You may hear the term brand used a lot these days. Brands have been around for many years and we come into contact with them on a daily basis. The ones we're most familiar with are Coca Cola, Google and Apple. As you read over each of the three brands, it is not difficult to visualise the products at their mere mention. You don't have to be told what the companies manufacture: you already know because they have a succesful brand, recognised by people the world over
Successful authors also have strong brands. Stephen King is an example of a strong author brand. We know that he primarily writes horror genre, and most of his titles go straight to the top of the best sellers' lists. Here's one way his brand works for him: A fan of Stephen King knows that the author's next book is about to be released; he doesn't need to know the title of the book because all he has to do is walk into a bookstore and ask for the new Stephen King book. The bookstore knows the brand, and the buyer knows the brand.
Therefore, one of your jobs as a first time author is to build a brand!
Whether self-published, or published by a traditional publishing house, all authors need to begin building their brand early in their writing careers. The first place to start is your website. (Yes, you need a website!) Make sure your site is professional in appearance, and don't go over the top filling the pages with irrelevant information and images. Stick to topic (you) and keep it simple and user friendly.
Your website should include:
Home Page. This is the landing page, so make sure it is inviting, includes the latest news, reviews etc., and make sure there are user-friendly links to the other, relevant, pages.
Author Bio. Here, the main emphasis is on you, not your book. Remember, you are building your brand, and your book is just one part of your brand. Have professional photographs taken of yourself, and include a bio, but don't include too much personal stuff: focus on your writing career and achievements and anything relevant to your writing. You are an author, and your readers want to know about you in that capacity.
Book Page. This page can include everything about your book: the synopsis/blurb, reviews, a sample chapter, an image of your book. If you have more than one book, have a separate page for each title.
Blog. You're a writer, so what better way to get the word out about you, and your book, than to write about it? Basically, a blog is a way of writing and publishing short articles online and you control the content. Wordpress is a great platform for setting up a blog, either within your author/book website, or as a standalone blog site. Write about what you know, share your articles with others, invite guest bloggers, reviews of your book, and link your blog to other sites and blogs. Maintaining a blog takes some effort, but is a great (and free) way to market your work and get involved with the online writing community.
Bookstore. Have a page where buyers can purchase your book and/or ebook. You can either sell your own stock from your site or have links to the online stores where your book may be listed, such as Amazon etc.
Links Page. It's a good idea to have a links page that will enable you to link to other sites, and they link back to you. (This drives traffic to your site.)
Once your website is established, you can start marketing yourself and your book via social media networks. There are plenty of platforms out there such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter etc, but don't spread yourself too thin by trying to focus on them all - pick the ones which you feel are right for you and target them.
Here's an example of how I promoted my first novel, The Tiger Chase via social networks for free:
I set the launch date for Aug 6th 2010. My title was set up on Amazon, and all the major online stores. I chose Amazon as the main focus for my launch. For all copies that were to be sold on this day, I pledged 100% of my royalties to a tiger charity.
I created an author page on Facebook, free and easy to do. (If you struggle with this kind of work, get a teenager to help you! They come cheap, they love all things techno and they're experts.)
The theme of my novel was the plight of the tiger, so I searched Facebook for groups that had any relevance to my theme - tiger lovers, tiger awareness groups, big cats, endangered species, deforestation, wildlife, poaching, traditional Chinese medicines, etc. There were hundreds of groups with thousands of members worldwide.
TIP: don't join a group then launch into the big sell. Introduce yourself as the author of '' and then get involved in their discussions. I joined as many groups as I could then after a little while I posted the news of my impending launch with the incentive of the charity donation.As the launch day approached, I posted regularly on Facebook, I tweeted everyday and also posted to Linkedin.
Needless to say, my launch was a great success. Although I didn't make any money, it didn't cost me a cent to promote, and more importantly, I had launched not only my book, but my brand.
Until next time.
|Tags: Andy McDermott / Director|