Brand as an author
By Philippa Ballantine
We’re all little fish in a giant pond. Thousands upon thousands of books are published every year, and every author wants people to find theirs. It seems like an impossible mission to get people’s attention in such a huge field. It can be rather overwhelming the first time you take a step out into the world of the buying public.
For me, it has been a long haul to think in a more entrepreneurial manner than my creative, writerly self is naturally inclined to. After years I finally think I am coming to terms with that most frightening term that is often flung about, ‘writer platform’.
When my agent sold my first novel to Ace Books in the beginning of 2009, it was a phrase I heard over the phone, and I had no real idea how important it was. However I quickly learned that publishers want numbers, they want to know authors are invested in their own promotion, and they want to know you have a grasp of social media technology that has become so important.
After years of trial and error here are some of the strategies I think are essential to building your author brand. You should be building this even before you get a book contract so that you are prepared to fly.
• Don’t be afraid of new types of social media. Dip your toe in. Not all will be to your liking, but give them a good go before giving up on them. At first I really didn’t like Facebook, but after learning how to handle Pages and game requests, I actually enjoy it.
• Keep numbers on all your social media presences. They matter. So keep track of the number of followers you have on Twitter. The number of people on your Facebook page. The people who are subscribed to your Pinterest or Tumblr. They will all help a publisher understand you are committed, and have people interested in our writing.
• You need to take every promotional opportunity you can get. As long as the cost remains bearable, go to events. Do blogtours, go on podcasts to talk about your book and writing. Even if it is something you are not familiar with, put yourself out there. You will never know the new people who will learn of your existence.
• Don’t forget to the power of the Ask. Find people who are book bloggers, who blog about your subject, think about the potential for cross promotion, and then send them a polite query. The worst thing they can say is no. Again, it can be terrifying, but it can also be exhilerating.
The days of authors in ivory towers are long gone, but with a sturdy author platform under you, it can be fun to be in control of your own presence.
I’ve used all of these in the build up to the release date of Book Three of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences By Dawn’s Early Light, which is March 25th.
Hope you found something useful in this post, and thanks go out to Cindy for hosting it on her site. Don’t forget to check out Write by the Rails, which is full of a diverse range of amazing writers. You can find out more about the Ministry on its site, and me here.