Pose for the paparazzi. Autograph your books.
Write like a dream, promote like a rock star.
Fame and fortune are yours!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A new way to think about author branding

When I first started writing books, author branding was the last thing on my mind. I was barely thinking marketing. I was just trying to get book deals. There was no career development, no thoughtfulness about branding my work. As a result of that kind of undisciplined thinking, I published what looks on the surface to be 3 distinctly different books:
Sister Feelgood – 365 days of health and fitness tips
Sensual Celibacy – the sexy woman’s guide to using abstinence
Black-Eyed Peas for the Soul – 1st person stories of inspiration and hope

Like matter, author marketing can exhibit both particle and wave properties, to loosely paraphrase a concept from quantum mechanics (and I mean loosely). Particles appear to be separate from one another, but that’s not true. It’s hard to see, but all particles are actually part of the greater whole, the wave.

You, writing star, are that wave. Your challenge, then, is to stamp all your content with your unique personality, your vision, your mission – in the look and feel of your books and CD cases, the dynamism of your marketing campaigns, the content of your speeches.

You may need an objective eye to help you clearly see what’s been staring at you in the mirror all your life.  Ask your friends or a life coach,
1. When you look at me, what do you see?
2. What kind of personality do I have?
3. When you talk to me, what do I like to talk about? What do I sound like?
4. What feeling do you get from me?

Consistent design in book covers is one way to start developing your author brand. Even using the same font or text treatment will help. Because my book covers are all so different looking, it’s hard to see the underlying wave, but it’s there: self-help, motivation, inspiration.

Note to self-publishers: successful author brands have this wave feeling. Stephen King does horror (books, movies, short stories), Danielle Steel romance (novels, perfume), Walter Mosley urban crime (and sometimes urban sci fi), Deepak Chopra spirituality.

By the way, have you visited Deepak’s website? It feels like a spiritual spa. Wonderful author branding and wave marketing.

In reverse is the already expertly branded rapper Jay-Z who publishes a new book that looks at culture through the lens of his rap tunes. Comedienne Chelsea Handler’s books reflect her successful brand of comedy.

The beauty of wave marketing is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, which is all-important to self-publishers. And it should be fun because it's all about you! After all my years in publishing I’m finally getting what my brand is, and my first particle out of the wave that is moi is this humble blog, The Celebrity Editor. I'm still learning, and will pass on what I learn about this fascinating topic to you.

Particle vs. wave marketing factors into your marketing mindset. It's all about who you are as a person and a professional.

Look, you’re going to have to spend money anyway on layout, design, marketing materials, and a website. Build your author brand by creating a common visual theme or idea that ties them all together. That’s a good start. The particles don’t have to be perfectly matchy matchy, but they should all feel like they came from the same person, the wave.

Donna Marie


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