There’s just something about earning the title of “author” that is extraordinarily satisfying. Writing a book is undoubtedly a huge accomplishment that takes a great amount of time and dedication, and the writing, editing, and publishing processes aren’t without challenges. The end result, though, is not only rewarding… it has the potential to propel you and your business to the next level.
What many authors might not realize is that developing their own author brand is as important as achieving the title itself. Your brand is what will make prospective readers (and customers!) pick you out of a sea of competition; in other words, it’s what sets you apart from the rest. So, how do you go about building your brand?
1. Pinpoint Your Unique Strengths
What makes you different from others in your space? Maybe it’s your credentials or a fresh approach to your trade. Perhaps it’s your knack for customer service and client retention, or maybe it’s your uncanny ability to connect with others through speaking or writing. Start with asking yourself why you wrote a book in the first place; there was clearly something you felt you could add to the market that was missing before. Identify what that thing is, and use it as the foundation for developing or enhancing your author/expert brand.
2. Identify Your Readers
You’ve identified what sets you apart, which makes the next step much easier: seeking out your readers! Who is the audience for your book? You can do a bit of detective work by checking out what types of readers seem to be gravitating toward other books in your genre. Is what you’ve written about most helpful for entrepreneurs? For young professionals? For C-level executives? By identifying who your reader is, you will know where to go to find them, which leads us to our next step.
3. Get Social
Once you’ve zeroed in on your reader, it’s time to connect! Not surprisingly, one of the best ways to do so is through social media. Many authors become overwhelmed at the thought of managing multiple platforms and growing their audience on all of them. No need to do that, especially not in the beginning. Focusing on just one platform will be your best bet. To find the social media platform that is the best fit for your brand, think about where your reader is most likely to be. If your book and brand are serious business books, Instagram might not be the best choice, but LinkedIn will connect you with loyal followers. If young professionals are your target readers, Instagram could be a better fit. Mature readers? Consider Facebook.
Make sure to let your existing network of friends, family, colleagues, and connections know about your platform, to “friend” or connect with them on it, and most importantly: to engage. Offering steady and helpful content for your followers and then actually engaging with them about it is an early recipe for long-term social media success.
4. Style Your Brand Consistently
Early on, it’ll be beneficial for you to develop a style to go along with your brand. Picture your favorite brands: the colors and fonts used, possible logos, the brand’s “voice” – all things that make it easy to identify your favorite brand amongst others. You’ll want to do the same for your brand. Think about the colors and fonts used on your book cover or for your business logo, and how you can incorporate them into consistent branding. Make sure to apply the branding across the board: from your book to your email communication to your social media accounts and beyond. Not only will this help your brand to be memorable, but it will also come across as more professional and polished.
5. Outsource Where Needed
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember: you are an expert in your field and on the topic of your book, but nobody is an expert at everything! It will ultimately benefit your brand, business, and book to outsource when necessary. Need help designing a logo? Getting your social media pages going? Allocating budget? Managing the administrative tasks and timelines of your business? Partner with experts in these areas who are aligned with your goals, and watch your vision, savvy, and hard work take you further than you could have imagined!