Tag Archives: Book Marketing Strategy

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.

Why You Need a Book Poster

By Jessica Kane

Independent authors are faced with many unique challenges, and one of the most daunting is promotion.

Seeing your book in print for the first time is a special moment that soon gives way to the sobering reality that now you must market it properly.

One of the most effective ways to do this is with a book poster.

There are a few reasons why you need a book poster copy

  • A poster is a highly-portable and visual way to draw attention to your book that can be used in variety of methods and places.
  • Aside from book blogging, which is a great method of promotion for independent authors, a book poster that is professionally designed lends a certain amount of credibility to your status as an author.
  • While the number of self-published authors has grown in recent years, there is still something of a stigma attached to independent publishing. Many readers have a perception that the writing of an independent author cannot be as good as that of an author with a big publishing contract. This is patently false, of course, but it is still something you must overcome. One way to do that is to mimic the promotion methods used by mainstream publishing houses, and the book poster has long been used to generate a buzz for new releases. Just check the window of your local bookstore the next time you visit.

The thing is, any old poster won’t do. Too many independent authors make the mistake of trying to design their own or of using a cheap online printing service. A poorly designed poster can actually hurt your chances for sales rather than improve them. If you are going to use a poster, having it professionally designed offers significant advantages. A designer can bring their creative skills into play in order to capture the essence of your book in a way that others cannot.

Think about it. If you are an independent author, writing is what you do. It is far more efficient to spend your time book blogging than to spend it designing a poster or banner. The money you spend on hiring someone to design a poster for you is well-spent because it frees you up to do what you do best–write.

Getting a book poster designed is actually one of the most cost-effective methods of book promotion because a poster has a wide variety of applications.

  • Posters can be bundled with pre-order offers to enhance the chances that people will make a purchase. Be honest. How many times have you purchased a book because you liked the cover art? You’re not alone. The importance of graphic presentation is something the big publishers have always understood. If you sign some posters and include them with a pre-order, there is a chance that you will make more sales.
  • If you are promoting your book with signings at local book retailers, using posters to promote the event and having some on hand to sign is a plus. Once again, the quality of the poster is all important. You only have one chance to make a good impression with it.
  • Posters are an integral part of the press kit that you should assemble and send to media outlets and reviewers in advance of your book’s publication. Critics are just like anyone else. They, too, can be swayed by slick presentation. If you include a poster with your marketing materials you are sending a message that you are a serious player. The absence of nice graphics in the form of a poster or banner will often sound the death knell for an independent author. If a reviewer takes your book out of the envelope and it looks like a self-published work, expect it to be shuffled to the bottom of the heap where it may or may not get a review.

Overall, book posters are a wise investment. They should be a part of your marketing budget for their ability to increase exposure in a way that is effective and economical when weighed against other methods of promotion.

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unnamedJessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in graphic design, marketing, and printing. She currently writes for 777 Sign, her go to place for banner signs, custom flags and custom signs printing.

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The Trouble With Author Spam

by M.R. Goodhew

Are You Unknowingly Spamming Your Social Networks?

Now days indie authors are feeling the pressure to make their social media networks work for them.

They have signed up on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest or as many platforms as they can handle.

They have made tons of connections, traded page likes, and joined all the right groups.

They have studied up on marketing and created a great ad for their book with a catchy tagline and a great hook. Or, they are offering their book at a seriously discounted rate if not for free.

They have created their schedule for marketing and are sticking to it like clockwork. Posting their ad to their groups and feeds at at least three times a day at these particular times – 6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm.

The trouble is that they are now spamming these platforms with this ad. Their share shows up constantly along with thousands of others and has become irritating or is largely ignored. Who is this spammer, is it you?

All of these ads have begun to look the same and there is nothing that stops the public you are networked with, mostly authors, from scanning right past all of your hard work that went into that perfect ad. It’s SPAM.

And if that is not enough, you may be posting your ad for your book on the pages of your followers without their permission, spamming their timelines.

There has to be a better way.

And there is.

Build Your Network With Your Brand

Newsflash – becoming an author is not a get rich quick scheme. Your product is not in demand, there are thousands like it on the market. There are thousands of well written free books, discounted books, and unique books with catchy titles and good covers.

You need to stand out from the rest to generate the kind of sales you are looking for and to gain popularity.

Becoming an author is a business venture, not unlike launching a start-up. It takes years to see the profit and plenty of hours of overtime. Becoming an author is a commitment to your writing career and involves your effort and hard work just like anything else of value. My hat is off to those of you who have done it the right way, you’ve busted your butt creating your platform and poured your heart into your brand by doing what you do best, writing.

My advice for those of you who have not began with your brand is this…

The best way to launch your book is a year before you publish. You do this by creating your brand and building a website where you start a blog and you regularly post content related to your brand. You then share this content across your social media networks and begin to build your following the right way, by getting people interested in what you write.

