Brand Yourself Not Your Book

Building your author brandForget book sales and instead, brand yourself as an author

Branding is the buzz word now for creating a public image for yourself.

For authors, especially new writers, it is imperative that you brand yourself as an author and build a brand around your name.

All too often, I see bios of authors that read, in total, ‘Author of Tinkle Tom’s Adventures’ or such like. It says little except to say that the author has written one, and only one book.

Quite honestly, writing a bio such as this creates zero interest. Just another someone trying to flog a book.

Worse still, is if the author uses a username such as ‘NightWriter’ as an anonymous moniker. Would you buy these books from this unknown person? Of course not.

Then when ‘NightWriter’ finds book sales are pitiful, of course resorting to an in caps, BUY MY BOOK promotion blitz takes over due to desperation, and the end is nigh for both author and book.

A much better approach is to brand yourself and forget about your books for a while. In other words, sell yourself, not your books.

When people get to know your name and have an interest in who you are and what you do, they will be far more likely to take an interest in what you do and say. Perhaps even be interested enough to buy one of your books.

A good example is Amanda Hocking. I know her name well, but I can’t recall a single title she has written. But if I want to read one of her books I could find them in no time on Amazon.

So how do you start to brand your author name?

Check your author bio

Completely re-write your bio. Concentrate on writing a new author bio that will build on expressing your abilities, personality and interests. You are a writer, so write creatively. Then use your new bio on every site where you are registered.

Always use your author name

If you’re not using your own name as your username on social media, other than if it is your official pen name, open new accounts with your real author name and add author or writer once somewhere so it’s clear who you are and what you do.

Check your blog to make sure your name is the centre of attention and have a well written About Me page. Also add an easy way for readers to contact you, along with a prominent email subscribe button if you want to build a mailing list.

Social media, of course

Use Social Media wisely and participate. Don’t just post about you, my book, you and my book. Remember, forget the books for a while. I have mentioned before that you need to ‘make friends, make fans, make buyers’. Aggressive advertising is effective on the side of a bus, but not nearly as useful on Social Media.

Twitter has become a must for authors. If you’re not on Twitter, get on and start following readers and book reviewers. Don’t get carried away with following only other authors.

Then participate in the conversation and make friends. Interacting, communicating and being yourself are the best ways to build your author brand.

Groups on Facebook are can be useful, but tend to be writers talking to writers. While you might learn something, they are not the best means to connect with readers.

Build on your personal Facebook profile of course, but as there is a 5,000 friend limit on personal profiles, it would be wise to start a Facebook Page, which is unlimited in the number of followers and likes.

Register on some of the popular social media sites and add a post or two. You don’t have to use them all that much as the important part has been achieved by setting up your profile. Your bio will now possibly get listings on search engines.

Surprisingly, Stumbleupon, Pinterest and Flipboard can gain you a lot of traffic without much effort, so they are definitely worth a try.

Pick your social sites to concentrate on and use them daily to build your brand. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are an effective threesome for an author. Ten minutes spent on each per day will really help your name and brand recognition.

You can automate some social media posts to save time, but make sure all your blog posts are posted to your social media sites as your blog is the key to your success.

Blog like crazy

By far the best medium for building your author brand is your blog. Blog often, and only post high quality and informative content. There are so many ways a blog can be used as the base for all your social media activities, so investigate ways you can use your blog to extend your reach and attract new readers.

Make sure you have a Google+ account and a well-written bio there as this will often come up first in web searches using your name. You can also leverage Google+ to gain search engine indexing for your blog posts.

Check on your progress

Search for your name on Google Search at least once a month and check your progress. You can even set up a Google Alert to inform you of a mention of your name. This is the best way to see if others are linking to your blog or mentioning you in other areas on the Internet.

So what are you waiting for? Get to work on branding yourself as an author and forget about the book titles for a while.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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