Brand Your Name, Don’t Promote Your Book
By Joanne Troppello
That’s a strong statement, I know, but I wanted to capture your attention.
Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts, Michael Crichton, James Patterson, Anne Rice, Mary Higgins Clark…we all know those names or at least a good portion of them. So, what’s my point? We know their names. However, we don’t necessarily remember the names of all of their books.
Your fans are not going to always be able to spout off the titles of all your books, but if they like your work and if you’ve become popular, they will remember your name.
If they know your name, they can easily find you online or in the bookstores. When they find your website, then they can look up your books. When they go to the bookstores, they can find your specific titles.
As an author, hopefully you will continually write more books. Your readers may not always know your current works, but they’ll keep track of what you’re working on and when your new releases come out. So, how do you—as an up and coming author waiting for the day that you’ll be on the best seller list—brand your name and market yourself as an author?
Before that question is answered, it’s important to remember that you do still need to work diligently on marketing each of your books. Just remember that the way to become truly popular is to market your name.
One of the best ways to brand yourself is to have a website. You need to have an online presence, which includes branding yourself on the popular social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Write content rich trade articles and post them in free online writing networks like Ezine Articles. With most of those free member sites, you usually need to register and can then start posting educational content. Steer clear of pure promotional content and bring something useful to the readers. Generally, these sites will allow readers to view your profile where they can follow a link to your website. Other online article posting sites allow you to include a short bio with a direct link to your website.
Remember that you are your greatest fan. Take advantage of that fact and promote yourself wherever you go, even if you don’t like to toot your own horn! There are ways to promote yourself and your work without becoming overbearing. I don’t usually like to be the center of attention, but as my husband mentioned when I first got published, that I’m an author now and I’d better get used to it. It’s been six years and I’m still not completely comfortable with promoting myself and my books. However, if I want to sell books, I know I need to become an expert at promoting them and branding my name—until I can hire my own public relations agent.
Join writer’s groups and other writing associations. Always attach your byline in everything that you write. Have your “elevator speech” prepared and ready to use at all times. So, what’s an elevator speech? It’s a short pitch on something you’re trying to market and since you’re trying to market yourself, be prepared to tell people that you are an author and when your next book is going to be released. Be ready to hand out a business card or at least be able to give out your website.
Blogging is another way to brand your name. You always want your readers, potential readers, and the press to go to your website. You can do this by offering them something invaluable and unique that they can’t find anywhere else online.
How do you do that? You need to provide high-caliber content that is always updated. That’s why it’s good to have a blog directly on your website or if you have it through another online service, to at least have the blog link prominently displayed on your site.
You can even create a newsletter. This will be a bit more time consuming than writing a daily or weekly blog, but it is something that you can think about as you get farther along in your writing career. If you cannot commit to writing a daily blog, publish content at least once or twice a week. If that is too much, consider writing for an online magazine on a monthly basis or guest blogging a few times a month on highly trafficked websites and blogs.
That is another reason why I started Pandora’s Box Gazette. I wanted to have a unique online hub where readers can learn about new authors and find interesting daily articles. Having an online magazine will increase my own brand as an author, but I can also help other writers, bloggers, and authors expand their readership base. In turn, having those regular monthly columnists, helps my magazine put out quality content each day so I don’t have to write interesting daily blogs. It’s an excellent symbiotic relationship.
So, if you are looking for an online promotional opportunity, we are looking for several more monthly columnists at the magazine. Feel free to email us for more information.
Don’t forget to keep on promoting your name. You are your biggest fan! Make your marketing efforts count! If something is not working, stop doing it and look for a more productive marketing avenue. However, don’t give up too soon on your current marketing plan. Always stay open to new ideas.
Connect with other authors. Many of us are genuinely friendly and willing to help each other. You just have to know where to find the “friendly authors”! We have an online forum with a great Reader Chat Room and Meet the Authors Chat Room where you can connect with readers and authors.
Have you been branding your name? What do you think about focusing more on your brand image and less on each specific book you publish? Do you have any ideas to share on finding a happy medium with branding your name and your books? We’d love to hear from you.