You finished your manuscript. Put in the blood, sweat, and sleepless nights to type the beautiful words: “The End.”
You’re giddy — just loving the fact you’ve accomplished a goal of a lifetime. Not many can tout this success and have fallen short of such an attempt.
But, you, beaming with enthusiasm, itching for the world to see your masterpiece. So, now, what?
You have the product but no means of relating with the public who and what your book represents.
So, let’s talk about the “who” — the person behind the laptop or pen of the potential novel. Readers want to know the mystery behind the words so that they can become your avid followers.
I’m going to share five easy and no-cost steps to brand yourself. And what does that mean?
According to self-publishingschool.com: “Your brand helps people to recognize you and form an opinion about you and your books through your personality, your values, your voice, your promise to your readers, and even the feelings you stir up in them every time they read your books or come across your website and social media profiles.”
It’s about the authenticity of who you are, your voice, and your online (and offline) footprint. Even your persona can affect book sales.
Readers love realness; they want to connect to the author as they have with their books.
So, where to begin, my novice, Friend?
If you’ve been online, you’ve probably been to thousands of websites to seek information, to connect, or to find something of value.
Your website will be no different.
It’ll be your online home filled with the necessities, such as professional bio, excerpts, contact info, social media, and a calendar for events.
When visitors come to the site, everything will be ready and the driving force to purchasing your “baby” — and be an instant fan.
Surprisingly, hosting sites like Godaddy and Wix offer free websites. You’ll have a landing page and share other pertinent data, not just for visitors but for promoters, bloggers, and any representative that wants to interview you for their publication.
It can’t get better than that.
You’ll have the host’s advertisement on top of your pages, along with their name in the domain. But that’s fine, for now. You want to get your brand out there for the masses.
Sidenote: Before pressing publish, make sure your website (free or purchased) is free of typos and grammatical errors. You want to make a great first impression — not one with a question mark.
By now, you should know social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are more than seeking high school friends or staying connected with family.
These sites are jewels for branding and marketing. In one post or tweet, you can showcase your books and brand to hundreds, maybe thousands, and depending on how many reposts or retweets you get, or your following, millions.
Sounds good, right?
First, you need followers. And I know the audible sighs are crystal clear, and I haven’t published this article. So, I can imagine the anxiety.
I also know these platforms are necessary. Who needs 10,000 followers to make a statement when quality is everything. Your content can find the right pair of eyes, and boom, it can go viral.
Since these sites are free, there’s no excuse for not creating an account. Same as Instagram and Tik Tok. All are no-cost platforms with vast promotional opportunities.
You’d rather write or outline your next book, right.
Go to these sites and sign up. You won’t regret it.
Sidenote: If you want to gain a following, you have to be consistent. Scheduling your content is a great way to start. Some social media sites like Facebook and Twitter do have scheduling options. Go to these sites to read more about the guidelines and rules.
Content is King
Again, the content is king because your readers want to feel what you have to say.
And why is this important?
Your voice represents your brand behind the screen, writing for an audience of the demographic you’re asking to buy your book or product.
Anyone can say, “Would you buy my book?”
The readers, however, want to know why they should buy your book. In this economy, folks are careful with their hard-earned money but want to be entertained and learn something to add value to their lives — and your voice can do that.
But if you want to expand your microphone from written content to streaming content like podcasts and live videos, go for it. It’s the hottest thing in branding.
All the leading social network platforms have options for live content. One-click and your virtual megaphone are open to the world.
Another content is king opportunity is podcasting. And, yes, hosting platforms have free and paid plans that’ll fit your budget. Check out this article to learn more, 31 Best Podcast Hosting Platforms — lots of valuable resources grow as a host and expand for other markets.
Sidenote: Again, consistency is vital. The more you’ll stream content, the likely the followers will come.
Not everything doesn’t have to be about photoshop.
Other sites offer free and paid plans to go into that creative splurge. The Australian site, Canva, has a wide array of choices of the design plan. Sizes to fit for whatever social network you prefer. Templates tailor to polish brands, such as business cards, bookmarks, and videos.
It might not be the best quality for your taste, but it’s a start for your brand.
Check out this other resource, The 5 Best Free Design Tools to Create Social Media Graphic in 2021. Bookmark this page for future use.
Sidenote: Have fun with these apps. It’ll show in your designs and to your audience.
Grow Your Community
What do I mean by this?
Exactly what it sounds, growing your community through means like LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
As monotonous as it is, gaining followers in an already gazillion online groups in the cyber world can be exhausting.
“I’m just a needle in a haystack,” you say.
I hear you, and I do feel your concerns. But creating a group and growing your community, with your brand front and center, is a win.
Sure, getting to the goal of the x-amount of the membership feels daunting. Remember, it’s the quality, not the quantity.
Think of it like this: It’s your home like your website — a place to showcase talent and abilities, coming not just from you but like-minded creatives.
Never know, it could spark collaborations and become best-sellers.
Not such a bad idea, huh?
Before deciding if this route is for you, read the platform’s terms and conditions. All are private companies, and if you go against any of their guidelines, the group could get reprimanded. Or, worse, get shut down.
Sidenote: I don’t run a LinkedIn group. But I do know Facebook groups have scheduling options. Plan your post so that you can enjoy your quality writing time.
There are more than these five resources to jumpstart your brand for free. The point is starting. Your readers, bloggers, and promoters will appreciate it — and so will you.