Do introvert readers keep books secret?


I belong to several online writer groups, as well as having a circuit of favorite blogs and bloggers, and I can’t believe it took me this long to ask myself this question: do extroverted writers have a major edge when it comes to promotion?

I see people who happily post about their first book, and how they’re hoping that all their ‘peeps’ and advanced street team will be telling everyone to ignore the flaws in their work read their wonderful work.

Maybe some of them are really young.

But it’s more likely that they’re just enthusiastic and love to share.

Does intro/extroversion affect what and how you read?

I didn’t know many readers who were not adults, and not so many of those, when I was growing up. The adults tended to read popular paperbacks, things like The Agony and the Ecstasy or Perry Mason mysteries or even The Thorn Birds, but they also managed to lead normal lives, and didn’t hide books or hide from contact with humans because they were reading.

TV wasn’t so great back then (in the sense of volume), so reading – books and magazines – was one of those uses of time which came under the rubric of ‘entertainment.’ At least in my family.

But I don’t remember reading being something I shared with classmates, and I didn’t see others girls at my school sitting around with books at recess.

You couldn’t have stopped me – I figured it came pre-loaded in my brain, along with a lot of other inconvenient stuff that made me odd.

Does it affect how you share about books?

Having had some experience telling other people about books I liked, and having them blow me off, I’ve been wondering whether it is part of the introvert personality to want to keep things for myself.

And to not want to go to bat for a particular book because who am I to tell other people what to read?

I thought all writers would be introverts

Something about spending time by yourself making up imaginary friends.

But it isn’t at all true.

Having been part of the online indie writing community for the past five years, and read thousands of comments, and contributed my fair share, I finally realized just a couple of days ago that no, we are not all the same happy little introverts, writing away in our little enclaves.

And that some of the writers who claim lots of success are out there shouting from the rooftops about the marvels they have concocted for your delectation.

Whether they have or not.

Squeaky wheel premise? The belief that most people who buy an inexpensive book, especially those who don’t get around to reading it quickly, won’t bother returning it if they don’t like their purchase?

The extroverts just go out and do it themselves.

We’re hiding in the woodwork

Hoping to be discovered by somebody else who will be interested in telling the world for us.

I have to ponder this a while. Figuring it out was startling.

And there are likely to be a significant number of introverts in amongst the readers out there, and possibly some of them are wondering why all the books they see advertised and promoted seem a bit off, for them, because not only would they never act that way, but they would never want to act that way.

I enjoyed Red Sonya, but never in a hundred different lifetimes would I have had any interest in becoming her and wielding my way through the world with a sword.

And we only got Tolkien by accident. He was going to keep it all to himself.

So the problem is double-pronged

Extroverts get in the way between introverts and their potential readers at both ends:

Introvert reader << Extrovert reader << Extrovert writer << Introvert writer,

with all the noise being in the middle.

We need a kind of stealth marketing that bypasses the hullaballoo in between.

I think, after you get over all that, the introvert readers are probably the most loyal out there. And I think they may mention what they like once or twice, but they are constitutionally incapable of being pushy about it, so ‘their’ books don’t get the kind of recommendations, in volume, than the process that propels extrovert books and writers to the tops of the charts.

But that’s just me.

They also have very high standards – because they’re not distracted by the noise.

Whaddaya think?


13 thoughts on “Do introvert readers keep books secret?

  1. joey

    This completely resonates with me. I’m picky. I’ve read a lot and narrowed my interests. I used to read more variety than I do now, and while I realize that sounds absolutely terrible to my pals who write what I have no interest in reading, it’s just plain true. I know what I like. I haven’t got tons of time to read these days, and the less time I have, the pickier I become.
    Have you seen the movie The Story of Us? In it, Paul Reiser’s character gives a narration on how choosy readers are, and I think it’s the most apt explanation I’ve ever heard.
    It’s rather like blogs. If I like the author, I might save it for when I have more time. (See me here now? lol) If it’s a new-to-me author, if that blurb doesn’t intrigue me and that intro doesn’t grab me, I’m out. I am a writer’s nightmare, and I write.
    Plus I’ve got to carve out time to reread my faves.
    I’m not invested in the opinions of other readers, barring my mother and a few friends who love all the same books I do — so I seldom read reviews or write them. Again, terrible for a writer. But this —> “Who am I to tell other people what to read?” <— is completely me. I've said it many times. Now, if I hear a lot of the books one enjoyed, I may make a suggestion or two based on previous loves, but I could never push.
    Last night, my husband was watching television and an ad for a new show? series? came on. I was intrigued by something, something caught my ear and I looked up. I watched briefly, and then asked, "Ooh! What's this?" It was THE ALIENIST! A book I read last winter. Heavy, wordy, literature, not the kind of thing that goes all bestsellery and grows popular in the ladies' groups. Excellent book for me. Now I live with the torment of wondering how badly they've destroyed it for mass consumption.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, while I appreciate your ambition and determination, not to mention your dedication and self-discipline, for me, now, writing is a passion, not a viable career, and really, although I daydream, I'm okay if it never is. I'll always write. And I for damn sure will always read.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      “Who am I to tell other people what to read?”

