Building Your Author Brand: Action Steps to Try

Yep, I'm still at it--building my author brand. After 37 years of freelancing I thought I had done this. but I was wrong. Although many people in my community recognize my name, I need to widen my readership, and strengthen my brand. You may have a similar goal.

Writing a book can be easier than building your brand. For one thing, building a brand can take years. The goal is to move beyond name recognition. You want people to associate your name with the type of books you write--mystery, romance, travel, cookbooks--whatever your specialty may be.

Building your brand takes money. When you set aside funds to build your brand you're investing in yourself. Instead of waiting for something to happen, you can make things happen. These steps will help you build your brand. Although the results can be immediate, they usually aren't and, like baking bread, yo have to wait for the marketing yeast to rise.

Here are some steps to hasten the rising.

Freshen your business card. Hiring a graphic designer is worth the money. My designer chose colors that blend with the covers of my latest books. Under my name, on the second line, it says "Health and Wellness Writer." You may list your genre or a slogan that represents your work.

Contact independent book stores. I signed with a hybrid publisher, also an independent publisher and member of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association (MIBA). I looked up the addresses of Minnesota MIBA book stores, and wrote them. Even if this doesn't generate a sale, at least the store has me on its radar screen.

Get your name "out there." Are you speaking at an author event or conference? Write a letter to the editor, inviting people to attend the event. The editor of this page forwarded my letter to the articles editor. I hope to see it in the newspaper soon.

Write for free. After I discovered a local magazine, I contacted the owner and offered to write an article for free. She gave me the topic, published the article, and put my photo on the cover. The article received so many comments that the owner asked me to write another. She is going to publish the covers of my latest books with the article.

Post on Twitter. According to my publisher, Twitter is the way to get name recognition these days. I post on Twitter daily and it seems to be working. Dozens of people are following me and I'm following them. There is a numerical component to these followers. Once you get 50 followers something happens, and your name appears on the Internet more often.

Use press kit inserts. After I finished creating a press kit, I posted the inserts on my website. I plan to use the "About the Author" insert as a separate marketing piece. If you don't have an author fact sheet, create one now. You never know when it will come in handy.

Hire an Internet expert. I paid $49 to join a social network marketing service that puts my name on a variety of social media. The subscription lasts a year and has already generated interest in my books. Subscribing to the service saves me time, and I'm using this time to write a new book.

Taking all of these action steps can have an impact on book sales. Writing is fun and, as I'm discovering, building a brand can be fun too.