Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Building An Author Brand -- please weigh in...

I am learning so much and began to do research on what it means to build an author brand. Is it our books? Is it our name? I tend to think the latter. Anyway, my colleague Amy recently landed her first contract (hurray, Amy!) and wrote about her marketing efforts in this great post It really got me thinking.
I'm going to list a few of my thoughts and hope you will weigh in on any other ideas that you might have regarding this concept.
ONE: start a blog and/or website. Blogging is free, fun and relatively easy. This seemed like an obvious first step for me...was it yours? I've learned that you really should have your meta tag populated and submit your blog to search engines like Google, Yahoo and Technorati. If you own a website, run it through websitegrader.com it's free, quick and super easy! Website grader gives you a report on how your website ranks amongst competitors.

TWO: Share the love: the best part of blogging is being part of this amazing community of writers. Be generous. Sign up as a follower on other sites that catch your interest. Make helpful comments. Respond to those who visit your blog. Link to other blogs in your posts. Basically, participate in the discussion.

THREE: Be authentic.

FOUR: Start compiling the mother of all mailing lists. This great idea came from this post I saw over at Buried In The Slush Pile. The editor there says "this (list) should make that wedding invitation list...look like a quickly jotted grocery list." The point here really the same as the one above...make connections....pay attention to the people around you.
So, that's my start. What would you add?


LexiconLuvr said...

I don't have any advice to add but I'd like to say that I like #3 an awful lot. =]

Jeannie Campbell said...

i did the same...started with the blog. then i tried to think of what i had to offer that was different, fresh, appealing...and capitalized on that (which happened to be my psychology degree). i think this should ideally generate from whatever it is you are passionate about. i loved blogs that had a weekly "column" so to speak...(think mary demuth's "free critique per week" or nathan bransford's "this week in publishing"). i started treatment tuesday and thursday therapeutic thought...connecting both to writing. and it's taking off! but this is just what one person did. i'm sure there are so many other ways to develop your brand and marketability (is that a word?) :) good luck!

Mary Jane said...

What exactly would the mailing list be used for? Is it an e list or snail mail list? Anyone?

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Great list, Tess! I would only add that discussion boards, like Verla Kay or the SCBWI board, are great places to network. You can set up a signature on all your posts, that includes your blog, your website, etc. You can also set your user photo to be your book cover (someday!). I've visited a lot of people's blogs after reading their particularly nice or well-thought out post. Some interested me enough that I still follow them.

Tess said...

Ooo, some really great comments!'

MaryJane - I was thinking the list would be for release information. What do others think?

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

I've read two marketing books this week and both say to keep mailing lists in both e-form and snail mail. The email list is a great, free way to let people know about all the small bits of news you might have: press releases, online interviews, etc. The snail mail list is for sending out the release announcement postcards, invitations to the book launch, etc.

lucent1 said...

Authenticity being the most important, I think.

Crystal said...

I like this list, Tess, and can't think of too much else to add just yet. My first thought, too, was to start a blog, which I did recently. I went with the blog, mainly because I'm unpublished right now, blogging is FREE, and it's SO MUCH FUN, meeting & connecting with other like-minded writers, like yourself. Thanks for that tip about submitting the blog to search engines. I'm going to jump on that right away!

Oh yes, thanks also for stopping by my blog. When I came here and read that snippet on your blog, I realized it sounded VERY familiar. Then I remembered it was from Miss Snark's First Victim's Secret AGent contest back in February, the same time I entered (I was no. 50)! I also remembered that your entry was one of the ones that I had liked best because of its authentic voice. So I'm glad to see you're getting requests for this manuscript! I think you'll get an agent very, very soon!