Welcome back to Self-Publishing Sunday! I know that it’s Easter, so a very happy Easter to all of you celebrating. Since so many people out there don’t celebrate, though, I decided to keep going with the series and publish today. (Especially because I schedule 99% of my posts ahead of time anyway.)
Today we are going to talk about branding! If you are a blogger, you probably already know a little bit about this. However, there are so many people who either (a) aren’t bloggers and aren’t familiar with this concept or (b) are bloggers but aren’t doing this to the fullest extent. And besides, branding yourself as an author is a little different from branding yourself as a blogger.
What is branding?
Branding is the act of marketing yourself as an author. If you are self-publishing, you probably don’t have a team marketing you and your book for you, so it’s up to you to do it.
Why is branding important?
First and foremost, by branding you will have a consistent way for people to find you. For example, I have a pretty generic name – Kate Mitchell – so if you want to find my book and just search for Kate Mitchell, I probably won’t come up on any of the first few pages. By branding myself in two ways – Kate Mitchell the Author and Kate the (Almost) Great – it is easier for people to find me.
There are so many people out there. Google can come up with literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of search results. So you need to make sure that YOU stand out somehow!
How do I do it?
First things first: you need to decide how you are going to brand yourself. If you have a semi-generic name like I do, you might need to add something onto your name. If you are a blogger, you probably already have a brand to some extent. I went with Kate Mitchell the Author (or rather, K. Mitchell Author) because it stands out more than just my name. If you Google “Kate Mitchell” + “Author” or “Writer,” my name comes up. I started doing that before I started blogging, so my official author website, my Twitter name, and my email are all based around that. That is my official author persona.
That’s the second thing: once you decide how you’re going to brand yourself, you need to stay consistent. Everything you do needs to go back to that brand. This will help your search engine optimization (SEO) results, which will help lead people over to you, whether they’re heading to your website or your Amazon page. Yes, I have two different ways that I branded myself. This is because I branded myself as an author before I started writing this blog, and for a very long time, this blog was not the main focus of my online presence. I still consider this blog as a subset. My Instagram is the only bit of social media that is branded with this blog title. Everything else is as kmitchellauthor. Which leads me to …
Third: you really do need to have an online presence. I’m going to have an entire post coming up to self-published authors and social media, so I won’t get into that part of it much today, but just know that you should be online. You need a website and as much as possible that will lead people over to you.
Fourth: a part of your online presence needs to be author pages on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And make sure that you include the key words that will take people back to your brand. Yes, you will be including your website and other links that will help. But you need to make sure that however you brand yourself it explicitly included. For example, I need to make sure that I include the phrase “Kate Mitchell the Author” whenever I’m writing about myself in these situations, or that “she also writes the blog Kate the (Almost) Great.” By including these key phrases over and over again, it will drill your identity into the minds of people who see you online, and that will help you stand out.
And that, my friends, is the quick and dirty version of how to brand if you are a self-published author.
If you have any questions, please let me know! In fact, next week I am going to do a Q&A post about what we have covered so far. So send me your questions about facts/myths of self-publishing, the companies to use, how money works in self-publishing, and branding! Leave them in a comment, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet them to me at @kmitchellauthor and/or using the hashtag #spsquestions.