I was told something unsettling by some very wise people recently, I am a brand.
I must admit this was somewhat disconcerting, not least because I always viewed myself simply as Tom, overweight hairy bloke from Liverpool. Office worker extraordinaire, eater of Mars bars and general all round nerd. Frankly, if someone had told me a few years back that I was going to have to market myself as anything other than the above, well I possibly would have eaten less Mars bars to be honest.
When I was writing my first book I must admit, I never really gave any thought to what I was going to do once it was finished. Obviously, I knew I was going to publish it and to do that there was going to have be some promotion of the book, but I never considered that it would mean having to promote myself as well. In hindsight, it was obvious really, after all what do we do before buying a book, we read reviews and research the author to reassure us that the book is going to be worth the money we’re going to spend.
When you’re writing it’s easy to get caught up in the creative process, to pour so much of your creative energy into your project that you’re blind to the things you’re going to have to do at the end. The reality for an author looking to sell copies of whatever literary work you have written, is that promotion is important. Promotion of yourself as well as your book, if people trust you then they will be willing to buy from you, they will be willing to make that initial outlay and take a gamble that you are worth it.
There are a some things you can do to start with. First of all you will want to come up with a decent author bio, I have an author profile on both Amazon and Goodreads, so a bio is key as it helps people relate to you as an author. It won’t do the job by itself, but I personally think it’s good for people to know a little bit about the author.
There are also services out there that can help, for a price of course. I would personally recommend Rowanvale Books, their advice is good and they’re not too expensive if like me, you happen to be working on a budget. However, in the interests of fairness I feel I should say there are many others out there and you should shop around, what’s good for one isn’t necessarily good for another. The choice as ever is yours, but if you lack experience in this sort of thing I would heartily recommend considering paying the extra cost.
I’m not going to lie, if you’re not used to this sort of thing then it can be difficult. Keep pushing ahead, listen to advice from people, but at the same time try to be your own person; it will get easier.