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The Branded Author by Storiad A Practical Guide to Becoming a Branded Author Through Smarter Networking, Marketing, and Publicity Part I Building Your Author Brand

www.storiad.com Š 2014 Storiad, Inc.


I. Welcome to The Branded Author by Storiad As writers, we never begrudge ourselves the time and effort needed to get our words just right. When it comes time for the business of writing, however, some head-scratching ensues: what proactive steps can we authors take to increase our book sales? The answer is Author Branding. Your Author Brand is the unique personality and identity of your writing. It sets you apart from other writers in a competitive marketplace. You are your writing; and your writing is you. This is what you’re selling. As a Branded Author, you communicate who you are as an author, why you write, how you express yourself, and what you have to say. You’re building emotional connections. You’re sharing narratives, cultivating relationships, managing expectations, and delivering on those expectations. You’re becoming a known and reliable source of your particular type of information, education, and entertainment. Your Brand’s effectiveness is measured by the reactions your name and your writing elicit. The more favorable and widespread the reactions, the more books you’ll sell. In this paper, we discuss networking, marketing, and publicity strategies. You’ll employ these strategies in creating the Author Brand you’ll need to stand apart from all the other hard-working authors out there seeking the same levels of attention and recognition for themselves and their books. Like all things of value, there’s sustained work required. Luckily, like your writing, it can be a true labor of love. Done well, the branding assets you’re building pay dividends in the form of a wider, more engaged, and enthusiastic readership base. And an engaged and enthusiastic readership base buys books. In no uncertain terms, Author Branding is a process. Alas, there are no “magic formulas” for sale here (or anywhere else, for that matter). A take on the old adage holds true: the more you put into your Author Brand, the more you get out of it. Plus it can be a creative, eye-opening experience. This paper is a practical, how-to guide for easy reading, easy reference, and easy tracking. Its objective is to help you think about your Author Brand. We hope it’ll spark even more ideas on how you can become the best Branded Author you can be.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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II. First Things First Becoming a Branded Author makes a radical difference to your writing career. The more your Author Brand is known, the more your books are read. Well-read authors tend to be happier and more prolific authors. ! Your Author Branding Goal: to sell as many books as possible. ! Your Author Branding Mission: to build multiple avenues leading to the place(s) where readers connect with you, experience your writing, and buy your books. ! Four inescapable Bookselling Facts: 1. The bookselling universe is highly competitive. 2. Book marketing and publicity budgets (of both individual authors and publishers) are finite. 3. The most tireless advocate of your books is you. 4. The successful author is the author who’s known and whose books are talked about.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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III. Attributes of the Branded Author Plans are essential. Execution is paramount. But it’s also imperative to have a clear understanding of your destination. With this mind, we pose the following question: what does the Branded Author look like? After you’ve developed and executed your branding strategy, here are the distinguishing attributes of your Author Brand: " You deliver your message clearly and passionately. You connect with your audience on an emotional level. You’re regarded as someone who can be trusted to inform, educate, and entertain your audience.

The Branded Author’s Mantra: Always be informing, educating, and entertaining.

" You elicit reviews and recommendations of your book, thereby boosting your credibility. " You motivate prospective readers to buy your book. " You encourage buyers to recommend your book to their network of friends. " You develop relationships that last into the publication of your next book (and beyond!).

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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IV. Building Your Author Branding Strategy With the above features in mind, we next outline a step-by-step Author Branding strategy. Your strategy entails developing three interconnected plans: 1. A Networking Plan; 2. A Marketing Plan; and 3. A Publicity Plan. As mentioned, your Networking, Marketing, and Publicity Plans work jointly in building your Author Brand. A simple way of thinking about this interconnectivity is illustrated in Figure 1.

Marketing"

• attract & engage your audience with compelling content"

• research your readership base "

• content reflects “who you are, how you write, why you write, what you’ve written” "

• identify relevant industry influencers" • get your marketing materials to these influencers!

• develop smart & interactive marketing materials"

Networking"

• actively market to that base"

Publicity"

Figure 1: The Interconnectivity of Your Author Branding Strategy

Important Clarification. There is often confusion surrounding the concepts of “book marketing” and “book publicity”. Book Marketing consists of two parts 1. The first part of Book Marketing is determining the nature of your audience by asking three fundamental questions: a. Who is going to read your book? The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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b. Why would your book appeal to them? c. How do you reach this audience? 2. The second part of Book Marketing consists of developing a plan to sell your book to your target audience.

Book Publicity, on the other hand, is how you go about getting yourself and your book mentioned in as many media outlets as often as possible. You want to get your book into the hands of those people in the business of reading, reviewing, recommending, and/or buying books1.

