HOW TO START BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR BRAND-STARTING FROM THE BOTTOM

This is something that I am learning as I go along but if you are like me, and just love writing, does the thought of actually promoting yourself scare you?

It certainly scares me-yes I am using present tense because it is something that does make me nervous.

I used to make so many excuses for myself:

-I will eventually sell lots of books, just need to worry about writing a good story first

-The sales will follow, and I won’t need to promote myself: if the story is good, people will jump on it and word of mouth is all I need

-I’m too busy to learn about how to promote and market myself-I have a book to write!

I had to go back to reality and tell myself that if I want to go down the self-publishing route, I have to start promoting myself RIGHT NOW.

But where do I start? As someone completely new to internet marketing and what not, how do you go about promoting yourself? I always hear that with the advent of social media, people are becoming narcissistic and that all they do is take photos of themselves etc., and that’s why they would never use social media etc.

But guess what, for us wanna-be self-published authors we have to get over that mentality, in fact we need to embrace the need for self-promotion.

No you don’t have to take a photo of what you eat every day, no you don’t need to take a photo of yourself in a bikini (as if I would!)

I’m sure that at one point or another, you may have Googled for help on how to promote your books, how to sell more books and Google being Google, there are thousands, if not millions of articles out there.

That’s what I thought when I wanted to first start researching, and I was more than overwhelmed when I started reading them.

‘You need to start a blog, and create a mailing list’

‘You need to actively promote yourself on social media-Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc’

‘You need to customise your website and update with content consistently’

I got so confused that I almost wanted to STOP writing altogether, I’m serious!

I didn’t know where to start, which was the best way to go in terms of getting my name out there, it seemed like I had to do about 10 things at a time to promote myself. And obviously different things work for different people so I read a lot of contrasting advice:

-You need to start blogging and promote yourself to promote the launch of your debut novel.

As opposed to

-You need to have written several books BEFORE you start promoting your novel.

And what about someone with various book projects, in different genres and facets like myself? In one of my previous posts I shared the most insightful advice from Kim @ Your Writer Platform, about how to structure your website/blog and how to plan how to publish your content. If you are in that category of not knowing needing some guidance on that first step please check that link out.

But this post is for those that are starting out, that have felt a bit overwhelmed with all the ‘things and stuff’ you need to do to be a credible author.

I have copied in the most simple and profound advice from a best-selling author Tom Carson-Knowles who simplified it for me, giving me the clarity I needed:

This was my question:

Hi Tom,
Firstly I just want to say thanks for putting out great content, I am really glad I came across your course!

I am currently in the midst of writing several books in different genres: one novel, one self help book about networking, and one on natural remedies.
I am quite lost on how to get started as these books are all quite different, I thought the best way to promote them whilst creating a following was to create a website/blog dedicated to my journey as a self-published author, and feature all the books there.
Do you think that is a good idea or do I need to do something more specific?
Regards,
Maggie

His response, although it was short, was to the point and exactly the guidance I needed.

His response:

I’m all about simplicity, so I’d rather have one website and one blog and one Facebook page, etc. to promote all my work on. It takes A LOT less time to manage one website vs. 3 or more for each market you write for. And as they say, time is money When you’re just starting out, the key is just to get started. Whatever mistakes you make, you can correct along the way. That’s just my personal preference – there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Hope that helps!

 

His advice really gave me clarity and direction, and I have kept his response in a little journal for me to refer to whenever I am lost. There is no right time to start doing anything, you just have to start now and work with it, because the sooner you start the sooner you will start learning how to improve.

As a result I have decided to join Twitter: I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I’m still getting acquainted with it as I write this post-I mean what is the point of hashtags?

But you know what, only 2 weeks in and I have a 100 followers, all within my target market: aspiring authors, publishers, support groups and such. I even got a few bestselling authors to start following me! My point is, if I had started being active at the beginning of the year who knows how many more followers I could have gotten by now, and I would have a much better leverage to start promoting my book? (FYI I am no expert on Twitter and I am a complete noob, but if I get better at it I will share any insights I learn!)

Now that I have thrown myself into using Twitter, I feel more confident about updating this blog, because I am getting more traffic as a result from using Twitter, I don’t feel as nervous or as scared anymore. I try and take little ‘wins’ as something to be excited and proud of!

What are your thoughts, do you agree?

Lastly, follow me on Twitter @ MaggieintheWay lol :p (thought I would throw that one in there haha)

Happy writing everyone!

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