You’ve got to have an author brand. Here on the Huffington Post they tell you why you need one. See, you have to stand out. There’s a lot of competition out there. How is an author to attract buyers to his/her work when there are so many other writers with similar appeal?
I used the word ‘buyers’. See what I did there? Not readers. BUYERS. Because when push comes to shove, as authors we are in the business of selling whether we like to think about that or not.
In a former life I learned a bit about selling. I demonstrated product at trade shows and discovered that potential customers respond well to a smile and a friendly approach. I had the advantage of that brief face to face meeting and the product at hand for them to see and touch and listen to me talking about it. The product and I made a lot of sales.
So how can I get to the people who might want to buy my books? I can’t meet them face to face and smile at them. I can’t demonstrate that this is exactly the book they want to read next. I can’t make them feel they’re dealing with a supplier who has a professional approach and will deliver what they’re looking for.
But I have to try.
Selling my writing is no different from any other market place.
No different from selling toys at the toy fair or bullocks at the cattle market. There are sellers and there are buyers. I just have to find the right buyers. They are out there, but they won’t come looking for me.
So, what is the purpose of a brand? With cattle, it’s about who they belong to. It’s a recognisable mark that shows who is the owner. How can I apply that thinking to my books?
The internet is full of advice about marketing yourself and your books:
Know your audience
comes out very high on the list of things to consider when building your author brand.
Question: Who is most likely to want to read my novels?
Answer: Women like me. Curious women. Not necessarily my age.
Question: What purpose does my novel serve?
Answer: To meet emotional needs.
My author brand must give my readers a warm feeling. I want them to look at the cover of my novels and know they will be going on an emotional journey which, although there will be heartache, there’ll be some kind of hopeful denouement.
And when they have read and enjoyed their first book by Celia Micklefield, I want them to know they can expect a similar experience from the next one. There will be characters they can care about. In the plot there will be shocks and twists and tragedy and successes.
And when they turn the last page I’d like to give them that momentary sense of sadness, that small bereavement of having finished with those characters and their story. I want them to want more. So they’ll go and buy the next one.
My author brand must show in my Tweets and on my author FaceBook page and here in my posts on my website. I’d like to have book covers that say ‘Ah, another story by Celia Micklefield’
I’m working on it.
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