So I Think I Need a Website, But What Do I Put on It?

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A few weeks back, we started our journey into the world of author branding and marketing. Our first couple of posts took a casual look at the how we have all become brands now, whether we like it or not, and we took our first steps into the world of author marketing with a post on why every author needs a website. If you haven’t read the previous two posts, please do take a moment to skim through them.

Before I continue our journey, I have to do a bit of shameless promotion for my newly released debut novel, Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office. If you enjoy spy, espionage, or political thrillers, you have to read this book. If you enjoy action, adventure and military stories, you have to read this book. If you just want to have a fast-paced, interesting read… you guessed it… you have to read this book. What’s it about? Three words – Terrorism, Taliban and Pakistan. Yes, it’s shameless, but hey, it’s the marketing part of the business, and I am shameless about promoting.

There are things that you have to remember when it comes to promoting your work to potential readers – don’t annoy them to the point where they shut off to your work. What? Remember, we are all operating in the digital world now. The bookstore signings aren’t as regular as they are for the traditional publishers, nor are the chapter readings at the libraries and bookstores. 90% of our marketing is either on websites, Facebook or twitter so we have to be extremely careful about how we promote our work. This is why that pesky author website is so important. So let’s get to that question that I asked in the beginning… Continue reading

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A Place to Call Home

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In my last post, But I Don’t Feel Like a Brand, I suggested.. maybe nudged the possibility, that in today’s digital world, we are all brands, whether we like it or not. This is great for us all because what used to cost thousands in advertising, we can do for little to no cost with digital mediums, but that also means that we have to have all of our ducks in a row.

Those ducks have to have a place to call home for any marketing/branding effort to succeed. Many of us have been lead to believe that as long as you have a presence on social media channels, you have a home. But that’s not really a home, is it? You are a squatter there, not paying rent, electricity or anything else. And as a result, you don’t have any control over what the landlord (Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc.) demand. I’ll give you the simple example of Facebook’s recent policy change that requires those of us with brand page to pay so that we can get the same exposure we used to get free. The landlord has spoken and we are all suffering. Continue reading

But I Don’t Feel Like a Brand…

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Back in the days before the advent of the Internet and social media, everyone was able to live their lives in relative peace of mind. There was no Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr where we would need to tell the world our thoughts and activities. No, that was kept to a circle of friends who, if impressed, would take credit for the thought and tell others. Brands were those big nameless, faceless corporations whose products littered our shelves. We were not brands, we were just people.

Then, the beast known as social media rose from the pit of hell and the sane world ceased to exist.

In today’s world, we have to update our Facebook, create or join pages for the causes that we support, tweet our every move on Twitter and tell the world about ourselves through blogs. And no, I did not forget the comments that we make on random people’s social media profiles because they are wrong, IMHO, and we have to set them straight. Continue reading

Branding For Self-Published Authors: What it Is, What It Isn’t, and How To Use It

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Branding is a word you hear all over in publishing. It’s tossed around like a beach ball, “If it doesn’t suit your brand, don’t do it!” “You need a strong brand!” “Your brand must be relatable…” “Don’t write outside your genre or it will damage your brand…” “You must have a branding strategy or your project is doomed to fail!” Oh, good grief! It gives me a headache to even think about all the “branding” advice being tossed around without anybody telling the novice what the heck they’re talking about!

Well, part of that is because branding is actually quite complicated. This does not mean it’s hard. It isn’t hard, not by any means, not once you get the gist of what the heck you’re supposed to be doing and how to do it. In my opinion, branding is probably neck and neck as being just as important as marketing and advertising to aide you in selling your books, so it’s something that deserves to be gone over thoroughly.

First, let me tell you that branding is not your name. I mean, it sort of is, but it’s not. When you publish a book, you cease to be a “person”, in a sense, and you become an entity. Meaning, if you are not a human being, but an entity, or a company, if it helps you to understand my point, ask yourself these questions: What do you stand for? What are you selling? What is you level of quality? Are you a worthwhile investment? Can people relate to you? Do you have a service or a message that will benefit people? Continue reading