You’re writing a book. Or you’ve just finished writing one. You want readers for your books. There are so many books to choose from on every online platform and physical bookstore, so WHY should anyone want to read your book? Well, perhaps they have developed an interest in you as they follow you on Twitter/Instagram. Or maybe your book cover is really cool and they saw it floating around on Facebook because so many friends shared your post about it. In other words, you got your readers because they were interested in you and your product.
The key to keeping your readers interested in you and your work, and the key to attract more readers to grow your audience, is building your author brand image well. What’s your author brand? It’s your story. It’s who you are. It’s how people (your audience and potential audience) make sense of you, the author. For example, when people hear my name, they immediately think, “Sudesna is an author who loves animals, especially her rescue cats, and she’s a mental health advocate too. And oh, most of her stories have cats in them.”
So you see, your author brand building isn’t just about showing off your books or interviews or guest posts about writing — people want to know more about you and your passions and activities beyond the writing desk. Another example is my author friend in the States who is also a doctor and crazy about fitness. Her tweets cover photos from her walks outside, fitness and healthy diet facts, and more. I’m sure a lot of her followers are buying her books because they like the content that she is sharing and they like her as a person too!
Content is important. When you’re building your author platform, you have to have a content plan. Sure, you’ll need to post links to your latest book and share reviews to pique people’s interest, but what about the rest of the time? You don’t want a timeline full of book promotion links. I once told a client she needed to think of two things that matter to her the most other than her book. We talked and decided on yoga and plant based food. This way, her content would be balanced, interesting, and lead to interest in her book, which was an inspiring tale involving many aspects including healing with the help of yoga.
Some authors love to cook. They post food pictures and recipes. These may or may not go into their books but they keep followers hooked. By the time a book is released, they’ve become fans of this cool writer who makes delicious food between writing sessions, so why wouldn’t they pick up a copy of this interesting person’s book?
You should NOT show up online only when you have a new book coming out. Instead, post consistently. And DO NOT pretend to be someone you’re not. If you write posts about topics that don’t mean anything to you, it’ll show. The readers will get the vibe. So, don’t post a few controversial political tweets when you haven’t even read one piece about the matter. Just because something is trending doesn’t mean that you have to comment. And remember that people never forget how you make them feel, so why not make them laugh with humourous posts? Or how about inspiring them with your content? You could even motivate them with a peep into your writing life.
Figure out your Unique Selling Point (USP). Identify what is special about your books and your content. In my case, I believe that my 30 plus single, female protagonists appeal to a large number of single, unmarried women that age and older. I know there are some authors who like writing about single mums and that definitely attracts the interest of single mothers. At the end of the day, we are all trying to feel less alone.
Don’t be all over the place in an effort to build your author platform. Choose two or three social media channels and be regular. Use scheduling tools. DO NOT post and run. ENGAGE. You are an author but that’s not the end of your story. Let your followers know you.
The secret to building the perfect author brand is authenticity. Be you.