I came across Lauren Sapala’s book, “Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers,” while looking for material on marketing for authors. While I don’t identify as a “Highly Sensitive Person,” I am an introvert – albeit one trained by 26 years in the Army to act like an extrovert – and self-marketing doesn’t come naturally to me. I connected with Lauren on Twitter, and she sent me a copy of her work to read. I’m very glad that she did.
I think that it is a common misconception among unpublished writers that either a) marketing is someone else’s problem or b) it’s someone else problem as long as you have a traditional publisher. Both ideas are wrong – writing and marketing are two sides of the publishing coin. Writers who want to make a living as writers need to be adept at both, regardless of how they are published.
Perhaps self-promotion comes easily for some people, though I suspect that blowhards and braggarts don’t necessarily sell a lot of books. For the rest of us, who thought that being a writer meant a life time of quietly tapping away at our stories, with the occasional cocktail party to break up the solitude, we just need to get over ourselves and get on with it. No one will read our book unless it is marketed, and no one has a more vested interest in marketing our books than ourselves.
Lauren’s book is a very nice blend of encouragement and explanation, ranging from high level concepts to delving into the nitty-gritty of things like pricing and finding your micro-niche. She has a practical approach to writing as paying work, and so doesn’t shy away from things like finding ways to diversify your income.
While aimed at introverts in particular, I think that the approach Lauren advocates would work well for most writers – rather than “selling” your work at every juncture, she talks about building community and connection, and getting your message across in a more sensitive way. Finding your marketing voice is as important as finding your writing voice, and Lauren’s work should get you thinking along alternative lines about what that might sound like.
At times, Lauren’s writing takes a New Age/Spiritual turn, which might be your cup of tea or might not. I don’t think it detracts from the book at all, and is an example of Lauren writing with her own authentic voice. I don’t think it hurts for anyone to get in touch with that side of things from time to time in any case.
As a bonus, she has included a very detailed bibliography that should point you in the right direction as you explore other aspects of marketing as well.
“Firefly Magic” is a good place to start if you’ve written a book and wonder “Now what?” Particularly if the idea of self-marketing makes you at all uncomfortable, introvert or not, this may very well be the book for you. While aimed at writers, much of what is included could apply equally to other artists as well.
I appreciate that Lauren took the time to put these ideas out into the world, where I know they will find a receptive audience.
**Also, you might consider checking out Lauren’s other books, “The INFJ Writer” and her autobiographical novel about addiction, “Between the Shadow and Lo.”