If you were able to produce some writing yesterday, however big or small, take a moment to celebrate your first steps to success. Then, we’ll talk about self-branding. And don’t worry, it’s not as painful as it sounds!
Stephen King. J.K. Rowling. Agatha Christie.
These names conjure not just a series of books, but an idea of the writer behind them. We know them for their immeasurable imaginations, taking us on different journeys through different types of stories. These are writers we can “trust”; writers we know will always tell us a good story. In the mainstream world of fiction, this trust is built up by huge advertising companies who lend their powerful recommendations to these authors in order to get us to try them out in the first place. In the world of indie and small press publishing, it works a little differently. Your author presence—the things readers will associate with your name—is built upon a closer, more intimate connection as you encounter your audience directly.
Yesterday I discussed the idea that writing in the indie and small press world denotes being “closer” to your readership and developing a following. In my career, I’ve worked hard to do this, connecting with my readership and having them fall for the “style” of my books as much as their individual content. Through this method, I’ve been able to write in many different genres, including horror, fantasy, sci fi, historical, and gothic fiction. My fans have followed me from story to story, even though generally “horror isn’t their thing,” etc. Despite their reservations, they’ve found that it’s my way of storytelling they enjoy more than anything, and having a close connection to them via the internet allows me to understand my market appeal and capitalize on it.
The social media world is also incredibly useful for spreading the word about new releases and gathering people at live online events such as book giveaways, launches, and takeovers, wherein indie authors take over a particular page and do some interactive games with the readers. Here, you can give away a few digital copies of your books as prizes, which also capitalizes on grabbing new readers and a few reviews. This kind of tool can be utilized and extended to include encouraging people to follow your Facebook and Twitter updates, shelve your books as “To Be Read” on Goodreads, like your Amazon author page, and sign up to your mailing list, all of which are invaluable to the communicative aspect of marketing that we’re laying the foundations for.
Now It’s Your Turn
If you don’t have one already, set up an author page on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. This is different from your personal account, as it will solely represent your writing and become the central hub where fans can be directed to ask you questions and get personal updates on how your books are working. It may seem premature to do this at the very start of your career, but even the fact that you’re writing a book will spark interest among the die-hard Kindleheads of the internet!
Once your page is up and running, use it to connect to other authors writing in similar genres. Ask politely if they’d like to cross-promote with you and if they know of any good groups to advertise your books in to get readers and reviewers. While paid advertising always adds to your sales somewhat, I find that I’ve built up the vast majority of my regular, returning readers through word of mouth and direct contact from my Facebook author page. So start building your network now to give yourself a solid foundation for interaction when your books hit the shelves.
Tomorrow, we’ll go back to quality writing and look at what makes a story truly award-worthy. Even in the planning stages of your novel, you can implement strategies that will ensure a high-quality plot, and I’ll let you in on the secrets of how I do this.
Until then, friends!
A great site for starting tips on how Facebook can help authors sell books is Ad Espresso.
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