If you want to give your books the best shot of selling, you must give conscious effort to establishing your author brand.
A strong presence helps an author or any online entrepreneur in the same way branding helps companies. An author brand helps you establish a name people recognize and trust, which helps you sell more books.
Your author brand should be a combination of your personality, passion, and the type of work you (want to) write, edit, or create. If you haven’t already, I cannot recommend enough that you set aside some time to brainstorm what you want to be known for as an author.
This might include a certain logo, tagline, and colors among all the places you hang out as an author online. Then, as you build your audience of people who love what you write, they’ll more easily recognize you when your name, profile picture, or logo appears.
Do you want to have a humorous tone? Do you want to be known as a medical expert? Do you want to be known for your big caring heart? You’ll want to clarify what the most important things are you’re trying to exude as an author--and make them known everywhere.
Pieces of who you are as an author can be found all over the internet. Your author website, your social media profiles, your amazon author central page (this is a big one many self-publishing authors miss), your email signature, comments you leave on blog posts, and so on. All of these build your digital footprint, and if you’re an author, they’re also part of your author brand.
Even in person, if you’re networking at a conference, have business cards or book signings, these are all opportunities for you to create and share your author brand. Having the same logo, colors, tagline, job title, and so on creates consistency so people know what to expect.
Let’s pretend your latest book is a book about vegetarian recipes. You are trying to build a fanbase of people who value or are curious about being a vegetarian. Someone sees your book recommended online, but doesn’t buy it quite yet. They’ve never heard of you, after all.
Then they see your name pop up on somewhere randomly online and click to learn more. They know they’ve heard of you before, and maybe they want to learn a little more about you before spending money on your book. Then they come across a picture of you competing in a chicken wing eating contest! So long potential fan! Vegetarians don’t buy books from people who gorge on chicken wings.
That is just one example of many where authors lose potential fans (and book sales) by failing to pay attention to their branding online.
So if you haven’t paid much attention to your author brand or what the traces of you across the internet say, it’s time to take a look.
Get a clear idea of:
Then it’s time to take an objective review. What does your website say about you? What does your bio on all your book sales pages say about you? What does your Amazon author page say about you? What do your social media profiles and pages say about you? You should aim for a consistent image on all of your online platforms.Do they say that you’re a serious writer, or that you’re an amateur fiddling with this writing thing on the side?
Writing more than one book about a specific topic can help build your brand too. If you write several books related to saving and investing money, this can help build your brand as an expert in the personal finance field.
Or are you an author of vampire romance novels? Then make sure your bio has the tone of what vampire romance readers would expect.Writing several books around a certain theme can help build your name as someone those fans begin to recognize, like, and trust.
An editor can help authors develop a stronger author brand because editors specialize in consistency and details. They also are gifted in putting themselves in the reader's’ shoes to give a more objective perspective on what the reader wants and expects.
If you begin working with a new editor, or you have a trusty editor teammate already, make sure your author brand is part of your conversations. Then an editor can more easily identify those glaring inconsistencies that your readers will notice, but you’re blind to (see chicken wing example above).
Sticking with the same editor (if she’s great) through your series of books can be incredibly helpful because then you don’t have to re-explain what your brand/values/passions/tagline/themes are over and over again. Once you find an editor who knows what you do, knows your target audience, and can help improve your craft, the marketing part of your author job will get that much easier.
That’s what happened when I found my editor from Keep Calm Write On . Val started as my book editor, and now is the editor for my blog kindlepreneur.com , too. She helps me keep my author and online business brand consistent everywhere my work appears.So don’t be afraid to ask if an editor can review your website, your author and book pages on Amazon, or your social media pages. Of course, you shouldn’t expect this to be pro bono, but the cost should bring a great ROI by strengthening your author brand.
Both publishing houses and self-publishers have a vested interest in controlling the costs of book production. Although artwork -- and by that I mean photos, illustrations, line drawings, charts, and graphs -- adds to the value of a book, it also can add significant time and cost. Why is that? Here are the biggest drivers:
What good timing you have! For my book, I went through Lightning Source because the quality is said to be better, you can set your discount rates (good if you want to be in bookstores), and I am not a fan of Amazon as a company.
Things did not go as smoothly at LS as I had expected. It took three proofs before we were satisfied that the print quality was going to be all right. We have some shaded boxes, and the shading was uneven. Apparently our proof was the last book off the press before they changed the ink (seriously). I was not impressed. The cover and paper were very good though.
Over Christmas we learned that Amazon was taking longer and longer to get our books to customers. Cathy Davis reported having to wait 3 weeks! Then they started saying our book was out of stock. We finally decided it was in our best interest to work with CreateSpace and LS at the same time. I wasn't thrilled with that because, if LS has print quality issues, what is CS going to do? Most people order from Amazon and therefore the books would be coming from CS. And I don't want my readers getting crummy-looking books. But, I was over a barrel, so I signed up for CS.
Turns out the print quality at CS was better than at LS and we had nothing to worry about there. It is clear to someone who is really looking closely that the binding is not as good, and the color match on the cover isn't exact, but only we would notice that. The paper is a little creamier than I would have wanted, but I prefer it to the stark white that is the other option from CS. LS's paper is a very pleasant light cream; CS's is a little darker but still OK. Also, CS charges less per book, by about 50 cents. When you're ordering 150 books for various events, that makes a difference.
Right now we plan to keep both accounts -- one with LS and the other with CS -- but I do wish I hadn't waited so long to sign up with CS. I hate that Amazon controls everything, but with the quality of printing I saw and the cheaper per unit price, I came to terms with it.
Given the type of book you are creating, I would definitely consider using CreateSpace. You can sign up for free and get a proof for about $4 (plus shipping). If you hate it, you can move on to Ingram. Or you can sign up with both. If you do go with CS, consider getting a matte finish on your book. I find the glossy from CS to be too shiny. The matte we received looks really good. Since you have a self-help/spiritual book, I think the matte would suit your genre.
So, there's a long answer to a short question. I hope it helps!