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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Building Your Author Brand

One way to promote your book is to sell other products and services -- even other books.

You can't make it in today's world as a one-book pony. You need to think about branding yourself and creating a line of products and services: writing a series of books, publishing a newsletter, conducting seminars and speeches, conducting a media campaign, audiotapes, a Web-based services, downloadable e-documents, etc. It doesn't mean you have to do it all at once, but it's good to keep in mind that you need to drive home your name to as many people as possible, as often as possible. Eventually people will buy your book because they know you, they heard of you, they like you.

Start now and you will develop a pipeline. It could take months and years to establish one's brand, but the rewards are immeasurable.

Think like an entrepreneur. If you wrote a children's book, think about doing a video, a comic strip, etc -- or maybe go on a tour to various children's hospitals, schools and parenting groups. Maybe create a toy based on the main character in your book. All of these extra products not only create income, but they drive more book sales.

If you wrote a novel, create a fan club on the Internet or set them up at a bookstore through reading groups. If you wrote a non-fiction book, establish yourself as the expert in this area simply by being visible on your topic within the industry or field you write about.

The quickest way to get attention, of course, is to produce a book that is new, unique, different, interesting and better than most in the genre. A well-written book with an attractive cover and inviting title is where it all begins. Word of mouth will build your brand. But until you do a news media campaign -- even a limited one -- and establish your brand, the battle for sales amongst this year's one million new books is an uphill one.

Interview With Literary Agent Claire Gerus
Claire Gerus Literary Agency was founded in 1999 by Claire Gerus. With over three decades in the book publishing industry, she knows her stuff! Below is a recent online interview BookMarketingBuzzBlog conducted with Claire:

1.      What advice do you have for authors seeking to work with a literary agent? I suggest that you check Publishers Marketplace for reviews by satisfied authors, and ask other authors who have agents their opinions on the agent's work. The author/agent relationship is very important and shoujld not be entered into lightly. See if the agent asks for samples of your work, and if he/she then gives helpful feedback. That's an indicator of how the relationship will develop.

2.      What type of author shouldn’t work with a literary agent? I can't see how an author would benefit without one!

3.      What do you love most about working in book publishing? The excitement of matching authors with the right editor and publisher. Agents are ultimately matchmakers, first pairing with the author, then pairing the author with an editor. Money isn't the biggest turn-on for me; it's the satisfaction of finding "home."

4.      Where do you see the industry heading? More ebooks, lower advances from publishers, more publishers developing alternate formats than traditional hard/soft cover books. I still see paper books selling but being dwarfed by instant Kindle and IPad versions.

5.      What do you feel the smart authors do to promote and market their books? Hire a good publicist!! It's too daunting for writers to manage a PR campaign and keep writing. For those with a good platform, use all your contacts and get the word out. This is not a time to be modest. And keep on plugging, even if you get turned down. Someone will step up and see the value of your message. 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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