Tag Archives: Book Launch

Author Branding MYTHS

People often equate “branding” with “visual brand identity”, but it’s not the same thing. Branding is a much wider term.

Nowadays most authors are researching like crazy to discover the best methods to promote their books. But not every author can relate to why they need a brand, they have a blog and book cover, some social media accounts… done and branded right? Nope!

“My book is the product, and a good book sells itself through word of mouth marketing.”

Before I even get into the myths of author branding let me tell you what author branding is…

Author branding is the image you portray through your writing, your communication with your network and readers, the products you sell, and the visual identity that represents all of that.

Your brand should be seamless and spread across your entire online platform and throughout your business with letterhead, business cards, logo, etc.

There are many things to consider before developing your brand, but we can get into that on another post.

I know how confusing branding can be so my point for this post is to clarify what author branding “is not.”

Check It Out:

MYTH 1

I already have a great brand so I don’t need to do any work.

FACT

Your brand needs constant polishing to keep it shiny. The image you want to send to your readers is what you want to keep up all the time. If you’re the down-to-earth millionaire’s coach, then keep on doing things that will remind people that that is who you are. People are fickle-minded. All of a sudden, they might change their minds just because they can. If a new book enters your niche and catches their attention, you can lose your readers just because they want to try out something new. So keep updating your brand. Making little changes to your platforms look and advertising campaign to make sure that people can still see that you are around and you’re keeping true to their brand.

MYTH 2

I already know my brand. I don’t have to boast about it.

FACT

Brands exist in the mind of consumers. The definition of branding says that it is about your relationship with your readers. It’s not about what you think of yourself. Your brand is about what others think of you. You might think you’re a helpful, friendly author of parenting books, but if you don’t do anything to broadcast that image, people might think otherwise. If you want to establish a strong brand, you need to develop your confidence and go out there and act the way you want to be seen. Get the word out everywhere so you can consistently attract new people.

MYTH 3

I’ll focus on writing a great book instead, then the money will come flowing in.

FACT

There are one too many wonderful books out there that are not getting any downloads on Amazon because of one thing. The authors have failed to create and maintain a strong brand for themselves. At the same time, there are a number of bestselling books on the market that aren’t very good. The truth is that when you create an image of yourself in your readers’ heads, even if your book isn’t that remarkable to begin with, you have far better chances of making good sales.

MYTH 4

Branding is second place to everything else.

FACT

There are three steps in writing a bestseller. One, write first. Two, edit later. And three, market your book all the time, even when your book is not yet written and after your book has already been put out there and making sales. Branding goes right up there with marketing. Branding is the fuel that oils your sales machine. Without the constant interaction with potential customers that is branding, you won’t get any sales. It’s as simple as that.

MYTH 5

Branding is not important these days as it was years ago.

FACT

Branding may be even more important now that the role of the salesman has greatly diminished as people take it upon themselves to research the products they want to buy. So when people are looking for information, having a great brand gets you noticed. The better your branding, the easier it will be for people to follow you.

MYTH 6

Branding is deceptive.

FACT

Branding is about the experience people have with your book. When they feel happy, sad, scared, furious or deceived, that is what your brand is. You cannot deceive your customers because branding is not about what you say. You can say over and over again that you make your readers feel like they’re on top of the world, but if that is not what they feel, then that is not your brand. Your responsibility to your readers is simply to make sure that the message you want to put across resonates with their experience of your book.

MYTH 7

You don’t need branding if you have a unique selling point.

FACT

Your unique selling point wont be unique for long. when others see something that works, they copy it. The only way to stay at the top of the food chain is great branding.

MYTH 8

Branding is similar to sales and marketing.

FACT

Sales is different from marketing and marketing is different from branding.

Sales is a one-sided conversation. Marketing is about what you do to promote your brand.

Branding is about creating an experience for your readers. Without branding, you can’t put your marketing and sales into high gear because you have a half-baked story to tell.

It’s not as big, strong and impactful as the story you have when you have a great brand.

My New Children’s Book is Published

Lords of the Arctic

My latest children’s book has been published! It was exciting illustrating for Patti Petrone Miller (author) and her wonderful story about arctic animals and climate change. This project was hundreds of hour’s worth of illustration. Finding ways to bring vibrant color into the arctic scenes of winter took some extra creativity and illustrating animals is something I thoroughly enjoy. I look forward to working with Patti again soon ❤

Yutu is a fifteen-year-old Inuit boy who lives in the Arctic region and is closely watching a family of polar bears. Solar is a large male, Climate is a female, Ice and Snow are the cubs, and all will learn what survival will be like in a new world of melting ice.