You make connections with real people by talking to them. You read their articles and make comments. You share their content if it resonates with your brand or if you think your network might appreciate it. You guest post on other blogs. You share your content to your groups and you connect with the people in your group. Once you have drawn people to you with your content, it’s word of mouth more than ads that will skyrocket your sales.

There is a time and place for your ad. Once or twice a week in your groups, three times a day on Twitter, once every other day on Google+ and Facebook. You can also append your ad to the bottom of each blog post, this is a great way to market your book.

Find out how to build your author brand in this article. Discovering your Brand

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Become Part of the Conversation through Blogging

If you are passionate about your subject and are willing to write about it regularly (no less than three times per week), a blog can be a fantastic—and free way of building an audience for both you and your work. You can start your blog with WordPress. It’s free, and sign-up is very simple. Below are the steps to help you get started:

  • Set Up an Account: Visit the WordPress.com and set up a free account to create your blog. Or build your own WordPress website by following these simple steps at How to Set Up Your Author Website
  • Give It a Name: I suggest that you use your name so that the blog can expand to include future books you may publish.
  • Write a Post: Once this is done, click “create post.” Type your entry just like you would an email. You can choose different fonts and sizes of text, or add pictures, lists, and links to websites.
  • Preview and Publish: Click on the preview button to see if you like the way your entry looks. If not, you can edit it until you are satisfied. Once you are happy with the results, click “publish.”

Write in Blogging Style and Observe Blogging Etiquette

  • Regularly Update: Update your blog frequently, three times a week is a minimum but set yourself a realistic schedule and stick to it.
  • Keep It Short and Concise: Keep in mind that in the blogosphere, people have shorter attention spans than they do offline so you need to make your posts easily digestible and informative – 250 words can be enough.
  • Make It Compelling: Strive to create blog copy that is compelling, interesting, and will invite further conversations. Remain true to your brand. Stay on topic so that you don’t lose your audience.
  • Engage: This is an opportunity to tell your readers what you are writing about. Ask them what they would like to hear more about. This kind of involvement will make them feel attached to you and your work, building an audience that will stay with you from book to book.
  • Involve: Pose questions and comment on people’s comments. A blog is meant to be a community. Respond directly to people’s comments, either in the comments or in a new blog post. This will engage readers so they will come back more often.
  • Give It Personality: Above all else, remember that your blog should be an extension of you, let people know who you are and your opinions should be reflected in your writing style

Target Your Audience and Build Upon It

  • Spread the Word: Once you have been posting regularly for a couple of weeks, tell your friends, colleagues, and contacts about your blog and ask them to tell their friends, colleagues, and contacts. Send an email or newsletter to your email address book or database introducing the blog and linking to it.
  • Utilize Your Sphere of Influence: Look around the Internet for related blogs, and read and post to them. Commenting and becoming part of the blog community will cause others visit your blog and do the same.
  • Use Your Amazon Author Page: Once you begin blogging, be sure to sign up for Amazon’s Author Central. This is a program that will allow you to feed your blog directly onto your author page on Amazon.com, a very powerful way to share compelling content with possible customers.

Optimize Your Blog and Link Like Crazy!

  • Submit Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools: The first place you should take your sitemap for a new website is Google Webmaster Tools. If you don’t already have one, simply create a free Google Account, then sign up for Webmaster Tools. Add your new site to Webmaster Tools, then go to Optimization > Sitemaps and add the link to your website’s sitemap to Webmaster Tools to notify Google about it and the pages you have already published. For extra credit, create an account with Bing and submit your sitemap to them via their Webmaster Tools. Submit url’s to Bing, Google, etc.
  • Identify Clear Keywords: Create a good, concise description for your blog, as well as relevant keywords. Make your headlines snappy.
  • Tag: This is easy to do on the “create post” page. Just enter the relevant keywords in the box separated by commas, this will make your blog easier to search.
  • Link to Retailers: Use your custom “Buy the Book” landing page. The page should be live six months in advance of your book’s publication date (You can list pre-order books with Kindle Direct Publishing for eBooks, and Amazon Advantage for paperback publications).
  • Social Networking: Use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., to let others know what you’re blogging about and provide links back to your blog.
  • RSS: Put a subscription icon on every page.
  • Pictures: Use images whenever possible.
  • Learn from Others: Take a look at your favorite writers’ blogs and emulate some of the techniques that make their postings great.

Participate On Other Blogs

This can be a very powerful tool for promotion and raising your profile. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Find Your Community: Use a blog search engine to find blogs in your subject/area of expertise.
  • Make Your Mark: Once you have identified those that feel relevant and compelling, become part of the conversation by commenting on a post that interests you and add something that readers of the blog might be interested to know.
  • Let People Know Where You Are: Link to your blog or website if you’ve written something relevant to the conversation. If you are bringing something valuable to the debate, people will begin to follow you and will be more interested in what you publish.

For Your Cover Design, Illustration, & Author Graphics See Michelle Rene

Book Cover Designer and Marketing Design