Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Author Branding

#AuthorBranding ~ Is It Worth Considering?


Author Branding

Image Courtesy of justus kindermann ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ackinderma-44705

Since Author Branding is something people talk about when they’re also talking about making money, I’ll share a bit from something I wrote last year about writers making money:

Many of you know I’m a maverick, in my writing and in the promotion I do… 

And, it seems apropos to share the etymology of “maverick” from my Oxford English Dictionary:

“Samuel A. Maverick (1803–70), Texas engineer who owned but did not brand cattle.”

Branding is all the rage now for self-published authors—come on, get on the brandwagon—cereal is branded, cigarettes are branded, underwear is branded—why not books?

Well, I don’t brand myself or my books because I don’t brand my cattle—I’m a Maverick…

But, whenever I use myself as the example to lend credence to a particular opinion about the BookWorld, I like to back it up with another person’s opinion

For today’s post, I chose Kelli Russell Agodon — poet, writer, editor, book designer, and co-founder of Two Sylvias Press.

Here are some excerpts from Kelli’s article, You Are Not a Brand. . . Why Writers & Artists Should Not Be Limited By Those Who Want to Define Us:

“I have heard about this ‘create your brand’ and ‘you must have a platform’ at a few writer’s conferences I’ve been at, but I thought it was something trendy like bedazzling your jeans — I thought it would be seen as ridiculous and then fade away, but it seems not to be the case.”

“It kills my spirit to hear writers and artists being talked about as if we were corporations with logos and mottos and theme-songs.”

“It feels as if it’s another way for people who don’t really write to sell things to writers: ‘Be Your Own Best Brand! How to Create Your Brand for only $295. Build Your Brand BEFORE the Book!'”

Jumping in to register my hearty agreement that Branding is a way to suck money and time from author’s lives

Just a few more excerpts from Kelli:

“When I hear sentences like this one (one that almost makes me weep): ‘Brand-building is constant. It should always be in the back of your mind’, what I want to say in response is: Writing is constant and should always be in the back of your mind.”

” I know I can’t let myself be put in that box. I am not a Twinkie. You are not a Ding-Dong (okay, you could be a ding-dong, but I don’t know that for sure). But you are definitely not a Twinkie, that I know.”

If you’re not a writer and you’ve read this far, you must know a writer (or, actually be one deep down…)—tell them about Kelli’s article and recommend they visit her blog: Book of Kells
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#BookMarketing ~ Making Sense of #AuthorPromotion


I’ve written here before about Book Marketing… 

I’ve discussed my disdain for the term “marketing” and my grudging acceptance of “Book Promotion“.

I’ve explained that snagging a traditional book deal doesn’t guarantee a writer can forget about promoting their book (unless that “writer” happens to be wildly famous…).

I’ve discussed the buzz-term, Author Platform (and, its cousin “Personal Branding”).

In fact, there’s an excellent article, by journalist Ann Friedman, that traces the history of Personal Branding and leaves you wondering whether current advice for writers is, in any way, rational. The title is very revealing—Me Inc. ~ The paradoxical, pressure-filled quest to build a “personal brand”.

Just one quote from the article:

“I’ve noticed a paradox: The more time I spend defining my personal brand, the more contrived it feels when I talk about myself.”

Even though the article casts a rather lurid light on branding, I recommend eager authors read it as part of their making sense of what to do to promote themselves.

One thing is certain.

If you publish a book and tell no one about it, no one will buy it—even if you want to give it away, no one will take it if you don’t tell them about it

So

Writers have a need to consider various promotional strategies and choose or create one that won’t drive them crazy

So

When I decided what to write about today, it actually wasn’t, at first, about what Ann Friedman had to say about Personal Branding.

It was about what Fauzia Burke, Founder & President of FSB Associates, has to say about Book Marketing.

She started her company in 1995 and there should be no surprise that she can say it was “one of the first firms to specialize in Internet publicity and marketing for publishers and authors”.

So, here’s me, not liking the term “Book Marketing”, in fact not liking most of what most anyone has to say about the topic; and, here’s the title of an article by the Founder of one of the first companies to specialize in the field—10 Things I Know for Sure About Book Marketing.

I’m going to list those ten things and urge you to go read the full article—also, I must ask you to be aware that some of her points sure don’t sound like a person who runs a marketing firm

1. You can’t just do social media.

2. Don’t try and do everything.

3. Don’t try to promote your book to everyone.

4. The tortoise can beat the hare.

5. The age of generalists is over.

6. Think long-term.

7. Talking to people is a great privilege.

8. Go for engagement.

9. Start now.

10. Give value to your customer.

If you happen to read Fauzia’s article (and/or Ann’s), I’d love it if you could share your thoughts and feelings in the Comments
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