Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Brand Yourself by Jean Joachim


            While I am no expert on social media, I do have over twenty years of marketing experience behind me. Not only direct marketing, which is selling direct to consumers, but I understand a bit about branding, too, from working for major ad agencies. We authors need to understand branding, because we are our own brands.

 Yes, you are a brand, a writer of a certain type of fiction, maybe even two types of fiction, like contemporary romance and paranormal romance, or historical romance and erotic romance. Whatever your genre or genres you represent something to the reader as sure as if you were Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Windex. You are an author a reader can count on to be consistent, create a book she wants to read again and again and again. You should be counting on that, too. Because the biggest, hardest sell you’ll have is the first one. Once they read and like your book, they’ll come back to read everything you write. Don’t believe it? Look at Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries or Ed McBain or James Patterson who churn out mysteries like boxes of mac and cheese or Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber. You’ll become a known quantity, dependable, important to a reader.
            The most important thing you can do is introduce a reader to your fiction. Here are a couple of ways to encourage that first purchase:
-          Cultivate the bargain shopper – some people will buy any book for $.99. They are only risking a buck. Run a short-term sale. I ran a sale, reducing the price of an ebook I self-published. I listed it on the big Kindle Fb page which reaches 800,000 people (Kindle Product news) more times than I was supposed to. Yes, I was harassed by a few Facebook Kindle site police who threatened to report me as spam. But I ran the sale for two days, promoted the heck out of the book, a sensual romance, and sold 80 books. I figure those 80 people will be willing to pay more for book two in the series.
-          Give readers a taste of your work for free. Another way to bring in readers is to blog. Show people what you can do with the written word. Put out free reads on your blog. Self-publish a free read on Kindle, then post about it everywhere you can. There is a blog that promotes romance writers called “Six Sentence Sunday”. The link is  You sign up there. On Sunday people come to the blog to check out writers and click on your link to read your sample.
Post six sentences from a current book or work-in-progress plus a link back to the original six sentence blog. Include your blurb and buy links. I’ve had excellent traffic from this and as many as 24 comments on my post in one day. Try to find something controversial to post, not just idle description, something leaving them hanging or with a question, six intriguing sentences.  You want them to come back for more or buy the book to get more.
-          Get your name out in the world of writers and readers by joining forums and groups. Get to know people. Be nice. Ask questions not relating to your book. Give up the promotional you and just be you. People will like you and become interested in your books. Try yahoo groups, goodreads and kindle forums. All of these groups have romance reader and writer groups. I’ve sold a few books this way in very little time.
-          Get on Twitter. Although I can’t explain how this happened, traffic to my blog with 600 words from a new work-in-progress was limping along on my blog. I promoted it in the usual places to no effect. Then I wrote a tweet for a free read of the sequel to my current book. I posted the tweet not only to my followers but also as a reply to everyone I was following, or almost everyone. Within a matter of minutes I doubled my traffic on the site! I wish I could tell you why. I don’t know. I did it late at night. I tried it again the next day after two pm and got the same results.
            The point is to get your name and work out there. People will get to know you and love you. One of my most successful blogs is Confessions and Lies Wednesday. I can’t reveal where I get my stories, but some are funny and some are moving. The traffic on Wednesdays continues to grow as people become aware of the topic.
            Think of ways to brand yourself. Brainstorm with other writers or friends. Get your work known, get your name out there and you will sell books.

Thank you Jean for you insightful and informative post. To find out more about Jean's ideas and books check her out here.


  1. Thanks for having me, Bri. It's a pleasure to be here.

  2. Branding and a writer's voice go hand-in-hand. Like Jean said, no more than one or two types of writing (at least to start) so the readers can get to know you and understand what they can come to expect. I've become known for an emotional read. I might like to try my hand at a paranormal one day, but for now, I'm reaching out to people who want to experience a gamut of emotion when they read. Others at Astraea Press are developing reputations for different sorts of voices (and if I can promote here for a second, very powerful voices). Our voice is our brand. Consistency doesn't mean never changing, but it does mean we owe it to our readers to give them what they expect from us.

  3. Great article, Jean! Love that pic, too. :-D

  4. I have to say six sentence sunday has been very valuable and I really didn't want to do it! LOL Also, I don't have my book to offer for PDF to reviews yet but I have done several interviews and gotten great feed back with people just learning who I am and a little about my upcoming...I've gotten lots of FB adds. Thanks for the great post Jean!

  5. Kay, emotional for sure. :)

    I second the need to sometimes drop the promotional you and just be you. All promo, all the time, turns people off and will lose you followers and readers.

    A good post. :)