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Brand management

Book Promotion, Brand management, Featured, Marketing, Uncategorized, Writing Life


May 23, 2016

Many readers of this blog are also writers. And like my fellow writers, friends recommend books on how I can be a better writer, how I can write [fill in genre here], how to publish and how to sell books. You can imagine my skepticism when a respected friend recommended How To Sell A Crapload of Books. Yeah, I thought. I know how to sell a crapload of books. Write a book and give it a title of How To Sell A Crapload of Books.

To be polite, I accepted the book. I expected to scan the table of contents, skim a couple of chapters and thank my friend for his thoughtfulness. Instead I found a well-written book that, while not offering many new revelations on book selling/promotion/author branding, made cogent arguments for building an author brand, leveraging connections you didn’t know you had and creating an executable promotional plan.

Vandehey and Aryal use humor to lay down some principles: “the PR you can afford is probably useless.” Rather than name everything a debut writer can’t possibly do, they offer things that worked for other writers whose careers is where ours are. If you write mysteries, consider a book launch that is a scavenger hunt, especially if you can launch your book where the action takes place. Leverage where you live, because more people know you where you live than across the country in huge cities. They advise not getting your heart set about book reviews by the New York Times in favor of concentrating on wooing your local newspapers. The louder the local buzz, the more likely you can extend outward in concentric circles to broaden your audience.

Because so much of life takes place online today, Vandehey and Aryal demand a writer learn how to use social media. That means more than a Facebook page where you do nothing except flog your books. Hint: This doesn’t work and pisses off potential book buyers. Learn what each platform can do for you. Twitter is great for reaching more potential buyers than most other outlets. Facebook is great for building your brand. Know the difference. Don’t waste time on social media networks or social media applications if your readership doesn’t hang out there. I know most of my readers have no clue what Instagram or Snapchat do. I don’t hang out there, but I know I’ll engage in great conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and LinkedIn. Yes, even LinkedIn.

The authors share ten secrets for building an author platform. Rather like a 12-step program. the secrets walk a writer through suggestions they have tested and know work.

Regardless of whether you read this book, or one of the countless other books in print about book selling/promotion/author branding, first decide what your goals for writing and publishing your book really are. If you are a “friends and family” writer (i.e., most of your sales will be to friends and family and not to strangers), set you expectations accordingly. That decision will drive how much effort you want to put into building an author platform. If you want to rise beyond the friends and family level, determine how much time and effort you can devote to building that platform. Once the decision is in the bag, begin executing it. Consistently. Daily. Diligently.

What have your learned about bookselling that you can share with other writers?


 Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please follow me on my website, on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.
Blogs, Brand management, Facebook, Marketing, Twitter, Web Sites, YouTube

Tweets, Blogs and Videos

May 3, 2010

I’ve been reading a lot lately about using social media to create brand awareness. As writers, we are the brand. And so are our books.

Blogs and web sites are good starting points, but you cannot stop there. Yes, you have to have a web site when you have a book. Yes, you have to have a blog when you are getting ready to have a book. Once you have the book, you need to look at different ways of getting the message out.

  • Facebook: It’s no longer enough for you to have a presence on Facebook; your book also needs its own fan page. Amazing how many there are out there.
  • YouTube: Book trailers are growing in popularity — and in inanity. (But that’s another posting, perhaps). Book trailers need to be everywhere: a link on your blog, another link on your web site, a Facebook link, etc. They need to go viral to be effective.
  • Twitter: Not the Twitter of “I got so drunk last night I puked. Oh, here’s a photo of me and the toilet.” The Twitter of sharing waaaay too much information is also a brand management tool. Attract a group of followers by being a follower. Post a tweet about something you are doing — like speaking or book signing. Ask your followers to re-tweet. Doesn’t take long for tweets to go viral too.

    Ah, I hear the cries of “This is way too much work.” It is a lot of work, but if you want to be successful as a writer, you need to consider every possible angle. More and more of the big publishing houses are limiting the amount of marketing they will do for a new writer. Maybe 6 weeks of hype, then you are on your own.

    Might as well practice now while there is still time.

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