In this section:
Your author brand is:
Why your branding should be consistent
Your audience needs to know what it is getting from you with everything that you put out, whether that be a:
If you brand yourself well, people know what they are getting before you open your mouth.
If what you put out in terms of marketing and social media is too inconsitent, you’ll have trouble building an audience.
When you write your next book, think about your brand
How do I know what a good personal brand looks like?
Bill writes military science-fiction. His reader wants action, adventure, and hard science. His typical reader is male, teenager and upward (yes some 90-year-old women read this – typical doesn’t mean ALL). His reader expects details of weapons, betrayals, fights, pain, spectacular battle scenes and future tech. He wants to feel as if he’s watched a high-octane war-buddy movie in space.
So Bill’s website or Facebook page will have links to science sites, military sites, reviews of thrillers he’s read, box-office hits he’s watched, maybe some talk about various martial arts. What has inspired Bill as a writer? It’s probably the same that’s inspired his readers – so he’ll share his interests in US survivalism or alien worlds or nanotechnology, or whatever.
He’ll look at the book covers of his own, and competing books. He’ll copy that colour and style for his page, his website, his blog, his business card (probably greys and blues, metallics, with bursts of orange fire and supernovae). His font will be hard-edged, probably sans-serif. His heroes will be chisel-jawed and bristling with guns.
His Facebook updates will discuss exploration, science, space, war, action, adventure. He’ll talk about trips he’s taken, hunting, or a new way he can pile on muscle through protein shakes. Maybe he’ll talk about a development in technology and what that means for his books. He won’t talk endlessly about his books – he WILL talk about the things that interest his readers. If he is writing “true to himself” then these things will interest him, too.
It’s NOT about being fake. It’s about presenting the very best, most genuine and honest representation of yourself as a writer in a genre. I am sure Bill also loves kittens, grows prize-winning azaleas and is scared of his own toenails but the reader of his military thrillers doesn’t want to know that – maybe mention the toenails things, that’s interesting – but the bulk of his posts will be relevant to the readers of his books.
This feeds into the author bio Bill will create. He’ll think about the expectations his readers have, and ensure these words are mentioned in the bio. “All-action, rip-roaring emotional rollercoasters of future technology and old-fashioned grit. Bill is a US Army Vet and draws on his extensive military experience and love of space exploration to write adventures that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” Keywords in here are action, technology, military and adventures – these are Amazon sub-categories and the sort of thing that people search for.
Personally, I am working on a scrap book to jot down these kind of things, and stick in articles and ideas that occur to me. Others use mood boards. Yet others will use Pinterest to gather together images that reflect the themes and feelings of their books, and that is an additional marketing tool – for example if you write gentle, Christian romance, consider a Pinterest account that gathers spiritual pictures, inspirational poems, crafts and arts and homemaking and so on.
Branding is only difficult or negative when it’s forced. It should flow naturally from the types of books you write. If you struggle too much, perhaps you are not writing the sort of books your heart wants you to write…
(With thanks to Clare Mackintosh – sign up to her awesome email list Book Club here.)
If you are going to choose one marketing tool to promote your work, it should probably be building an email list.
Top email list building tips
Email List Case Study: Peter Bartram
Peter is a cosy crime fiction author - published by Roundfire Books.
Author Story: When someone suggested to me that the best way to promote my Crampton of the Chronicle series was to offer a free ebook, I must admit I was sceptical. But today, Murder from the Newsdesk – the free ebook – had its 20,000th reader download. And downloads are still coming in at the rate of more than 400 a day. For quite a bit of the time during the past five weeks the book has been #1 in both the "crime" and "cozy mystery" categories in Amazon's UK free books. And the last time I looked it was also #3 in the "mystery, thriller & suspense" short reads category in Amazon's US free books.
For other JHP authors who are planning a series, the biggest benefit seems to be the ability to build a database of readers who like the books. There are now more than 400 on the Crampton of the Chronicle Readers' Group e-mail database and it is growing steadily. And there are also clear indications that this is all feeding through to increased sales of Headline Murder, the first novel in the series. I'm hopeful the Readers' Group database will also be a big help in launching Stop Press Murder, which is out in August 2016
Peter's article published in Publisher’s Weekly also contains interesting information: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/author...
Email List Case Study Example: Leora Fulvio
Leora is a non-fiction health writer published by Ayni Books.
Leora offers tips for solving health issues based on her book Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating. She is also offering an online course, so this newsletter supports her work as a whole, not just her book.
What should I put in my author website?
A website is a static place to hold information about you and your book. At a minimum, it should hold the following:
Great examples from our authors:
We recommend that you have a look at other authors in your genre and see how they go about using their website.
Industry expert, Jane Friedman, writes on this subject and gives excellent advice.
Blogging is a skill and should be treated as seriously as you do your book writing.
Your blog can be seperate from your website or it can be a part of it.
It can be a place to share your news, casual articles or it can be a serious medium for the serious thing you have to say.
Blogging for non-fiction writers
If you are a non-fiction writer, you will likely have an area of expertise (which you may work in or do workshops and talks about). Therefore, blogging about this area of expertise is often a good idea and can help build your brand.
You could blog about frequently asked questions in your field, news items or things in the media related to your subject, or you may have a cause or message you wish to promote.
Blogging for fiction writers
Blogging for fiction writers is tougher – it needs some creative thinking to find a blogging subject that will compliment your creative writing.
Some ideas to base your blog on:
Incidentally, by linking to other authors in your genre, you can potentially cross market and share your fans/audiences, thus being mutually beneficial.
Consider blogging about other JHP authors
You can get a PDF (instant review copy!) of any book from the system.
You can check which titles are coming out by searching by month/imprints on the database, or looking at www.johnhuntpublishing.com for the current month.
You can download the PDF of any title by going to their book’s Marketing Page and scrolling down to PDF Review Copy and downloading the file marked No Trims.
Be consistent and stick to your subject matter.
It takes time to build an audience. Hence, we suggest you start this activity early – as soon as you have a publishing contract. The journey to publication can become part of your blog.
Remember this is a tool, not a means to sell your book. In fact, you will quickly lose followers/readers if you only post ‘buy my book’ blogs.
Make sure you link your blog to your social media. Post your blogs to your social media feeds.
Again, as with websites, a little research of how other writers in your genre do things would help you get ideas.
If you don't have your own blog, you can write for people who do. Blogging has become very popular, and book bloggers are prolific.
Substack has made it very easy to create a mailing list and charge for your email.
Many established journalists, with pre-existing audiences, have moved away from mainstream publications and eaern their money writing directly to their audience.