Build an Author Brand for Sales and Success

On September 4, 2014, we will be hosting a webinar with Kathy Meis to talk about marketing for self-publishers and the Bublish tool. Kathy has provided a small taste of some of the topics that we’ll cover more in depth during that webinar with the guest blog post below. To register for this webinar, click here.

Note: this post was contributed by Kathy Meis

As the founder of Bublish, I have the unique opportunity to talk to new authors almost every day. The most common frustration I hear is that they have toiled away to create a quality book, only to face extreme difficulty finding readers willing to buy their work.

This is the great irony of today’s transformed book marketplace. It has never been easier to become a published author, yet never more difficult to get noticed by readers once you are. This is especially true for first-time or new authors.

One reason for this trend is that readers don’t discover or buy books they way they used to. They have an abundance of content at their fingertips, but fewer curators to guide them toward their next purchase decision. Amid this plenty, it appears they are flocking to what they know. According to extensive research by Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group, readers are 15 times more likely to buy a book if they are familiar with the author who wrote it. In other words, creating an author brand has never been more important.

Here are three tips to help you build a robust author brand that will help you sell more books:

1. Be Memorable

Brand building is about encouraging people to remember you in a particular context. As an author, this means getting readers to remember your name, that fact that you write a certain type of book and the name of the book(s). In order to create a memorable brand, you must have consistent messaging in all media. Brand building starts, of course, with an unforgettable book. Quality writing will always be an author’s best promotional and branding tool. Visual consistency, however, can also be powerful. For example, cover design. Don’t design your covers in isolation. Think strategically and choose recognizable elements that reinforce your brand across all your books. Even on your first book, choose fonts, images, and a color palette that you can use again. Consistent messaging is also important. Create a memorable tagline about the books you write and use it when talking to readers, bloggers, reviewers, etc.

2. Build Social Proof

Readers buy books written by known authors because it takes the guesswork out of their purchase decision. If a reader doesn’t recognize your name, they aren’t sure what to expect. In a crowded book marketplace filled with a wide range of quality readers are often hesitant to buy a new author’s book. Overcome this problem by building “social proof.” Solid reviews from readers, bloggers and other reviewers are a great form of social proof. Sharing samples of your work and building an engaged social following are other forms of social proof. Finally, any accolades that you can collect and share will encourage readers to take a chance on you. If you deliver a great read, they’ll be back.

3. Know Your Readers

What does this have to do with brand building? Everything. You’re don’t want to build an author brand that speaks to a general audience; you want to build an author brand that speaks directly to the type of people who will buy, read, enjoy and share your book(s) with others. This means that you need to know who they are and what they like. Research who is reading books your genre. Learn as much about them as you can. Survey your current readers. Try out different messages and see what resonates with your readers. Talk to readers every day. Social media is great for these types of conversations. If you do a good job of engaging the right readers, they will become your biggest brand advocates and help you spread the word and sell more books.

Brand building is a lot of hard work, but it’s worth the effort. Hopefully, these tips will give a basic foundation to create and grow a successful author brand.

Kathy Meis - Bublish

Kathy Meis is a professional writer, editor, ghostwriter and editorial manager with more than twenty years of experience in the media and publishing industries. She is also the founder of Bublish—a publishing technology company that offers cloud-based tools, metrics and resources to equip today’s business-savvy authors for success. Kathy and her team developed Bublish to empower “authorpreneurs” by providing a complete social marketing and digital publishing solution. Thousands of authors around the world now use Bublish to promote work and build brands. Follow us: @BublishMe, Facebook and Google+.

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