What I’ve Learned About Brand Building
I started brand building back in February, almost five months ago, and I’ve learned a lot.
Man, do I wish I started this thing a good while back, as I started writing Lord of Columbia back in mid-2015. Well, the way Lord of Columbia’s plot is today, anyway. If one really wants a history lesson, I wrote the first drafts back in 2010-2011.
What have I learned about brand building over the past five months?
1) A lot of writers love using words like “bestselling author,” “aspiring or budding,” “dreamer,” “author of,” and other redundant phrases in their bios. I’ll be honest, I did the same, until I hunkered down and did some serious reading on the subject. Never a good idea, so I axed it. Instead, I commit thoughtcrime with a pen.
2) Many writers write the book, publish it, then market. I would’ve done the same, had I not done my research. Good thing I did my due diligence months before pushing the publish button. Brand building comes first.
3) Never tell others to check out or buy your book, it’s a turnoff. Answer the question: Do you like being sold to? I don’t. So, I researched instead how one leads people to their books. Attach a book-buy link to your blog in the form of an image, and you’re set. Peoples’ eyes will naturally draw to an image. If you tell me to buy your book, I’m not buying it, and I expect you to find me annoying if I do the same.
4) Building an author platform takes time. My blog, My Freedom Flame, is my key platform, which is up to roughly 5,000 followers. Before I started taking this platform-building thing seriously, my following hovered at around 1,250. I really started building the platform part in late-March. So, about three months after starting this build, I’ve increased my following by 3,750, an average of 290 followers per week.
5) Book marketing is king, and it doesn’t always mean social media. One thing I learned was to never shy away from paid promotion. Sure, it’s going to be an investment, but it’s like fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates say, “If you spend nutting, you win nutting.” Nothing rings so true when it comes to running a writing business. BookBub would be great, but I’ve read their standards. So, perhaps find a few places to promote in the present and future. Maybe even BookBub, but I’m not expecting a miracle.
6) Edit each work until your eyes grow tired of reading it, then read it again. Make sure you’re as close to error-free as possible, which means being error free. Actually, it might have a couple errors, but at least the book’s readable.
7) Invest in a book cover. Don’t make a book cover. Unless you or someone you know has experience in graphic design, pay someone to make a sound cover, or buy a premade cover. Have you seen homemade book covers? They’re abysmal. Don’t do it unless you know what you’re doing.
8) Don’t quit a day job until you’re making a decent living off selling books, which may take a while. Did you know most businesses don’t even break even until year two, or even year three? The same goes for you. So, have fun, create your work, sell it, but don’t expect an immediate return-on-investment. Find a good job that pays, but has a steady schedule you can schedule into your day. Yes, you’re scheduling the job around your writing. Find one that fits; it’ll pay your bills and that’s it.
So, there you have it, eight important lessons I’ve learned before even launching my first work, Lord of Columbia. Unfortunately, many will do the opposite; launch a book, then build a platform, trying to advertise the entire time. Instead, keep everything informative, engaging, and friendly. People will naturally gravitate toward you and find your book.
Just start brand building and take your time. Patience is a virtue, and I’m not going to buy a book I can’t find unless I get fifty-thousand links on my Twitter feed, whereas I’ll subsequently block your account.
When I first learned all this, I thought the opposite at every given turn. I’m glad I’ve done my homework, and over the next sixty days of my prelaunch, will continue to do so. I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.