And now for the fun part. “Fun” because writing tends to be a labor of passion. Marketing and publicizing yourself and your book ought be as much fun, if not more. “More” because people are paying to read what you’ve written. And that’s a happy event indeed!

                                                                                                              1

People in the business of reading, reviewing, recommending, and/or buying books are collectively referred to as “industry influencers”.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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V. Your Networking Plan: Development & Execution Your Networking Plan addresses the quantity, quality, and relevancy of the connections you make. Having lots of people in your network is a good thing, no doubt. Having lots of people in your network engaged and curious about you and your writing is even better.

Networking Plan Development Here’s a Networking Plan outline to consider: # Time Allocation: Develop a time budget for your online and offline networking activities, i.e. how much time per week can you devote to building and engaging your network. # Connections: Join online and offline networking groups that expose you and your writing to as wide an audience as possible. # Third Party Content Discovery & Sharing: Offer value to your networks by continually finding and sharing informative, educational, and entertaining content developed by third parties. # Blogging & Original Content Creation: Blog often! Create original content to inform, educate, and entertain your network. # Network Engagement: Become a conversation starter and a reliable resource of information, education, and entertainment.

Networking Plan Execution Things to Avoid Next, we expand on the outline to provide checklists of actionable items to help you execute your Networking Plan. # Time Allocation: Develop a time budget for your online and offline networking activities, i.e. how much time per week you can devote to building and engaging your network.

Ó DO NOT wait for passive online assets to work miracles for you. Just because you build them doesn’t mean they will come. As standalone entities, your social media accounts, website, Amazon buying page, Goodreads page, and other online places are limited in their proactive marketing and publicity functions.

! Strive for a minimum of 3.5 hours/week. ! In perspective: your 3.5 hours/week averages to 30 minutes/day. The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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# Connections: Join online and offline networking groups that expose you and your writing to as wide an audience as possible. Some online and offline groups to consider joining are: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Twitter Facebook Pinterest YouTube Google+ LinkedIn Local Meetup groups Local writing groups Storiad2

# Third Party Content Discovery & Sharing: Offer value to your networks by continually finding and sharing informative, educational, and entertaining content developed by third parties. ! Research, catalogue, and share third party articles, blogs, reviews, videos, and/or images supporting who you are as a writer, why you write, and what you’ve written. ! Earn a reputation for reliability by keeping the content flow fresh and predictable. # Blogging & Original Content Creation: Blog often! Create original content to inform, educate, and entertain your network. ! Maintain a steady stream of informative, educational, and entertaining blog content. ! Generate 200-word posts every few days on topics near and dear to you. ! Some blogging platforms to consider: $ $ $ $

WordPress Blogspot Tumblr Vox Storiad, Storiad’s WordPress-based blog

! Important: Make your writing portfolio available to your network, e.g. essays, articles, reviews, plays, short stories, treatments, outlines, art, short films.

                                                                                                              2

That’s us!  

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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# Network Engagement: Become a conversation starter and a helpful resource. ! Stay involved with your network. Ask questions. Provide answers. ! Form and lead interactive discussion groups on topics you’re most knowledgeable and passionate about. ! Form and lead interactive discussion groups offering advice to emerging authors.

Networking Plan Achievements: An effective networking strategy is the foundation of an effective Author Branding campaign. From your networking efforts, you gain invaluable information about who your audience members are, what they want to read, and how best to make them happy (and paying!) readers.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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VI. Your Marketing Plan: Development & Execution Your Marketing Plan determines who your target audience members are, what interests them, and how best to reach them in the compelling and memorable ways needed to induce them to consider, buy, read, then recommend your book to others.

Marketing Plan Development Here’s a Marketing Plan outline to consider: # Time Allocation: Develop your marketing time allocation, i.e. how much time per week you can devote to marketing yourself and your book. # Budgeting: Develop the marketing budget you’ll need to produce your marketing materials. # Target Audience Determination: Define and quantify your book reading, reviewing, and buying audience. There are two target groups: 1) the general reading public, and 2) industry influencers. # Marketing Materials: Develop compelling, informative, interactive, and entertaining marketing materials related to you and your book. Think in terms of high-quality “print”, visual, audio, and interactive media. # Marketing Material Packaging: Aggregate your marketing materials on an interactive platform to make it easy for your audience to access, learn, interact with, and share information about you and your book. # Marketing Material Distribution: Make your interactive marketing platform readily available to your network for easy viewing, reading, and sharing.