      You’d be surprised how many people out there have no problem telling other people.

      I’m like you with my reading, compounded by not having enough energy to do anything, much less read, most of the time (I do like to pay attention and enjoy what the writer put out for my enjoyment).

      Which doesn’t help me market. BTW…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Janna G. Noelle

    I am in introvert but I love promoting books I enjoy with anyone that I know who reads (which sadly is not that many people at the moment). I do the same with favourite TV shows.

    I do think extroverts probably promote their books more just like in every area of society the extroverts are the ones you see out in front. It’s just the way they’re wired, and if we introverts don’t like it, it’s on us to find the will to push out in front as well. As the MBTI trainer said when we all did the test at work, type is about one’s natural inclination but it has no bearing on one’s ability to learn.

    Introverts and extroverts may take up writing for opposite reasons (the former to delve into the subject matter and figure out what they think about it; the latter to connect with people in person on the subject matter once the book is already published), but I don’t believe any one type is inherently better or worse at writing than the other.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Yes, but…

      The biggest problem is that when extroverts DO all that pushing and getting themselves and their writing out there, they are energized (even when tired from the effort), and want to do it again. ASAP.

      Introverts can DO anything and LEARN anything, and they come home after it limp as the proverbial dead fish, and in serious need of decompression time. They do NOT look forward to doing it again as soon as they aren’t exhausted.

      Everything I do in the marketing realm takes energy I don’t have. Granted, I’m an extreme case due to illness, but when I make a huge effort, as I did this past summer, to learn from one of the AMS gurus how to set up Amazon ads, and ran EIGHT generations of all the kinds of ads they sell, with practically no results, I haven’t been able to force myself to do it again. And I’ve noticed the gungho attitude of those who claim they’re doing well – a carnival barker has it easier.

      I will find my niche, my tribe, my method. But the effort I made to market Book 1 seriously affected being able to write Book 2 – and with nothing to show for it except what I learned – which didn’t work. I don’t have that attitude toward my writing – because the results of effort and persistence show there.

      So I’m in thinking mode, reading those rah rah posts and books, looking for MY way.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      You comment lodged in my brain, and I think you’re right.

      We need a seal and a blog and a way of vetting both writers and books.

      And a small subtle campaign: “Tired of all the books you read being for extroverts? Look for the small [seal description], or pop by [site] and tell us what you like. Please be prepared to self-identify (we know that’s intrusive, so beg your indulgence) – there are plenty of books being written all the time for extroverts, and we politely discourage those readers from joining our conversations. Thank you for your patience.”

      Shortened, of course, so it will go viral more easily. Catchy phrase welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. J.M. Ney-Grimm

    I’ve thought for a long time that a majority of my readers are probably introverts, and that many of them are introverts like me – that is, they tend (by and large) not to tell others about the books they read, even the ones they love most.

    Back when various marketing gurus were talking about profiling your prospective audience, I realized I should profile myself and those of my friends who really do love my books. What I found was most discouraging.

    I never recommend books to anyone, because most of my friends have either read all my favorites or else have completely different tastes from mine. I do give books as gifts, especially to nieces and nephews. I don’t visit many places online, and those I do visit aren’t places an author could advertise. I tend to stumble on new-to-me good books through sheer chance. My friends who are also my fans don’t spend a lot of time online either (or even much; probably much less than I do). They read largely trad pubbed books and prefer paper editions over ebooks. If they weren’t my friends, they would never have heard of my books. How on earth would I reach them? How would I even reach myself, were I a prospective reader? Answer: I wouldn’t.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I have been pondering your careful and welcome reply, and I don’t know where our solutions like, but we’re losing the books which are written by introverts (such as the Bronte sisters, or Tolkien, or many others) if they cannot find their readers or their markets. Modern life is noisy and in your face. Ridiculous and ever-more-exaggerated ‘thrillers’ fill minds with noise, in print, eprint, and video.

      I think that is a tragedy.

      But it isn’t going to be fixed by us becoming more like our extrovert brethren – we’ll never be comfortable with trying to out-shout them.

      Maybe we DO need to pull in more of the fringes – those who are NOT our true tribe, but are omnivores, and can see the benefits to themselves of having all kinds of books available. Still a marketing and promotion problem, but maybe not so much of a nightmare.

      That is why I tell myself I’m going after the people who READ The Goldfinch (standard readers, traditional publishers), but were not satisfied. Still working on the idea, and it would help a lot if I were finished with the whole trilogy, but I let it sit in the unused portions of my brain and stew.

      We should now form our own secret society.


  4. juliabarrett

    I think this- extrovert writers push their books nonstop. When it becomes annoying, they spend thousands of dollars buying up their own books to make bestseller lists. Seriously. Not something I will ever do. Readers are another story. If I love a book, I’ll tell my kids, my friends and maybe drop the author a note. I don’t post anything. I have no interest in discussing books with complete strangers online. And I read a whole lotta books! Sometimes two a day! 😉



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