It’s an exciting and sometimes dangerous journey full of beautiful scenery and lots of other Arctic animals that they meet along the way.

Yutu’s parents head an Arctic conservation team. His father is an environmentalist, and his mother is a marine biologist. Together they team up with Yutu’s best friend, who is a veterinarian. Yutu’s younger sister, who is a photographer, also tags along to capture the animals on film. His grandparents tag along to make sure this journey supplies them with enough clothing, shelter, and food.

It will be a long journey as they follow the bears through the brutal and fragile terrain of the Arctic, hoping to find a way to save them from extinction.

Lords of the Arctic is an ongoing series that will take the family through the winter, spring, summer, and fall in the Arctic and Antarctic. It will focus on the many animals that live there: such as narwhals, seals, penguins, and whales, to name a few. This series will teach children the importance of becoming guardians of the Earth and doing their part so future generations of all matter of life can survive and thrive.

Teachers can add these books to their classroom curriculum. Climate change is a reality that their students need to know about. This series will introduce students to climate change and its effects on the environment on the most northern and southern continents.  Children will learn about Inuit Indians, Arctic animal life, the geography of the Arctic regions, and how Yutu and his group measure the effects of climate change. Most importantly, they will learn what they can easily do themselves to battle this global crisis.

Sneak Peek

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART THREE: PRODUCTION

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These steps are a guide to aid you in a successful book launch. If you missed the first steps, you can find them here:

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART ONE: CONCEPTION

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART TWO: WRITING

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You read all the time about book promotion or book marketing and I know it sounds like a helluva lot of work. It is. There’s no way around it. But if you want a successful book launch or your best chance at becoming a bestseller, then you need to take a look at your options and get organized.

During this stage of your book launch, you want to build interest in your book. You will want to share the process to get your followers more deeply involved and to create demand for your book.

  • You can start by getting your followers engaged in the production of your book.
  • Seek and publish interviews with the leaders in your field.
  • Start getting review commitments.
  • You should also begin laying the groundwork for a book marketing and publicity campaign.

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ENGAGE YOUR FANS AND SET THE GROUNDWORK FOR LAUNCH

It’s time to make creative decisions like what to edit, which cover to use, and what the title of your book should be. Document that process and get your fans involved in key decisions, it will pay off on launch day.

Facebook Live Video

Facebook Live video generates massive engagement within the platform. In fact, according to Facebook’s own data, Live videos on the platform are watched on average three times longer than regular videos. Take advantage of this during the production process by live streaming as you make key decisions about the book such as choosing the artwork, title, and launch date.

Poll Your Fans

Polls are an incredible way to better understand who your audience is and what they actually want. Try coming up with three or four different title options and see which performs the best in your communities. Doing so will lead to more informed decisions while simultaneously giving your potential readers some sense of ownership.

Split Test Your Creative

In a similar vein to polling, it’s a good idea to use advertising tools like Facebook as a way of testing titles and cover artwork in a much more public setting. Run an ad split-testing multiple title choices, the one with the most engagement wins. Doing this will give you a better idea of what the entire market is looking for.

Create Q&A Videos

Q&A is a fantastic format that people tend to gravitate towards because it provides specific context. Using Facebook Live, or regular video, try taking the time to collect a few questions about your topic or your book from your community and give thoughtful answers to them.

Create a Q&A Podcast

The beauty of video is that once you are finished with it you will have perfectly good audio to use. If you’ve done the Q&A video I would suggest that you pull the audio from those files and turn it into a podcast for some additional reach.

Create a Book Trailer

If you have the time and the dollars to spend, creating a book trailer can be a fantastic way to promote additional excitement for your book launch. The best book trailers focus on the main problem that the book intends to solve while not giving away too much information.

Create an Explainer Video

If you don’t have the dollars to get a professional book trailer done or if you want to create more videos, consider getting in front of the camera and explain what the book is about, what problem it solves, and who it’s for. It may not be fancy, but clearly explaining your book is never a bad thing.

Work With Your Book Launch Team

As you move into the pre-launch stage of your journey you will need to start recruiting people to be on your book launch team. These are the people who will be your biggest advocates. They’ll write your early reviews, they’ll introduce your book to their friends and audiences, and they’ll help you get the initial rankings that you’ll need to build a sustained machine. Reach out to the community you’ve built thus far in order to recruit.

Send Out Review Copies

Don’t wait until two weeks before the launch to send review copies to people who have the power to drive massive awareness. Your goal should be to send them review copies with more than enough time for them to go through it and formulate an actual opinion. Once your final draft is done look into sending them out immediately to get that process started.

