Are you that author who regularly shouts “buy my book” on Twitter and Facebook? If this is your idea of book promotion, you need to get comfortable with the fact that your personal brand is “salesperson.” That’s fine if your books are about how to sell things, but a terrible fit if you write novels.
Authors are often uncomfortable with the idea of personal branding. Yet, by being part of the social conversation, most are creating some type of brand whether they’re aware of it or not. Why not be more deliberate about the process? In today’s crowded book marketplace, crafting an effective personal brand has never been more important.
So what exactly is personal branding? We like this straightforward definition: “personal branding is the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal.”* (Just to clarify, a value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered.)
So if readers were asked to describe your personal author brand or value proposition in a few words or phrases, what would they say? Do you know? If not, perhaps it’s worth taking some time to define and create a plan for your personal brand. Here are five simple steps:
1. Discover your brand. Explore and define your life-long aspirations, passions and goals as an author. When you start in a place of honesty, you build a brand that is genuine.
2. Ask hard questions. What makes your work compelling? What differentiates you and your writing in today’s book marketplace? How do readers perceive you and your work? Is that perception aligned with the perception you desire? Do the books you create and the way you market them help you cultivate your personal author brand and achieve your goals? How do you add value to your community of fans?
3. Create a plan. Map out a clear long-term roadmap to help you reach your goals. This should include the types of books you will write (not necessarily just genre, specific qualities are important too), when you will release them, the way you will share them with the world, and the types of actions you will take on a regular basis to demonstrate the qualities and values for which you wish to be known.
4. Choose your platforms. Where are the best places to communicate authentically your brand’s message? Research social and real-world communication channels that make sense for your message. Execute on your plan across your chosen platforms.
5. Think long term. Building an effective personal brand takes a long time. It requires commitment and consistency. Don’t give up on your roadmap just because you’re not seeing results quickly. If you stick to your plan, you will achieve your goals over time.
So what’s your personal author brand and how are you cultivating it? We’d love to know. Share your ideas in our comments section.
*Information Resource: The wiki project of personal branding expert Dan Schawbel http://personalbrandingwiki.pbworks.com/w/page/16005465/FrontPage