
How CITW Can Help
CITW is a smart way to avoid this kind of author exhaustion. This is a group of writers who have the skills (and the wonky humor) to write both relevant and interesting articles about writing and the writing life, and we also have extraverts among us with serious social media prowess (not me – I’m in the wonky humor department). Our social media presence will not relentlessly shout in people’s faces about that fantastic book we just discovered (yours), but it will pop up again and again, reviewed, praised, and vouched for by Cabin in the Woods.
At the same time, since we’re a group, we’ll have steady output – and that means CITW and the books that are affiliated with it will stay in feeds and timelines, even if you have an off day (or week). While CITW doesn’t remove your responsibility as an indie author to market yourself and your books, it takes the pressure off you to come up with something smart and witty several times a day, every day. When the very thought of interacting with the outside world makes you crawl deeper under your covers, CITW is still out there, lifting your book to the surface of that churning sea of undiscovered, competing books.
I don’t know about you, but I just threw my crocheting needles in the bin.