Brand Yourself Not Your Book

author brandingBranding is the buzz word now for creating a public image of yourself. For authors, especially new writers, it is imperative that you build a brand around your name. Almost without exception, I see bios of authors that read, ‘Authour of Jack The Rat and Tinkle Tom’s Adventures’.

Quite honestly, writing bios such as this creates nothing, as no one is interested in your book because they have never heard of you ,let alone your book. Especially if you have registered yourself under a username such as ‘NightWriter’ or any type of anonymous tagline. Would you buy these books from this unknown person? Of course not. Then when ‘NightWriter’ finds sales are pitiful, of course resorting to a ‘BUY MY BOOK’ promotion blitz takes over due to desperation, and the end is nigh for author and books.

A much better approach is to brand yourself and forget about your books for a while. In other words sell yourself, not books. When people know your name and have an interest in who you are and what you do, they will easily find you . Perhaps even be interested enough to buy one of your books. A good example is Amanda Hocking. I know her name well, but I can’t recall a single title she has written. But if I want to read one of her books I could find them in no time on Amazon.

So where do you start?

Re-write your bio on every site where you are registered and concentrate on building on your personality and interests. Your a writer, so write creatively.

If you’re not using your own name as your username, open a new account with your name and add ‘author’ or ‘writer’ so it’s clear who you are and what you do.

Check your blog to make sure your name is the real centre of attention and have a well written ‘About Me’ page and an easy way for readers to contact you along with a clear RSS feed and subscribe button.

Use Social Media wisely and participate. Don’t just post about you, you, you and your book. Remember, forget the books for a while. I have mentioned before that you need to ‘make friends, make fans, make buyers’. Aggressive advertising is for the sides of bus stops, not Social Media.

Search for your name on Google at least once a week and check your progression. This is the best way to see if others are linking to your blog or mentioning you in other areas of the Internet.

Twitter has become a must for authors. If you’re not on Twitter, get on and start following readers and book reviewers. Don’t get carried away with following only other authors. Then participate in the conversation and make friends.

Groups on Facebook are becoming irrelevant because they aren’t crawled by Search Engines anymore, so don’t waste time there. Build on your personal Facebook profile, and add a Facebook Page.

Register on a good number of Social sites and add a post or two. You don’t have to use them all that much as the important part has been achieved by setting up your profile. Your bio will now get listings on search engines. Make sure you have a Google account and a well written bio there as this will come up first in web searches using your name.

Pick your social sites to concentrate on and use them daily to build your brand. Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads is an effective threesome for an author. Ten minutes spent on each per day will really help your promotion.

Automate and schedule your blog posts and keep posting. Your blog is the key to your success.

Register with Stumbleupon and build your followers first, then use it sparingly from time to time to share your own blog posts.

So what are you waiting for? Get to work on selling yourself, and the books will sell themselves.

21 thoughts on “Brand Yourself Not Your Book”

  1. Hey Derek,
    Nice and informative as usual! Funny thing, I happened to be listening to a song called ‘Nightrider’ (Queensryche) at the very same moment I was reading the part about that poor ‘NightWriter’ fella. Good info here and I’m trying to take your advice. Easy for me about the book part, since I don’t have one yet :)

  2. Quick question, is this set up to automatically tweet replies, or do you have to do that manually? Obviously, this seems like an additional incentive for more folks to get involved in your blog posts. More promotion to the commenter and more comments/traffic to your blog. It’s a win win!

    1. You’re right Wesley, it’s one of a number of facilities on the blog to try and create conversation and interaction. Another is for commenters to be able to link their blog posts to their comments and get an additional link that helps in better search engine placement.

      I have noticed also that there are a lot of people who are using the RSS feed from The Vandal to auto post on their own Twitter and Facebook accounts. This is another win, win. They get content, and I get more hits.

  3. Hi. Don’t mind me, annoying you all over your blog. For some reason I’ve only just come to check this thing out — goodness only knows why, since it’s flaming marvellous, and I’ll definitely be a regular reader.

    Anyway — this post is fab, plenty of good advice, and things to think about. I’m terrible at branding (but then, I don’t exactly have a book to promote yet, either — finishing it might be a good plan…), so posts like this give me loads of useful tips I can file away for later or, in some cases, start working on now. Much appreciated. :D

    1. Go for it Lex! Grab a spray can and whack your comment, tag or graffiti on any post. What better fun than a bit of vandalism on The Vandal ??

  4. When I was very young- Koolaid stand young-I was told you don’t sell the product, you sell yourself. A good salesman can sell swamp water. I’m reminded of Bill Porter in Door to Door. The only difference now is we are knocking on computers not doors. If people like you they’ll buy your product.
    Now all I have to do is get people to like me. There’s the rub. :P
    Interesting post.

    1. Yes it’s hard work Margaret. Getting people to like you in this new age of technology is a far different beast from face to face. It’s all about perception. A one eyed giant green slug can be popular if it knows what it’s doing, but the most likeable person on the planet may have problems of credibility. It’s a bit of trial and error I think.

  5. Derek, great stuff! I’ve been trying to do just this, but I see I’m falling a little short on a few. Thanks for the tips. Keep ’em coming.

  6. The best thing about books is that you use your imaginations and not someone else’s.
    50 people can read the same book and come up with 50 different scenarios.
    You just have to love books and the amazingly talented writers.
    Jan Peter Prokes

  7. There is a danger in branding yourself though. As too many, even most do not understand what a brand is. Too many see it as a label like the ‘brand’ of washing powder. it isn’t. A brand is who you are, not what you do. You can’t fake a darker, more alternative you as it cracks. What if the you doesn’t match your flavour of writing? In truth, t doesn’t matter. Everything you do, how you do it, and how people feel about it is your brand. What people think before and after they meet or read you, your reputation, perception, motivation and culture is all part of branding. Branding is how you look, how you feel and act. It is what you represent and what you stand for.

    It’s okay to be dull, a nerd and write dark violent crime fiction, as there are millions just like you. Look at Chuck Palahniuk, a loving fan base who adore him AND his work. That is the key – be transparent, honest and available – and most of all be yourself.

  8. Brayden Hirsch

    Good post, though I don’t really want to get into the habit of googling myself. Sure, there are people out there that like me, but there also might be someone who has a “Brayden Hirsch-haters” blog or Facebook group. Either way, I’d rather not know.

    Ignorance, in this case, is truly bliss.

  9. At this point, I think a real branding would be easier … heat up the iron, and sssssssssssssssssss. A lazy J for me. I’ve been working on my website again that remains at a bare bones level because the html fiddling makes me CRAZY! Thank you for allowing me to vent.

  10. In a way, I have to agree with Johnny Gibbings’ comment.
    This article has to be taken with a grain of salt because some authors would spend too much time on twitter and other social media that they tend to get wrapped up in their awesomeness that their books suffer. I have met some authors who write really witty lines in 140 characters or less yet whose books are underdeveloped (Shameful really. I was once tempted to kid them about it but I decided not to do it. Hehe). In this day and age, an author has to balance visibility on the web plus creating a great freakin’ novel. Because if your book is good, then that means you’re really good and no one can question that. The loyal following will just ultimately follow.

  11. I like the article and the branding aspect of it all really depends on people you meet and get to know as a person. There’s such a thing as being subjective and objective and all of us know that some may like pasta whereas someone else may totally avoid it. Thanks for your input.

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