Sunday, January 13, 2013

4 Tips for Creating an Author Brand by Bart Cleveland

Please welcome my friend Bart Cleveland @BartCleveland to Tabor Lane. Bart is the author of THE PURIFICATION, a science fiction thriller that he hopes to publish soon. His author site is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen.  

When Bart’s not writing fiction, he’s developing advertising for iconic brands such as Coca-Cola, CNN, Du Pont and The Ritz-Carlton. Samples of his work can be found here.  

In 2005, he co-founded, Small Agency Diary, a blog for Advertising Age. He is a contributing author for the upcoming book, The Get A Job Workshop, How To Find Your Way To A Creative Career In Advertising.  

Today’s he’s talking about author branding. Get out your notebook because you’ll want to take notes.

Branding The Author 

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” True words, but completely irrelevant when it comes to selling your book. Consumers rely heavily on the cover to determine if they will buy a book. This also applies to how you market yourself. To maximize your success, think of yourself as the book and your brand story as the book cover.  

As a marketing professional, I remind my clients if they do nothing to communicate their brand the consumer will do it for them. Today’s most successful marketers are disciplined about communicating their brand story consistently. If you want to maximize your success as an author, you should do no less.  

The consumer uses everything from the covers of your books to the design of your website, to the way you engage people at public appearances. If that impression is inconsistent or incoherent, they will respond accordingly. In other words, they will ignore you.

How can you create your own brand? Use the fundamentals that iconic brands follow. 
  1. Know your business objective. This is something that is measurable and obtainable. For example, continual growth in the number of readers who buy your work. As obvious as this may seem, have you specifically determined the amount of growth you want to experience? 
  2. Know your target. A target isn’t just your genre’s market; it is your “bulls eye” reader. Who are they, exactly? You’ve met them. You’ve talk to them. Write a composite profile of them and use it to judge the appropriateness of everything you do. How will they perceive and react to it? Will it reinforce what they love about your writing?
  3. Know why you are doing what you’re doing. Fundamentally, a brand is about one thing: why you do what you do. Simon Sinek is a marketing expert who wrote a book on this subject, Start With Why. Sinek states the fundamental truth behind his book on TED. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” 
  4. Be consistent. Apple, Coke, and Nike are all iconic brands because they have never deviated from the core idea behind their brand. Apple is about innovation. Coke is about life’s happiness. Nike is about motivation. Do what they do every time. Know what you’re about and never deviate from that idea. 
Recent research about the believability of advertising and whether branding works revealed the number one reason why people buy a product: They were familiar with the brand. In other words, they remembered what the brand was about and they trusted it. 

Developing your brand story takes effort but it can be very rewarding. After time, you will find your readers are telling your brand story to others for you. 

THANKS, Bart, for spending time on Tabor Lane and getting us excited about developing our brands.


If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again: 
  1. 6 Best Marketing Tips for Authors @msheatherwebb Think outside the box!
  2. When You Don’t Have a Cabin or a Dog...But Are Still Called to Write @sarahmae Excellent post
  3. How to Build a Scene, Addendum: Know What the Audience is Rooting For
  4. 5 Surprises About Self Publishing by @jennienashvia Readers care about the story, not its publisher
  5. Are You ‘Favoriting’ Too Many Tweets? A growing trend with the potential to get out of control
  6. The 5-Question [Book/Acquisitions] Editor Interview: Jennifer Lawler The good, the platform & the rejection. Good info
  7. Ebooks or Print Books? Can they coexist? Do you prefer one or the other? via @PassiveVoiceBlg
  8. Why Do Most Writers Start with Novels? Is there a focus on quantity over quality in the world of writers?
  9. 30 More Nautical Expressions via Daily Writing Tips
  10. Notes from Tabor Lane: Writing & Marketing Tweets from January 11
  11. What to Do When Your Creative Writing Hits a Brick Wall
  12. Book Contract: What’s Negotiable and What’s Not
  13. How To Write A Twitter Story @woodwardkaren
  14. Why Authors Tweet RT @janice_hardy
  15. So You've Got an Agent... Now What? RT @janice_hardy
  16. 7 Effortless Ways to Find New Ideas for Your Blog Wow! Very interesting
  17. One of the most effective ways of editing your work I'll have to try this! 
I’m always looking for great content to share. If you have a writing and/or marketing blog, or have a favorite that you visit often, please leave a link in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by.

Happy writing & running, Kathy

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