Saturday, April 29, 2017
Overcoming Your Book Marketing Phobia!
Phobia Relief Day is May 8th. I saw a book advertised in Publishers Weekly, Phobia Relief: From Fear to Freedom, and it made me wonder if one can find a way to confront and overcome their fears as a writer, especially book marketing phobia.
WikiHow says a phobia “is actually an intense form of anxiety with a deep sense of fear to which the body reacts.”
I don’t know that most writers necessarily get full-fledged panic attacks or extreme twitches when they hear the term “book marketing” but I do know many have concerns or uncomfortable feelings associated with it.
Why? Because it’s unfamiliar to them. Because it requires certain skills they think they lack. Because it may entail money or time they assume is not available to them. Or, because they are shy and fear talking to the media, or worse, they fear failure -- or success.
HelpGuide.org says: “The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. During this exposure process, you’ll learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it inevitably passes.”
But it’s not that simple.
There’s a multi-billion-dollar industry of doctors, therapists, medications, therapies, books, seminars, and consultants seeking to resolve the stress – anxiety-phobia trifecta.
A phobia of books marketing is not often discussed publicly, though authors will grouse that they wish they didn’t have to put so much attention to it.
I’m not a doctor but it would seem to me that the fear of book marketing can be overcome in one of several ways:
Simply don’t do it – and hope that your book sells. Unlikely scenario.
Hire someone to do it for you – if you have the resources, this is a no-brainer.
Do the things that you do like, and ignore or sub-contract out the rest. This is your most productive and cost-effective approach.
Seek professional help from the mental health community and see if you can confront what’s holding you back. Maybe you need to see a speaking coach.
Perhaps you just need a seminar to understand social media. Or maybe your concerns have to do with your appearance or voice. They have makeover artists and speech therapists to help there too.
The key to attacking a phobia or problem is to drill down into identifying the specific elements or aspects that concern you. Are they physical or psychological? Are they based in fact or fear? What, if anything, can be done to fix or improve it?
PsychCentral.com suggests you try a shame-attacking exercise, saying: “Purposely do something silly in public, in order to overcome your fear of appearing foolish.” It is true that once the worst happens – or something that you fought have to avert happens – you begin to realize the world didn’t end and you become more resilient, tolerant, and confident. What doesn’t kill you actually does make you stronger.
Another suggestion from PsychCentral is to allow for positive imaging. Its say: “substitute reassuring and peaceful images for the frightening daydreams and fantasies that make you feel excessively anxious.”
I recommend that you write a book about book marketing phobia. It would be quite acceptable for you to not market it.
But in all seriousness, many writers experience some kind of discomfort when they are forced to address book marketing. In some respects, the act of marketing runs counter to one’s desire to be a writer. The writer likes to observe, watch, research, and analyze – not talk, do, or be the featured act. The writer likes to communicate through the written word to be judged based on his or her ideas and not her looks, speaking style, or ability to share YouTube videos.
Book marketing however, should not seem foreign to writers. A writer uses many of the same skills to promote a book as he does to write it. S/he still needs to conduct research (of his market), write (to the media, on social media), and take part in interviews (be the subject of them, instead of being the interviewer).
Authors will have to confront their book marketing phobia in order to have a successful, long-term writing career. It won’t be easy, but it is possible. It certainly is necessary.
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