In the Limelight
Lights! Camera! Action! A bright light blinds you; yes, you The Author are in the spotlight! You need to let people know who and what you are. Time to work on your Author Brand and your Author Platform.
Perhaps I should define these two very important elements for you.
Author Brand — The Author Brand is a trademark of the author in the genre they are writing in. It’s a promise to readers that they will receive consistency from the Author, a way to immediately identify who the author is and what they write. It’s your tagline, logo, font type, types of covers used for your books. Your goals, the way you see the world; things that tell a reader who and what you are. Everything that identifies you as the author. This also includes your author website and book(s) website. This also means select one name to identify yourself with. If you write strictly under a pen name, any posts you make on blogs or send out in email lists better be the name you write under. Don’t confuse the readers. This also applies to Social Media like Facebook and Twitter.
Author Platform — The Author Platform is the way you connect with your readers. Web sites, email lists, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs.
You need to select a main genre for your writing, from that your Author Brand will follow. It’s your unique style of telling a story, the covers of your books, short stories you write. This can be applied to your author website as well. The images you use, what you post there, how the site looks. Just remember, the website should be easy to read for everyone. Too much multimedia, or backgrounds with hard to read text will turn people off. If you can afford it, have some design the site for you; just make sure you give the designer plenty of input on how you want it to look. The Author Brand will stay with you throughout your writing and publishing life, so make sure you get it right the first time. Think of it as a job interview with potential readers: Make a great first impression so they will remember you.
Now, if you feel a desire to write in a different genre: say you started in Contemporary and decide to write Horror, he switch can be made, but you will have to do some tweaking and maybe write under a pen name. Don’t confuse your loyal following by suddenly pulling the rug out from under them.
Now that you have your Author Brand, you need to let your readers and potential readers know you are alive.
Websites: Yes, you need a website to help promote yourself and your work. If you can’t afford hosting, There are two good places for free: Weebly and Wix. Since you are an author, the content on your site should be easy to read. Don’t use strange backgrounds and weird fonts. Don’t go overboard with videos and other multimedia. Create a logo that defines who you are and what you write. Something readers would recognize and immediately associate with you. Create a Tagline, against something readers would see and know it is you.
Facebook: Create and author page and a page for your books. Again, be consistent with the appearance of the images for the profile and the cover photo. Keep them up to day with what you are working on, any special events or giveaways, excerpts, cover reveals and release dates.
Twitter: Another great way to keep readers informed. Again, be consistent with the images you use.
Email List: Another way to keep readers up to date with what you are doing across your various pages and sites.
Blogs: A blog is a great way to get the word out about you and your work. Another thing to keep in mind is hosting blog tours for other authors. More often than not, they will reciprocate when it’s time for you to promote your work. Great for cover reveals excerpts and free short stories connected to your book.
Yes, I seem to be stressing consistency throughout this article, because it is important. The use of images, and taglines and even a logo help readers identify you and your work. Think of all the brands you recognize by a logo or a slogan. The same applies to you, the author.
Pinterest: Sign up for it, set up categories for your work and the work of other authors that you like.
A couple of tips: Do not get involved in flame wars on your author pages or book pages. If you have something to say, say it in a well-thought out article for your blog. Don’t develop a negative image because of something you posted in response to another person. Yes, there are trolls out there: My advice — ignore them, block them you have to. Don’t Feed the Trolls! They love the attention you give them and that takes away from you the author. Don’t private message people to like your pages. Private messages should be for communicating with others, not a one time deal.
I’ve given you a lot to think about, but this is to help you grow your presence on the web.
May the words ever flow!