So you’re a writer, huh? Good for you. You’ve got a book published or in the process of being published. Even better. I only have one question for you. Who are you and where did you spring from?
Author branding is as important as getting a publisher. What is it? It’s basically advertising your product (your book) and you (the brand name). You are the most important part of that advertising. Getting your name recognized by potential buyers is a must. But how do you do that?
There are a couple of ways you can get your name out in the reading world. You can make use of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to name a few. Check with your local library about having a book reading/signing. Use press releases to let mainstream media know that you’ve published a book. Check with local television stations. Some have ‘local author’ segments/interviews that will help get your name out there.
Putting your name out on social media has got to be the most time-consuming method of advertising, but it can be the most rewarding. The trick is to have regular posts about writing, about your writing, and/or about you. Two or three posts a week is not unusual for some authors. Within Facebook, you can have your own author page and, if you have a WordPress blog, you can use JetPack to post to your Facebook page every time you post on your blog. The same holds true for Twitter. Your blog posts can become tweets, but you should also become active in other writer circles on both of those platforms. Authors are readers, too, and some are more than willing to provide reviews.
That’s another thing you’ll want to promote—reviews of your books. It can be hard to get someone to post a review if you’re not on Amazon, but goodreads.com is an acceptable platform to work on, too. The nice thing about Goodreads is that you can hold chats/discussions on the books. Just post a time that you’re willing to chat with people on your other platforms, with a link to the chatroom on Goodreads. It may take a while before people recognize your name on Goodreads, but it will happen. Participating in other author chats is also a good way to get your name out there.
So what else do you need to do to get people to buy your books? Think outside the box for advertising ideas. I’ve got a t-shirt with the cover of my book on it and used that to sell a couple of copies. I’ve also made bookmarks. They’re simple enough. Six columns with the same information in each and print it out on cardstock. Then cut the columns out, laminate them and you’re done. I think all told, it cost about $20 for 600 bookmarks, including laminating. I’ve seen some authors who give away pens with their name or the name of their book on it, sometimes both. Any advertising shop will be able to give you a better idea of the costs of that. Coffee mugs are another option, I think, if you want to get serious about advertising your books.
So where do you sell all this stuff or give it away while selling books? If it’s nearing Christmas, there are any number of local craft shows that would let you rent a booth to sell the books. Or you could get together with someone else selling merchandise and share the cost of a table with them. Another venue to consider is conventions. They are a mine of information and networking opportunities. The plus side is that they can be a bit… odd. Sometimes, cons can even provide you with either feedback on your work or as fodder for the next chapter.
All of these methods of advertising are a way to get your name out in the world as an author. They’re how you market both your brand and your product.