You are Your Brand: How to Market Yourself

When asked why she turned to traditional publishing after finding phenomenal success in self-publishing, Amanda Hocking explained ‘Right now, being me is a full time corporation. I am spending so much time on things that are not writing.’

This author of the paranormal romance Trylle Trilogy learned the hard way that when you self-publish, you are not just an author, editor, publisher, and marketer, you are a brand. You are not just selling your books, you are selling yourself. You basically become a corporation of 1.

It is, therefore, vital to your potential success that you develop the confidence in not only your work but yourself as well.

This is why you have a blog or website

It’s not just to promote your books; people want to know who is behind the words they love. They want to see epic photos of the author they are buying into. They want information about you. (That’s where your About page comes in.)

Sharing takes on a whole new meaning. You share your life with your visitors. You promote your life in the tingling hope that it will be ‘liked’ and result in sales of your books.

This is called your conversion rate, by the way. It sounds slimy to me. You lure people to your site under the guise of providing them with useful content, and then, once they’re hooked, once they’ve taken the bait, you reel them in and deliver the pitch to convert them into customers.

I never liked the sound of it. Who would, besides psychopaths?

Thankfully I reveived a very useful email from one of the writing sites I subscribe to. (I can’t recall which one.) He taught that marketing was not about employing slimy used-car-salesman tactics, but about performing three simple, honest procedures:

  • Providing genuinely useful and FREE content for visitors that they can interact with
  • Creating lasting and meaningful relationships with customers
  • Continuing to communicate with and provide content for your ‘friends’

Before, during, and after you’ve got these three steps down pat, you’ll need to do some SEO work. Promote your site, offer to write guest posts on other, similar sites, email established authors for endorsements or testimonials for your books; basically do the work of ten people, all while keeping a positive spin on things and establishing your voice and niche.

For all of this you’re going to need bucketloads of confidence. Read on to discover the keys to building this confidence.

I’m in the process of polishing a short work titled The (Psycho) Path to Success, an expose/parody of the multi-billion dollar self-help business. (Go ahead and take a gander at the lovely cover down below.)

During my research of life coaches and other self-help gurus, I ran across plenty of vile, manipulative tactics. These guys really take the cake; they’re brilliant but two-faced.

Still, I did pick up one useful snippet of advice. Their success may be due to their ability to con people into thinking their advice is legit, but this success is achieved by them selling themselves.

They aren’t afraid to promote their work and to pass themselves off as experts in their field (even though you don’t need a degree to call yourself a life coach).

You need to master three Habits if you’re going to break out and make it in this business:

  1. Live and write with unshakable faith in the quality of your work
  2. Be fearless in promoting your work
  3. Know that there is a market for your work, and tirelessly offer your work to this market

Before anyone will take you seriously, you need to first take yourself seriously as a professional writer/editor/entrepreneur/publisher/marketer and friend.

FAITH

You believe your books are great. Wonderful! Keep writing—you’ll only get better and boost your confidence.

FEARLESS

As part of my marketing plan, I am reaching out to other, top tier leaders in the field of my non-fiction work The (Psycho) Path to Success, in search of testimonials or advice.

I sent an email to JP Sears, of Awaken with JP YouTube fame, asking if he would check out my book. Within 24 hours he got back to me. He thanked me for reaching out to him but said that he didn’t have the available bandwidth to read the book and provide an authentic testimonial without adding to his already slammed schedule. Which was fine.

Point is, I didn’t hesitate to write to him because I belived in the quality of my work and I have developed the confidence to know that the worst that could’ve happened was that he would kindly decline. After all, I was flattering him by emailing him.  A year ago I would not have had the confidence to do that.

There is a Market for You

A lot of professionals will tell you to write what people want. This is sage advice. But kind of depressing. You should write what makes you happy and what will be informative or entertaining to others.

You have to enjoy what you’re doing, otherwise your work will suffer for it. With hundreds of millions of readers, there is most likely a market for your book. So don’t worry about that. You’ll find customers during your research phase, and then you’ll have the confidence to write what you love, knowing that there is a ready-made market just waiting to eat up your content.

For example, I write this advice with confidence, knowing there are those who need to read it, even though I have not yet achieved the success I am writing about achieving.

I have faith that, with a little more work and a few helpful fellow writers/bloggers—like John Matthew Fox of Bookfox—my career will take off.

You can succeed, and without becoming a psychopath. Don’t be afraid of trolls or rejection or even of neglect; those things are of no consequence.

Keep writing. Keep reading. The confidence will come as your skills improve, I promise you that. If you don’t believe me, check out what Stephen King has to say about it in this inspiring video. (I don’t condone his cussing, but man I love his passion for his work.) God bless!

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