5 Steps to Build Your Author Brand – BEFORE Your First Book Even Comes Out!
By Donna Galanti (VIP enrollment ends NOV 19!)
Ever since my first book came out waaayyy back in 2012, I get a TON of questions from writers on how to create the successful foundation of an author life. I have enjoyed growing in my author role (after totally getting over my fear of doing it!). And I realized that much of what I’ve learned about creating an author life can be done before you even have that first book come out.
As writers it seems the rejection can never seem to end, right? Rejection with queries, book proposals, editor’s notes, or bad reviews. But there is good news – a key to embracing your author life, building an author brand and platform, creating a foundation for author success, and surviving endless rejection.
What’s this magic key? Build a support community around you of readers and writers!
Because I have totally discovered that we can write alone – but we can’t get published alone.
And we can’t succeed alone.
Step 1. Put Yourself Out There!
Are you ready for discomfort? Because once you have a book published…you could be invited to sign at book expos, teach at conferences, do author panels, talk at libraries, do guest blog posts, or present at school assemblies.
As authors we get out of our comfort zone when we write, but we must also publicly get out of our comfort zone and into a new community comfort zone – online and in person.
How to start?
Join a writer organization. Search online by your region. “writer’s organizations” + “region”.
Attend writer meetups. Search http://www.meetup.com. Create one if none available! Follow and connect with authors you admire.
Check out the Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers and pick a few you to follow and engage with.
Connect with other debut authors. Search online for “Debut Author” + “Year” your book releases.
Step 2. Create Your Author Persona!
Some people call this creating your brand. But keep in mind you aren’t branding your book but YOU! Everyone’s brand is unique (just like you!) and it’s your own personal story that you choose to convey that people will be drawn to.
How to create your author persona:
Look to your themes in your story. These are themes you are drawn to and passionate about! What are the themes, talents, or expertise in your life? Often these intersect from the page to real life.
Set boundaries: List all the things that make you uncomfortable about the life of an author. What are you willing to try and what are you not willing to do?
What authors do you admire and why?: Why are you drawn to them – in their writing and personality? Can you draw similar connections toward yourself? Make note of their websites and blog as a reference to model your own voice in your own way.
From all this research and soul-searching, create a one page profile of yourself. This is now your public persona that represents the natural for you and an extension of your writing and who you are, which will make you more genuine.
Step 3. Connect with Readers Before Your Book Comes Out!
Book bloggers are your friend! Follow them in your genre. They’re an awesome direct line to your readers.
Find best-fit book reviewers: Identify any authors who write books similar to yours. Search the “Author’s Name” plus “Review” to find reviewers who might be interested in your book.
Where are your readers hanging out?: Are there special qualities, characters, events, elements, themes, or settings in your book that appeal to certain groups? Find those groups and listen to their conversations online.
Write for kids?: Who are the gatekeepers to your book? Librarians, parents, booksellers, conventions, etc. Follow and engage online. Many librarians have a book blog. Find those.
Step 4: Build a Subscriber List
A subscriber list is your direct line to your readers, whether a blog or newsletter list.
Why you need a list: It’s the only community list you own! What if Twitter or Facebook went away? How would you reach your community? Through email!
What platform to use for a newsletter list: MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
What platform to use for a blog: WordPress. Great support community, flexible design options, search-engine friendly.
How to build your subscriber list: Start with who you know, add your list opt-in everywhere, add a subscribe button on the home page of your website, share on social, run a contest and have entrants follow your newsletter or blog for extra entries.
Step 5: Position Yourself as an Expert (Share What You Know)
You may be saying, “I’m no expert,” but you are! Brainstorm your areas of expertise: You can talk about writing to writers (like good revision tips) but also talk to your readership on your blog, other author blogs, or book blogs about fiction (like creating characters, research).
Bonus: Giving a talk in-person or being on someone else’s blog instantly positions you as an expert!
How to start?: With all of those community connections you made in step #1! If a new contact loves to share quality content, invite them as a guest on your blog. Ask if you can be a guest on their blog.
Think “community” for everything you do as an author and it will strengthen and sustain your author brand and platform. Support the writers you meet! Promote their books and their successes. In turn they will support, advise, and promote you – and help you build a platform of success for your author career!
For more tips on building your author platform, check out Donna’s course, Create Your Awesome Community for Debut Authors. Enrollment is open now through 11/19/2017! Miss out? Sign up for her wait list and receive free weekly guides on author platform.
Details here: https://www.createyourawesomecommunity.com/
Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). She is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. Donna has lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at http://www.elementtrilogy.com and http://www.donnagalanti.com. She can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads.