Most nonfiction authors have a unique opportunity to demonstrate authority in their fields, and build an entire brand strategy that boosts book sales. Your book may also be an extension of your business, working in concert with your other marketing efforts to attract consulting clients, speaking engagements, corporate sponsors, and generate other opportunities. To get the best results, you should begin to build a brand for yourself as the author. Following are some steps to get started.
1. Carve Out Your Niche
No author can expect to appeal to all readers. Everyone needs a niche, whether you know it or not, and identifying your niche can have a dramatic impact on book sales. For example, if you’re an author with a book for small business, consider how you can further narrow your focus. Do you want to reach solo-entrepreneurs? Small business owners in the technology field? Work-at-home moms? These decisions are extremely important because they will shape everything you do when building your brand and marketing your book.
2. Understand Your Audience
Once you identify your niche, next you need to understand who makes up your target audience. What are their challenges and how can you help solve them? Knowing this answer will make a tremendous impact in your ability to connect with your potential readers.
3. Define Your Brand
Everything you do should convey what your brand is about. That means that your marketing collateral, website, business cards, Powerpoint presentations, etc. should all have a consistent message and design. Here are some important questions to answer:
- What are your core values? In other words, what is important to you in how you run your business and present it to the world? (By the way, authors are entrepreneurs whether you realize it or not!)
- How do you want your brand to make people feel? (i.e. Strong, empowered, happy, grateful, healthy, hopeful, etc.)
- What kind of tone do you want to set? Should it be professional? Funny? Spiritual? Or ???
- Can you create a tagline that explains what you’re about in seven words or less? (Example: My personal tagline is “Helping Business Professionals Establish Authority Online.”)
- Does your book title or subtitle accurately appeal to your target audience?
- Do you need to update your Powerpoint presentations to align with your brand and values?
- Does your website reflect all of the above?
- What marketing collateral needs to be updated? (Business cards, bookmarks, postcards, speaker sheets, flyers, etc.)
- Do you have a consistent color scheme and does it accurately reflect your goals and vision? Here is a list of how people interpret colors.
4. Make a List of Action Steps
To continue building your brand, here is a checklist of steps you may need to take:
- Spend some time searching for other authors online to study their branding strategies. Note what you like and don’t like as you begin to shape your own strategy.
- Update or redesign your website.
- Write dazzling website copy.
- Revise outdated marketing materials.
- Hire a talented graphic designer to create a consistent look and feel.
- Write a new bio that reflects your brand—one that can be used on your website, in book promotion materials, for speaking engagements, etc.
- Write a signature speech.
- Write blog posts that compliment your brand goals.
- Build a social media presence that reflects your brand.
- When opportunities come to you, decide whether or not they fit with your brand. (I recently turned down a speaking engagement with a group that didn’t align with my personal goal of being authentic online—this was empowering!)
- Consider your brand before writing your next book.