Marketing Plan Execution Next, we expand on the outline to provide checklists of actionable items to help you execute your Marketing Plan. # Time Allocation: Develop your marketing time allocation, i.e. how much time per week you can devote to marketing yourself and your book. ! Strive for a minimum of 2 hours/week. ! In perspective: Your 2 hours/week averages to roughly 15 minutes/day.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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# Budgeting: Develop the marketing budget you’ll need to produce your marketing materials (see “Marketing Materials” below). # Target Audience Determination: Define and quantify your book reading, reviewing, and buying audience. There are two target groups: 1) the general reading public, and 2) industry influencers. ! Who are the people who’ll want to read, review, recommend, and/or buy your book? $ General reading public $ Industry influencers ! ! ! !

How many of these people are there? Where can they be found? What are the most compelling and informative ways to reach each group? Research how best to employ an SEO strategy3 to ensure you and your book stand out in Web searches. ! Create a simple spreadsheet4 to track your research and outreach efforts. ! Note: Even if your publisher provides you access to their professional networks, the above still apply. # Marketing Materials: Develop compelling, informative, interactive, and entertaining marketing materials related to you and your book. Think in terms of high-quality “print”, visual, audio, and interactive media. ! Digital eBrochures or eFlyers (this is the “print” Reminder: your Mission is to build component) multiple avenues leading to the ! Sample chapters of your place(s) where readers can connect book in digital format with you, experience your writing, and ! Book trailer buy your books. ! Interactive book review ! Podcasts ! Author readings/lectures (video) ! Third party reviews of your book

                                                                                                              3

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. (Via Wikipedia) 4 See Appendix A for a sample Branded Author contact spreadsheet.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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# Marketing Material Packaging: Package (aggregate) your marketing materials on an interactive marketing platform to make it easy for your audience to access, learn, interact with, and share information about you and your book. Here are some aggregating platforms to consider. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Author’s website Author’s blog Publisher’s website YouTube5 Goodreads Netgalley Authonomy Storiad

# Marketing Material Distribution: Make your interactive marketing platform readily available to your network for easy viewing, reading, and sharing. ! Your marketing platform should be an integral (and natural) part of the Branded Author’s “inform, educate, and entertain” mantra. ! Having a compelling marketing platform obviates the need for the “hard sell”. Marketing Plan Achievements: At this juncture, you understand who your audience members are, and what they’re interested in reading. From this knowledge, you’ve created your relevant marketing materials. They tell your story engagingly. And, of course, your materials are nicely packaged and easily accessed by your target audience.

                                                                                                              5

Develop and market a YouTube channel for all your marketing videos.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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VII. Your Publicity Plan: Development & Execution Your Publicity Plan outlines how you get your book into the hands (or onto the screens) of those industry influencers, defined as those people in the business of reading, reviewing, recommending, and/or buying books. Your marketing materials should convince them to read, review, recommend, and/or buy your book. This is the hallmark of a well-executed publicity plan.

Publicity Plan Development Here’s a Publicity Plan outline to consider: # Time Allocation: Develop your publicity time allocation, i.e. how much time per week you can devote to connecting and interacting with industry influencers.

Things to Avoid Ó DO NOT rely unduly on automated systems (as found on some social network sites for, say, $20-a-pop) to promote your targeted ad. There are no short-cuts in an effective social media strategy.

# Budgeting: Develop the publicity budget you’ll need to distribute your marketing materials (see “Outreach” below).

# Outreach: Get your marketing materials into the hands (or onto the screens) of those industry influencers identified through your marketing research. # Tracking: Track the effectiveness of your publicity campaign.

Publicity Plan Execution Next, we expand on the outline to provide checklists of actionable items to help you execute your Publicity Plan.

# Time Allocation: Develop your publicity time allocation, i.e. how much time you can devote per week to connecting and interacting with industry influencers. ! Strive for a minimum of 2 hours/week. ! In perspective: Your 2 hours/week averages to roughly 15 minutes/day.6

                                                                                                              6

The total suggested time commitment for your networking, marketing & publicity activities is 7.5 hours/week.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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# Budgeting: Develop the publicity budget you’ll need to distribute your marketing materials (see “Outreach” below). # Outreach: Get your marketing materials into the hands (or onto the screens) of those industry influencers identified through your marketing research. ! Research review: You have identified relevant industry influencers, what interests them, and how best to reach them in the compelling and memorable ways needed to induce them to read, review, recommend, and/or buy your book. ! Use interactive publicity campaign platforms to avoid the costs and inefficiencies of traditional, print-oriented media press kits7. ! Follow-up with your contacts. Ask for feedback. Make the appropriate adjustment to your Publicity Plan. ! Don’t be shy! Ask for connections and referrals. ! DO NOT underestimate the importance of favorable reviews. The right review, by the right media outlet, can have profound effects on your Author Brand and your book sales. # Tracking: Track the effectiveness of your publicity campaign. ! Use your tracking spreadsheet to stay organized. ! Make adjustments to your publicity plan from the new information you gain.

Publicity Plan Achievements: With your Publicity Plan, you’ve targeted relevant industry influencers with your marketing material. You’ve made it easy for them to learn who you are, why you write, how you write, and what you’ve written. You’ve made a compelling argument for them to consider, read, review, recommend, and/or buy your book. The more industry influencer connections you gain, the stronger your Author Brand becomes.

                                                                                                              7

Traditional press kits involve printing glossy brochures, burning your book onto a CD-ROM, and mailing the individual packets.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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VIII. A Word on Your Author Brand Assets As a Branded Author, you’re building assets. Individually, your assets are impressive. Working together, however, they generate a larger, memorably unique, more powerful asset, namely, you. Here are your assets 1. Your Book % Your ultimate money-maker.

A Friendly Reminder!

2. Your Network % An active and engaged network is a receptive audience. A receptive audience is interested in what you have to offer. Your network is the foundation of your marketing and publicity assets.

Your Brand’s effectiveness is measured by the reactions your name and your writing elicit. The more favorable and widespread the reactions, the more books you’ll sell.

3. Your Marketing Materials % You’ve created compelling and memorable ways for people to learn more about you and your book through written, audio and visual media. 4. Your Publicity Package % Your platform is your packaging. Create a one-stop shop for everything related to you and your book. Make it easy for people to talk about you and your book. Working together, these four assets comprise your Author Brand by conveying the story about who you are as an author, why you write, how you express yourself, and what you have to say. *

“There is a separate public for every picture, and for every book.” ~ John Ruskin

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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IX. Summing Up Your Author Brand is the unique personality and identity of your writing that sets it apart from other writers in a competitive marketplace. You are your writing and your writing is you. This is what you’re selling. The branding assets you’re building with your Networking, Marketing and Publicity Plans pay dividends in the form of a wider, more engaged, and enthusiastic readership base. And an engaged and enthusiastic readership base buys books. Your interconnected Networking, Marketing, and Publicity Plans create multiple avenues leading to your book as shown below:

Figure 2: Avenues to Book Sales

All roads lead to the Rome that is your book.

Happy Author Branding, The Storiad Team The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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Storiad develops next-generation author and book discovery solutions via proprietary software, databases, and processes. We offer authors, publishers, and other print media professionals the stuff they need to make their business of bookselling smarter, faster, and more cost-effective. If you’re serious about selling books, you’ll love what we have to offer. Visit www.storiad.com to learn more8.

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For an overview of how Storiad helps Authors build and manage their Author Brands, see Appendix B.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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Appendix A Organizing Your Research & Contacts A simple Excel spreadsheet like the one in Figure 3 can help you organize and track your outreach efforts with reviewers, bloggers, eMags, writing groups, bookstores, and anyone else in the business of reading, reviewing, recommending, and/or buying books.

Figure 3: Branded Author Contact Sheet

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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Appendix B The Branded Author on Storiad We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the various networking, marketing, and publicity features Storiad offers to help you become an even more effective Branded Author. On Storiad, you’ll find: # Networking features for you to develop, coordinate, and manage your professional writing connections. # Marketing features for you to package your written, audio, and visual marketing materials into an informative, memorable, and interactive platform. # Publicity features for you to reach your targeted industry influencers. In particular, you’ll have access to Storiad’s proprietary ePressKit™, the traditional press kit made smart, modern, viral. Figure 4 graphically represents the Storiad Branding Platform.

Figure 4: The Storiad Author Branding Platform

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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Figure 5 illustrates some of the features available on the Storiad Branding Platform.

Figure 5: The Storiad Branding Platform

On Storiad, you’ll find the smart and effective tools you’ll need as you develop and execute your Author Branding strategy. Visit www.storiad.com to learn lots more.

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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Appendix C Additional Resources Here are a few resource links (needless to say, not exhaustive!) for those looking for additional information Social Media for Writers http://www.livehacked.com/blogging-business/social-media/ YouTube Marketing http://www.slideshare.net/HeatherHart/youtube-strategies-for-authors SEO Strategies http://www.networksolutions.com/education/seo-strategy/ Author Branding http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/06/creating-an-author-brand-to-boost-yourplatform/ Book Marketing http://www.authormedia.com/89-book-marketing-ideas-that-will-change-your-life/ Book Publicity http://www.pw.org/content/book_publicity?cmnt_all=1 Book Trailers http://www.crimsonriverproductions.com/ Interactive Book Reviews http://bookreviewtv.tumblr.com/ Storiad Newsletter for Updates on Author Branding http://storiad.com/

The Branded Author by Storiad Part I: Building Your Author Brand © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

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www.storiad.com © 2014 Storiad, Inc.

The Branded Author by Storiad - Part I  

Storiad develops next-generation author and book discovery solutions via proprietary software, databases, and frameworks. We offer authors,...

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