Crafting one’s image can be challenging. First, you must start to see yourself for who you really are. Second, you must understand how others see you at present. Third, you need to have a feeling for what people would expect or want to see from someone in your position of writing the book that you penned. Fourth, you need to figure out how to come across as being genuine as you seek to morph into the person you desire to become.
Sounds like what politicians, even celebrities, do, right? Well, even authors must think about their public image -- how to create one, enhance it, and convert a brand into sales. Now, the self-published novelist or even bestselling author in you may be saying; “Brand? Persona? Hey I’m just looking to sell some books and make it as an author.”
That may be so, but you need to think big, act big, and grow into the shoes you want to fill.
So who do you want to be and how do you become that person? Once you are that person, how do you express that image so people become aware of you, gravitate towards you, and help you to further raise your image?
Step one is to assess what you say, do, and show to others. How do you come off to them? What do they really know about you?
Second, compare yourself to others in your genre. How do you measure up -- not just in book sales or level of experience or education -- but how in personality, messages, energy, and likeability?
Third, what can you improve on? Where can you carve out a niche for yourself? Do you need a drastic makeover, to make some changes or to make just a few cosmetic adjustments?
My son is nine and running for class treasurer of his fourth grade class. He created a poster and it said he wants to be elected as class “treasure.” I guess before we work on his image, we need to spell- check his marketing materials, But hey, maybe other kids who can’t spell will feel connected to him.
He has to do a speech before his class, introducing himself and explaining why he’s running for office. He asked me to help. Although I’m a book spinmeister, political campaigns are a different animal. But I figured I could guide him. I asked him why he’s running for class treasurer and he said “Because I wanted to be president but I didn’t get nominated for that.” Okay, he’s too honest. We’ll need him to work on that.
Authors don't need their 15-second elevator speech, their catch phrase or slogan, and their way of presenting --succinctly -- who they are and what they have to offer, my son needs to string together 200 or so words to get his fellow kids to vote for him.
At his level, it is a popularity contest. People who know him or like him will vote for him. He doesn’t really know what the position demands nor do kids know how to fulfill who is the best qualified to hold the office. But I told him to tell people who he is on a personal level -- connect by telling them you play baseball, have a dog, and enjoy eating BBQ ribs. Next, tell them you want the job and believe you have the qualities needed: honesty, responsibility, good with numbers and lots of ideas. Finally, give them an example of something you’ve done that shows you can do this job. But above all else, use humor! Tell a joke and they’ll remember you.
I think we elect our politicians in the same way!
But my advice to him is applicable to you. Get ready to tell your story to others, in a way that allows people to get to know you, to like you, to feel you understand them, and to sense you offer something helpful.
Yes, as an author, you have an image and a brand, not unlike celebrities, athletes, politicians, movie stars, and even a candidate for fourth grade “treasure.”
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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