“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
This post is part of the Author Help: Writing and Personal Branding Resource Page.
You can be an author of books or a blog author, an author of white papers or any other color papers. If you have anything out there that says “written by” with your name on it, you’re an author. And as an author you are a big part of your brand. Unlike a company which has its own entity brand, it is inescapable that you are a major part of yours.
So let’s start with first things first: if people don’t know about your books or your blog or your writing, they can’t read it. Therefore it is vital that you do what is necessary to get the word out. And unless you’re a trust fund baby or have scrimped and saved to accumulate enough money to hire a publicist or marketing person, you have to get the word out yourself. Sigh, I know right? Authors in general like to write, not market. But look at it this way, the more you market, the more money you can make so the more time you’ll have to write.
The basic goal of author branding is to get you/your writing to stand out and be distinctive and unique like you, in addition to gathering some author momentum to help increase readers and sales.
You can brand:
- your name (or memorable penname)
- your books (consider branding when you name your books)
- your characters
- your blog
- your (fill in the blank)
You can put marketing efforts into:
- things you do once (a free download)
- things that are ongoing (social media)
As you go about creating an environment around your writing that generates buzz, understanding some basic branding elements will help you, as a writer, to build a stronger online presence and therefore author brand.
Basic branding elements for writers to know:
1. Small things matter
Use proper grammar unless you mean not to for a purpose. Do you write long or short paragraphs? No one writes the same way all the time but readers develop certain expectations about your work and it’s good to keep that in mind.
2. Know your voice
Readers like to feel as if they know you, so keep certain elements of your writing voice across all areas-whether it’s in your books, blog, or tweets. Are you funny? Dry? Colorful? Resourceful? Flippant? It’s okay to surprise readers, of course, but if they seek out your writing more than once it’s also important to give them what they want.
3. Know the tools out there
If you don’t know what online tools are available for you as an author to use, it makes it awfully hard to decide which ones will work best for you. You probably know some of the basics already or you wouldn’t be reading a blog like zencopy. But, if you want to expand your horizons to consider more online marketing options do a Google search for internet marketing tools and you’ll get lots of lists. To get you started try this Social Media Marketing Guide (101 Social Media Sites to help market your business or yourself online)
4. If you’re a writing hermit, don’t focus on social media
Consider that social media is a 2 way street which means if you truly do not want to interact, sometimes it’s better not to start the conversation.
5. Aim for consistency
In your name and tagline, in letters, emails, and presentations. This means sync your stuff! Whether it’s for your blog, website, linked in, twitter, facebook or other, use the same photo and bio
6. Use the same screen name
As the number of online users grows it’s harder to get the name you want on your different sites but as best you can use the same user name for your website and social media sites.
7. Use the same keywords
What do you want to be known for? What do you write about? Use those keywords. If you’re posting your book on different outlets copy and paste the keywords that apply to your book. Understand and know which keywords apply to you and use those on your profiles and the content of your sites.
8. Have an elevator speech
Don’t get caught with your pants down! Whether you’re marketing online or at a conference, have a Reader’s Digest version (30 seconds or less) of what you do and what you write about. Then use it when asked and remember to alter it slightly for the person listening and to keep it fresh.
9. Develop a personal style guide
In other words, use a specific font family and colors and formatting. If you can, use some of the same colors across your site, your blog, your book covers and logo. Over time your tastes change so you’ll find yourself going back and updating old profiles and posts.
10. Create an online signature
This can be short or long and might include after your name your tagline, and some links to your sites and/or books. Consistently using a signature helps ensure a professional appearance.
All of the above branding tips can become part of your self-package. And these are just the tips of the iceberg so be limited only by your imagination. For instance, some authors wear clothing of the same color as their website or book cover.
And just because you are not a trust fund baby and need to do a lot of your own horn tooting does not mean you have to do it all yourself. Network with other like-minded authors, ask them (yes, ask them) to spread the word, too. Request your Facebook friends to “like”, review, talk about and tweet about your latest book or post. We’re all in this together.
Zencopy founder Karen Daniels is the author of 8 books and counting and an amazon.com top 100 bestseller. See all her books here.
Brand image by loop_oh