Great to talk to you again. I hope your life is full of interest and purpose!
Working hard at the moment to get the final kick-ass version of Purge up before Monday - that's the deadline Amazon has given me: 10 days before the actual release date.
Sometimes it's daunting working to deadlines, but they're often necessary to make you complete your works at all. Looking forward to finally getting Purge out there. I truly believe it's a great novel.
Creating Your Author Brand
It doesn't take a genius to work out that a successful author's name is his or her most powerful asset.
You'll no doubt have noticed that on paperbacks, the more successful an author becomes, the larger their name is printed, when compared to the title of the book.
This is no accident or design fluke. It's deliberate.
Like it or not, your name is, or will become, your brand.
When you're starting out it's important to attach a particular look to your name, your future book covers and your website. The easiest way to do this is to pick a particular font for your name and use it consistently on all platforms.
We are visually motivated animals. We often recognize a logo's design, like Coca-Cola, Google, or Nike, for instance, more readily than the actual letters or even the words.
A brand may be represented graphically but essentially it is the feeling evoked by the font and the graphics that you're after.
This feeling is a nebulous quality that is individual to the people who experience it. But as an author, what you have to do is to help make that feeling quantifiable and consistent by using the same design all the time - or as much as possible - in your blogs, on your book covers, on your website and in all correspondence with your fans and subscribers.
Do this now as an experiment:
Type your name into a WORD document and try out lots of different fonts to find one you think is appealing - to you and your potential fans.
When you find one that works, commit to using it on everything.
Later, when it comes to designing book covers, instruct your graphic artist to use the font you've chosen.
Or, if you're creating your own book covers make sure you use that recognizably unique font.
At this stage, if you're just starting out, deliberately choose blog templates and web design tools that will augment and emphasize your author logo - because that's what your name will become.
Of course, you can always change your mind later. But understanding the crucial importance of branding now will help all your future book sales.
Back in 1999 I spent a lot of time and money (I had a proper job back then) designing a concept for my own author website. That website doesn't exist anymore - but I was always surprised just how much interest the website created in my fiction.
But that was then.
These days I don't recommend authors spend any money on websites - at first. It's really not worth it until you have some blog followers or subscribers (anywhere between a 100 to 1000.)
There's simply little point investing in an idea or a concept unless it’s working.
But the great thing about Internet blogs and social sites is that they are a terrific testing ground for ideas - before you spend any money on developing them.
Because before you start shouting from the rooftops (especially if you don't yet have book to sell) you need to make sure that people are going to be listening…
As we discussed last week, in Finding Your Unique Genre, it's hard to define your future bestselling genre in advance.
But that's what you need to try and do.
Ask yourself: Who do you write for?
What does your ideal reader look like?
How old is he or she?
What do they do for a living?
What sort of things do they like? (Apart from all your books!)
Build a picture in your mind of your ideal fan.
Many would-be authors make a very simple mistake. They believe they are selling books to lots of people and imagine a huge crowd of clamoring punters.
Then they ask, how can I appeal to all these people?
This type of thinking leads to errors of judgment and very often failed marketing efforts.
Because you're not selling to people, you're not blogging to a crowd, you're not even writing for the masses, you are writing for just one person at a time.
And each person is an individual, and he/she needs to be respected, cherished even, like your best friend ever.
That's the secret. You're always writing for an audience of ONE: your ideal fan.
Place the image of that ideal person in your mind whenever you write, whenever you think of a book idea and whenever you design a website, a blog post, or even a tweet.
Do this now. Visualize your ideal fan in your mind. He or she represents your entire audience.
And all of your future success.
Become friends with your imaginary fan and make sure your brand is working for him or her.
MY CURRENT AMAZON FICTION: