Branding your book? Guess Again!

Brand

 

 

RachelSocial media guru, Rachel Thompson, is back offering sage advice to readers on the importance of branding YOURSELF-not your books. There is a HUGE difference between the two and taking the wrong route can have a big impact in recognition of future works and cause lots of repairs down the road.

 

Author Branding vs. Book Branding

 

Many authors, particularly those new to the publishing world, are understandably confused about the term ‘author platform’ – trying to figure out seemingly vague marketing terms we are unfamiliar with is enough to make our head explode.

 

I felt the same way when I began my publishing journey back in 2008 (when I started a blog). I kinda sorta knew that I needed a cool logo to go in the header area, perhaps a tagline (hey, I did work at an ad agency in the 90s), and some sort of theme.

 

Little did I know that I was inadvertently starting my branding journey.

 

As I moved forward toward creating my first book, A Walk In The Snark (based on my blog posts with original material added in), I was mystified what to do. Do I use the cover art as my author image, avatar, header? Do I create something else entirely? Where do I even start?

 

So I did what any former journalism student does: I researched, I asked those ‘in the know,’ I read and read and read some more. (There are tons of books about author branding out there. I’ll list a few at the end of the article that helped me.) But the question that plagued me – and clearly is an issue for many others – is:

 

Do we brand our books or ourselves?

 

Let’s deconstruct.

 

BRAND THE AUTHOR, NOT THE BOOK

 

Unless you’re 100 years old and only plan on releasing just the one book before you pass, you’ll most likely write more books than the one staring at you right now on your computer.

 

If you create a website, social media platform, blog, ads, and all the rest for one specific book, what happens when your next book comes out? You have to either change/update it all, or do it all again. Who has time (not to mention money and energy) for that?

 

So think very hard before you create your author sites: graphics, logos, header images, Twitter handle, Facebook page name, and on and on.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Google and other search engines look at both SEO (search engine optimization) and SMO (social media optimization), so it’s important to have the best visibility possible. If you have your Twitter handle the title of your book, but your site/blog are your name, that’s not consistent.

 

If you’re @JoeCoolAuthor on Twitter, you need to use the exact same name on every other social media channel.

 

Confused about where to start on that? At the very minimum, you need:

 

  • Twitter (your name, not the book). You have 15 character spaces to create your handle (aka, name).
  • Facebook page: If you’re going to sell any kind of product or service on Facebook, their guidelines require you have a page (where people LIKE it) as opposed to a personal account (where you FRIEND people).
  • Google+ page: Same guidelines apply to Google+ as Facebook – you need a Google+ page for your business.

 

G+ is super important, though many people blow it off and that’s a BIG mistake. Google+ is a Google product, and they are the largest search engine in the world. Everything you share on G+ shows up higher in search than on Twitter or Facebook, which can increase your ranking.

 

KEYWORDS

 

So here’s what most authors want to know: what the heck do I talk about? They hear the term ‘keywords’ and run screaming to the beach to put their head in the sand.

 

I’m here to tell you that even without knowing marketing, you’re probably already doing some key wording without even realizing it.

 

What are keywords? In SEO world (which you should Google to at least have a working knowledge, but here’s a basic explanation from GoDaddy), ‘When identifying keywords, select words and phrases in the content of your website that someone is most likely to use when searching for your online business or website.’

 

Take it a step further when choosing keywords for your social media, blog, ads, etc., to include subjects that truly interest you. Why? Because you are a person, not a book robot. Are you a YA author who is also a gourmet cook? Great, share recipes, too.

 

For example, on my author account, @RachelintheOC (and Facebook, and Google+, and my blog, and my ads and…) I discuss writing, nonfiction, social media, true-life experiences, quotes and pictures, sexual abuse (what my book Broken Pieces is about) and okay, occasionally Nutella; whereas on my @BadRedheadMedia account, I talk about more business-y topics, like writing, publishing, social media, branding, etc. Similar, but very different.

 

Is your head about to explode? One last point. When you’re done reading this and leaving a comment about how much you love or hate my article, turn off social media and go figure out your keywords. Start slow – pick five words, such as your genre, interests, expertise, etc. Then look for cool content (blog posts, news stories, videos or pictures) to share regarding those interests.

 

This helps brand you, the author, and also insures that you’re not constantly spamming links that say, ‘Buy my book! which is kind of slimy and annoying, right?

 

Go forth, dear writers, and brand and stuff!

 

 

Recommended reading:

 

How To Market A Book by Lori Culwell and Katherine Sears

APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur) by Guy Kawasaki

Go Global: Building An International Author Platform that Sells by Barb Drozdowich

 

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