DEALING WITH YOUR BRAND
When I was first starting out as an indie author, I didn't know a bunch of stuff about marketing, about branding yourself, or any of that. Some of you have been with me since the beginning, so you know some of the messes I made that I'm still trying to clean up and move past it. One of the reasons I keep at the blog, keep giving this kind of advice is because when I started out in 2005, there wasn't anything like KDP or indie authors. You went through a indie press, but you didn't have the control and responsibility that you do now. On top of that, a lot of the publishing world was very much closed off to those who weren't traditionally published. I'm not absolving myself of blame here, I could have and should have done a ton more research, but I am trying to rectify that by giving you all my own pieces of advice and snippets that I've picked up along my journey.
One of the big things you'll hear talked about is your brand. I didn't really understand it back then, but I have a better grasp in it now. My books are published under the Bug Books label and that makes up my brand. The logo above is on all the spines of my paperbacks and included in all the official documentation that goes with promotion. It's a way for people to recognise me not just by my author photo, but by the little purple bug that adorns my stuff. It was something that took me a while to learn and perfect, so I'm going to give you my top five tips on how to deal with your own brand and make it work for you.
#1 - IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY
While this falls under the After Process series, it's never really too early to start working on your brand. It's not just about a logo and a cool name, but it's about what it represents. For example, people know that Bug Books is linked to Joey Paul who is a young adult author. That's just the basics, but it's enough that when people see the symbol or hear my name mentioned, they will link of the logo. I am still very much a small fish, I'm not talking about just anyone on the street, but people in circles who know of my work. And you can start doing that work whenever you're ready to. It can be as you're gearing up to your first release, or it can even be way back when you start creating your own platform and building your audience. The idea is for people to associate what you write with you and your brand.
#2 - MAKE SURE IT FITS YOUR GENRE
A lot of writers will stick to one genre and will therefore have a different brand for each one. That means the whole works from name, logo and publishing stance. I personally haven't done that. While I started out writing paranormal/mystery, I have since branched out with my first dystopian trilogy coming this year and my fort sci-fi/crime book last year. Now this is a personal choice, I figure because all my books fall under the Young Adult header, it's okay to be having a wide array of genres. Not everyone will agree with me, but again, it's something you have to decide for yourself. However, if you're writing two completely different genres, like say children's books, and erotica, then I would definitely recommend keeping the brands, names and spaces completely different. I don't think I need to explain further. Just be sure of what you're doing and make sure it matches the genre you plan to be in.
#3 - TARGETED MARKETING WORKS
This is where things like Storiad come into play. If you don't know, it's a marketing platform that allows you to connect with thousands of readers, bloggers, other authors and the rest. It also will easily walk you through making press kits and a marketing plan for each novel. And they are highly detailed and a god send when it comes to being a newbie without really knowing what you need to be getting done. It's something I'm pretty new to, but I adore it completely. the way they have everything set up as easy to use will help you work out who to target and what kind of things to do to engage with them, and your brand comes into this, because once you find that sweet spot of people to engage on your author platform, the marketing wail be so much easier.
#4 - USE PROFESSIONAL GRAPHICS
When I first started out, I made a lot of my own graphics. I won't bore you with how terrible they were, and thankfully most of them have been purged from both the blog and the internet, which is a good thing. But if you want a place that will help you make some good, professional graphics then look no further than Canva which is free to a point. I've used them extensively for everything from my teasers, to blog headers and cover reveal posts. I also use Book Brush, which isn't free, but allows you to have a way to put your covers in different settings and have them look 3D and smart. I use that for the headers on my social media. I can't recommend it enough.
AND FINALLY, #5 - GIVE YOURSELF SOME BREATHING ROOM
While it may feel like this is all a whole lot of stuff that you need to get done right now, and it is a lot, trust me I know, allow yourself the time to start small and build up to the big things. While it may seem like doing this that and the other is a guaranteed way to make a name for yourself, it will take time. It's okay to start small and work up to the big things. No one is going to open a twitter account on a Monday and wake up on a Tuesday with over a thousand followers and that applies to all social media. You will have to work on building your brand and it will be a long, hard, process, but you can breathe too. It's okay to take your time.
So those are my five tips on dealing with your brand. Take it slow, but be aware that your image counts for something. Make sure that you use a good photo for your author picture. Make sure you present yourself as you want to be seen. And overall, make sure you take care of you too. Because that matters as well. Good luck!
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