Get Early Amazon Reviews

This is the same concept as above, send members of your book launch team early copies so that they can have honest reviews prepared for launch day. The trend with Amazon is proof of purchase to give a review. There is a way around that but I forgot what.

Create a Media Kit

As you move into the pre-launch stage you are going to be doing quite a bit of “pitching”. Take the time in this stage to create a media kit that will save you time and energy in the long run while helping you look more polished when compared to other self-published authors.

CREATE A PROFESSIONAL MEDIA KIT

Use HARO to Get Media Mentions

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) can be a fantastic tool for getting media mentions and getting featured on various websites. By signing up you’ll receive an email whenever a reporter is looking for something you may be able to weigh in on so it’s a fairly “passive” source of gaining additional exposure before the real push starts.

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More to come on “Your Road to Launch” – stay tuned 🙂

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART TWO: WRITING

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These steps are a guide to aid you in a successful book launch. If you missed the first step, you can find it here THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART ONE: CONCEPTION.

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The next step on the road to launching your book is writing. And writing is about much more than writing your book.

Writing

You want to be sure that you’re writing at least five days a week. You’ve outlined your book, so now you just pick a scene and write. Focus on that one scene alone and don’t go back and try to edit what you’ve already written. Save it for when your draft is done. Remember, your draft doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s why they call it a draft. Just puke it out if you have to, it can all be polished up later.

The key here is consistency. Sit down and get some words on paper.

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Of course, at this stage, you’re going to be focused on writing your book. But during this phase of your book launch, you should be doing all that you can to grow your network. The network you’ve grown by the time of your book launch will be the ones who first purchase your book. Many will leave reviews and share your book with their friends, all of which will sell more copies and get your book into the hands of more readers.

Some of the best marketing options available to you are during this “creation” stage.

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GROW YOUR NETWORK

Blog About the Process

This isn’t blogging your book, it’s blogging your writing experience and sharing it with potential readers. Find ways to use the writing process that you are already going through as a means of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. Don’t share parts of your book.

Don’t share parts of your book.

This is a great opportunity to connect with your followers and gain some new ones. The more people in your network, the more copies of your book you’ll sell. Plain and simple.

Create a Facebook Page

I see a lot of authors that create a Facebook author profile and that’s really not the best way to go about promoting yourself on Facebook. What works well is an author page, they are actually geared to work for you and your blog posts can automatically post directly to them. This way your facebook profile can stay personal and separate from your business as a writer.

Having an author page also promotes your website and gives you the ability to boost posts or create ads. You can even select the audience you are targeting so they see your posts too.

So remember, a Facebook Profile is personal, a Facebook Author Page is for business.

Create Videos Expanding on Core Ideas

This is a great way to go over ideas for your book and attract an audience. You don’t want to read your book aloud, you want to talk about your theme and core ideas. Get your viewers interested in whats to come. Video is awesome, it gives your followers a chance to connect with you on a deeper level. This is my next big leap 🙂

Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs

You know you need more exposure and one of the best ways to get it is by guest blogging. Expand on the core ideas of your book in these blog posts. Ask the reader questions, interaction on these posts is a big win. It can give you new ideas and you get to meet new people who are interested in what you’re writing about.

Create a Landing Page

Do you have a landing page? Landing pages are a great way to promote your writing and give you a chance to offer your viewers something for free for subscribing to your blog. This is one of the most effective ways to build your subscribers list. Then when you’re ready to launch, you can market your book to your subscribers. This is where the majority of your initial book sales will generate from.

Create a Podcast

Podcasts are pretty cool. they’re not hard to get started and you can incorporate them into your website. You can gain a ton of fans by talking about your book, doing interviews, etc. Also, they are easier to get into for those of us who are shy. You just chat away into the microphone and people listen. This can be a great way to grow your network fast.

Interview Experts

Taking the time to sit down with and interview experts in your field is a great way to draw your target audience and build your network. It will also strengthen your brand while creating brand awareness. You want to interview authors whose target market is the same as yours. Plus, you can learn from them which will help you develop your own ideas. And making new friends is always a bonus.

Create a Book Profile on Instagram

The Instagram community loves quotes which makes it an ideal place to share micro-content from your book. Set up an account for your book, set your website link to your landing page, start publishing quotes from the book in image form, and use relevant hashtags to boost discovery.

Get Interviewed on Podcasts

Since you are now writing the book it’s safe to say that you have a decent idea of what the core concept is and what directions it could possibly go in. That means it’s an ideal time to start sharing your ideas on a slightly bigger stage. Reaching out to podcasts and getting interviewed about your concept is a great way to get it in front of their audience while simultaneously being forced to explain the idea. Explaining leads to better writing.

