One of the catch-phrases you always hear in book marketing is “building your brand.” When I first heard that, I thought, “What?” The books are the products we’re supposed to sell, not the authors, right? Wrong. You would think that technology has isolated us. After all, we either have a Bluetooth hanging off our ears, our faces bent down toward our Ipads, our fingers busily tapping our laptop keyboards, or the cell phone always at ready for texting, chatting or talking. And while we may be physically alone when we’re on these electronics, we are in no way isolated. In fact, communication has gone into hyper-drive. There are more ways now to instantly get a hold of someone than ever before. Just try to imagine yourself waiting for a friend at a restaurant. How long will it be before you take out your cell phone and “check your messages” or check your e-mail, or even go on the internet and catch up on some news? I’d wager most people don’t last one minute.
What does this have to do with why you should build a brand as an author? I’ll tell you why.
In this brave new world of face-chatting and cell phone cameras
catching any and all action, people are seeing other people, up close
and personal. Your buying public is expecting to know who you are. That
includes, what you look like, what you like to do, what you are doing at
any given time (Twitter, for instance); in other words, they want you
to be accessible, just like everything else nowadays. That’s why you
need to build your brand. You need to be more than an author; you need
to be a person of interest.
Now, before you go and hide under
your covers, understand that you are already an interesting person. You
write. More than likely, you’ve published a book. You just need to learn
how to share yourself and your experiences with your fellow human
being. A website is an absolute necessity. This is where people can go
to get the whole person – you. Blogging is good; that gets you and your
voice out there so that people can get to know your personality. You can
blog on your website, on a separate blog site, and you can also guest
blog on someone else’s site. I’ve been amazed at how supportive my
fellow writers are. You should be doing interviews and trying to get
your book reviewed. Trade reviews legitimize not only your work, but you
as an author. All this online marketing is cost-effective and you can
reach a broad spectrum of readers; however, nothing feels as good as
coming face-to-face with a buying public. That’s one thing a cell phone
can’t give you.
And while you can sit alone at your computer
and join groups, join discussions, leave comments, (that’s all
recommended), you really should get out there and meet people in person.
Try to arrange book signings at stores and book festivals. There’s
something magical and energetic about a live, personal discourse. Those
conversations seem to have a more long-lasting effect on readers and
because of that they will not be so quick to forget you. In a way, I
find that fact rather refreshing.
Now, I’m not advocating for
you to become the most obnoxious self-promoter on the planet. That’s a
sure turn-off. The most important thing to remember in building your
brand is to be accessible. Unless he’s already famous, no writer can
afford to be the aloof, affected, “I-vant-to-be-alone” type. Not in this
world, not nowadays. So, stop hiding and let your communication begin!