Friday, May 17, 2013

Brand me, Baby (Or, Don't ask me again to buy your damn book).

Buy my book!

Please buy my book!

Dammit buy my effin book already!

Sick of putting increasingly desperate and costly promotion pleas out into the universe? Yeah, me ,too.

Truth is, I'd rather be flogged with barbed wire than self promote. I don't like the process of promoting my books, but the survivor in me insists the time has come to figure the process out if I expect to earn a living with my chosen craft.

Whether we've published traditionally or independently, those of who write share the challenge of calling attention to and selling the stories we've labored so hard to write. Most of us must take up the task with very low or no marketing budgets.

Gag me with a royalty statement. I can't think of anything more deflating than the process of actually selling my own books. Isn't it enough that I wrote a good story?

Yeah, good luck with that. Still, the promo efforts so many of us have invested in haven't worked well for me.

My first release sent me on a exhaustive, thirty day hop of blog visits, author chats, ads, and promo swag purchases. I'd like to say they helped. I strongly suspect they did not, given my next releases far outsold my first, and with zero promotion. Hello, obscurity.

With some new releases upcoming, my mind has returned to the science of selling the books I write. Given my loathing for tried and not so true self-promotion efforts, I've decided to try something different and give a try at branding myself in hopes potential readers will find me interesting enough a person to read one of my books.

Branding? What does the word even mean?

Perhaps it's easier to say what branding is not. It isn't about buy links and buy me posts. Blog hops can play a part, but the stops on any hop should be targeted to readers, not authors hosting other authors.

For me, branding has been about promoting some aspect of who I am and what I love in hopes of creating interest in a part of me that is also reflected in my work. All of my stories rise from my sincere belief in magic. So I tend to chat with facebook fans about mermaids, magic and mythical creatures. Oh, and autism, because as the mother of kids on the spectrum, I feel if I have someone's attention, I can do my part to change the world for the better now and again.

My adventures in branding grew out of necessity. They have focused less on individual works, because for along while I wasn't really writing. After a series of family disasters, I was simply trying to cling to what readers I had during a time when my focus was necessarily elsewhere. As a result, much of my social content reflected my personal passions.

And my fan base grew. Not because I asked readers to buy anything, but because I gave them a glimpse into the things I care about, things that drive me to pick up my pen and write.

While future book sales will be the true litmus test of my theories on branding, I have come to believe that the key to self promoting is to be yourself. Connect with potential readers in such as way as it doesn't look like you're promoting. It's easier and less painless for me to establish myself as someone people want to know rather than that someone who is always shouting, "buy my book."

Or, it could be I'm full of dragon droppings. Which is the more likely scenario.

If you want to follow someone who has branded herself brilliantly, and brought her fans a million laughs in the process, look up Dakota Cassidy on your social media. Oh, and then buy her book. (If you're reading, Dakota, you owe me twenty.)


Mari said...

I had a long, heartfelt comment, but the blog dumped it! That's probably just as well. I love your posting and I also HATE marketing, finding dropping the names of my novels everywhere about as appealing as Darth Vader at a quilting party. Making appearances wasn't as painful as I thought it would be and my accent matches my books, so it works. Bravo for your post! :-)

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Darth Vader at a quilting party LOL! I love that, and it's just the kind of comment that makes me want to know more about you and what you write. Thanks for stopping by. In between the gratuitous beefcake postings, a useful post sometimes appears.

Jennifer L Hart said...

I would so go to a quilting party if the Lord of the Sith was making a cameo.

Excellent thoughts on branding not spamming. A good way to tell if you've branded yourself well is by your tagline. Does it describe everything you write? I recently changed mine to "Mystery, mayhem, laughter and love," because those words describe all of my books.

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"Nothing is what it seems in BEAUFORT FALLS! :-)

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