Find Readers With Twitter Search

If you go to Twitter and use their search feature it allows you to find people who are talking about your exact topic. When used correctly this is a powerful thing as it enables you to jump into conversations, share resources, or even just observe what the conversations look like.

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More to come on “Your Road to Launch” – stay tuned 🙂

THE ROAD TO LAUNCH – PART ONE: CONCEPTION

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These days, a lot goes into publishing a successful book. This series of articles discusses the stages of writing from conception to launch.

BEFORE THE WRITING STARTS

The Benefits of Getting Organized

As a writer, you may know all too well the disappointment of a project that has gone awry. Without a clear plan of attack sketched out from the beginning, it can be easy to lose your initial momentum. Writer’s block may occur from a simple lack of knowing your next move. Without some sort of map to guide you, your writing could drift, losing clarity and effectiveness.

Knowing what comes next is helpful because it gives you a list of manageable goals and provides you with direction. Planning ahead can help to keep you focused and strengthen your writing. Breaking down your project with an outline is the most efficient way to accomplish your goals and meet your expectations.

There are many steps in any writing project and taking the time to address them beforehand can get you to the finish line in a timely manner – knowing you’ve done your very best.

Build a Community Around Your Ideas

Nothing great has ever been built alone so the community you build in this initial stage will serve as your first buyers, your first reviewers, and your support system throughout the entire process. Find your potential readers and ask them questions. Tell them you have a product to launch and you want to share some of it with them to get their opinion and maybe they might buy it. But in any case, it would be great to have their help while you’re putting it together. Over time it will build you up as an expert in your niche.

There are many steps that go into building excitement and interest for your project before the process of writing begins. It’s a good idea to create a schedule to tackle the following objectives while at the same time, creating a writing strategy.

  • Talk to Your Potential Readers
  • Research Similar Books
  • Practice Strategic Networking
  • Build an Email List
  • Document the Journey
  • Build a Launch Team

Depending on your goals, it may be a good idea to become even more involved with your community. Here are some other options to consider:

  • Join Facebook Groups
  • Join LinkedIn Groups
  • Message Group Members Directly to Create Authentic Connections
  • Do Some Market Outreach
  • Attend Local Meetups
  • Join Relevant Forums

Not only will these methods help grow your network, but they will grow your knowledge base, your understanding of your audience and your genre, improve your skills, and will help expand and refine your ideas.

Create Yourself a Schedule

I know first-hand how overwhelming things can get when you start to take your business of writing seriously. The best way I’ve found to keep it all in perspective is by creating a weekly excel sheet that lists all of my goals for each day.

I record my time spent on each activity to manage my time, stay on task, and reach my goals that much quicker. Like most others, I manage a day job, family, fun, and other responsibilities as well as my writing career.

Prepare a Writing Strategy

For your best chances of success, whatever your subject matter, start with an outline. An organized and detailed plan that tells you what to write about and when. A strategy that can be broken down into manageable parts that can be written each in one sitting.

By creating your outline, you tackle the difficulties of theme, character development, and plot from the beginning. Breaking down your writing goals into smaller sections or scenes makes it easier to tackle one piece at a time. This enables you to know exactly what to focus on at any given moment. Knowing what is needed and when helps keep your writing focused without the stress of the entire undertaking weighing you down or misdirecting your train of thought.

Outlining works with all genres. Keeping pace with an outline that has proven successful in your genre can help you captivate your audience and keep them reading. Although there’s no rule that you have to go with any particular style, so feel free to create your own. Be mindful that it’s a good idea to know what has worked for others before you get started.

Focus on the Task at Hand

Always refer back to your schedule and focus on the task at hand. It’s best to start with the most difficult tasks first and limit your time spent on each. It can all become overwhelming without some degree of discipline.

Consistency is key. Relationships are formed over time through participation. Knowledge is gained by being open to the ideas and insight of others, questioning and commenting on what you learn along the way.

Taking time to create your outline and flesh out your story will make it that much stronger when it comes time to write.

Reward Yourself

Reward not only feels good but reinforces behavior and helps create habits. Create a system of reward for accomplishing your goals, like an espresso or something else that feels good.

Take a Break

As you embark on your journey there will be much to accomplish, all of which requires some hard work on your part. Be sure to take days off on a regular basis to rest and rejuvenate so you don’t run the risk of becoming burned out.

I set a stop time each day no matter what. If something doesn’t get done, it moves to the next day’s schedule. I try to accomplish the most important things first, so critical items don’t get overlooked.

When my weekend rolls around I leave the business of writing on the back burner and give my mind a couple of days to recover.

Making the most out of your off-time will keep you happy, healthy, and more productive.

🙂