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Why you need a Brand

business man hand point to branding diagram

If you are selling anything, be it a book, your services, a product, whatever, you need a platform to get the message out that you have something for sale. Even if the cost is FREE, you are still selling something, the price is just really low. (Actually a free book is really your way of buying someone’s attention or trust, but we’re talking about why you need a brand here, so let’s just keep focused on this topic.)

When you are building a platform, you are telling the world you have something to offer. If you don’t build a platform you are really just writing something and sticking it in a drawer. Nobody will see it that way either. Writing a book and buying adsense ads for some key words, or sitting on a sidewalk with a table and some books is called the “spray and pray” marketing method. Not much of a plan, really.

The first thing any good author does after she writes a book is figure out where to situate it in the consumers mind. Are you giving advice, solving a problem, teaching a skill, telling a story, enhancing someone’s self-image? Whatever the case may be, you are not trying to say your book will do all the above for everyone on the planet.  Would you buy such a book?

Everything is niche based selling, meaning you want to define your audience as specifically as possible. Want proof? Go into any book store and you will see sections clearly defined in categories. Fiction, Non-Fiction, self-help, DIY, Hobbies, computer, business, marketing, etc. Stephen King sells to horror readers. Seth Godin sells to marketers. Nicholas Sparks writes Romantic Dramas. Ray Bradbury wrote Sci-Fi novels. All of these authors are very popular. None of them try to be everything to everybody. If that is your goal, it’s a nice dream, but it aint gonna happen. If Stephen King can’t do it, you probably won’t be able to either. The branding stage is what separates the pros from the wannabes.

So, we are writing a book and it is in a specific Genre or two. Now, you need a Brand that tells the world who you are and what you stand for. Your book should also have a specific message and audience in mind, and hopefully, the two of you will not be to different from each other, or you will have identity problems with your readers, which is not something that you should be shooting for. If you don’t try to define our message, you won’t stand for anything, and not standing for anything is just as bad as trying to stand for everything. Again, think of an author and if she is any good, she stands for something. Comedy, tragedy, drama, sci-fi, cookbooks, DIY home gardening. . . You get the idea. You want to write more than one genre? great! create more than one brand. (Each time you do you will be starting over from scratch. Think Garth Brooks trying to go Rock N Roll or Michael Jordan playing baseball, or JK Rolling writing Adult fiction.  Some authors can do this–most can’t, but far be it from me to tell you what you are capable of or not. I don’t know you. You might be able to do it. What you won’t be able to do is write a love novel that everyone in the world will want to read, or write a sci-fi, novel, a comedy, a cookbook, a car repair guide, a quilting book, a biography of Ghengis Khan and a star-gazer’s guide to the heavens, and have the reputation of being a leader in each and every one of these genres. It will actually look like you suffer from multiple personality disorder and people won’t give you the time of day for ANY of your books when they discover you trying to do all this, under the same brand anyway. This is what a brand does for you. It tells your specific audience who you are and lets them know you are exactly what they are looking for.

So, now that we know we need to establish ourselves in some specific area of interest, next we’ll discuss how to create a brand message  that creates a great reputation and makes your audience keep coming back for more.

When to start marketing your book

business man writing business strategy

business man writing business strategy







When is the right time to begin marketing your book?

I’ve read a lot of books and blog posts around the subject of book marketing and most of them say to begin marketing your book at the same time you are writing it. There is some wisdom to the idea that when you are finished writing your book, you should already have a platform with which to sell it. Starting to build a platform when the book is done, makes selling the book that much slower. I get it. Having an audience waiting for your book is a good thing. The problem is it takes lots of time to build an audience, and if you don’t do it right, at best you will turn off your potential readers and all the time you spent trying to connect with them will be for nothing, at worst you will create a bad reputation that could take many months or even years to undo.

So, what to do?

For me, I tried to build a website, blog, tweet, FB and write all at the same time and found that finishing my book was never going to happen. It slowed my writing down to a crawl. I am now of the mind that if you don’t finish your book, you will have nothing to sell, so that should be your first priority. This explains the dearth of blog posts of late. I am almost finished with The Dishwasher’s Son. When that hurdle is completed, I will tackle the marketing with my full attention and be better able to connect with readers on a more genuine and meaningful level, which will be better for all concerned.

That’s what I’ve learned, how about you?


Jeff Goins is a blogger and author I have been following for a couple of years now. At first, he was raw, new, untested and inexperienced. But that didn’t stop him, so I didn’t stop watching. Inevitably, he began succeeding, which is a huge lesson for anyone. The only way to fail, is to quit, […]

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Why your book needs a website!

This may seem like a no-brainer for some of you, and then this may be the burning question many others ask themselves all the time. A website is actually more than just a store front where your book will be displayed. If it were only that, would do just fine. The problem with Amazon […]

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The Garden Song

I need a hobby, something to do to keep me busy a month or two- thats all. It must be simple to ease my mind, it must be soothing so I can find myself. I’ll plant a garden so I can taste the fruits of labor from which I’ve placed my time. But after two […]

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Just Ship It!

So how do you know when your book is finished? Great question. “No work of art is ever finished, just abandoned.” Leonardo Da Vinci I, for one, really understand what he means. You probably do too or you would have just skipped this post. At some point an artist has to abandon his current work and […]

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Punctuate this

Jay Oppenheimer, a nephew of the man who invented the Atomic bomb, stopped by the other day and offered me this riddle. It’s in the form of a phrase that badly needs punctuation. That that is is that that is not is not that is it isn’t it it is How would you punctuate this? […]

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Cars, hills and passed-out cheerleaders

It seems the closer I get to finishing this book, the more it seems possible that it could be mediocre. The immortal exuberance and the ignorant confidence I began this project with has morphed long ago into a couple of hung-over cheerleaders. I feel like I’m pushing a car up the last half of a […]

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The Gurus Lie

The author gurus (the people whose advice novice writers seek out to help our fledgling literary careers) have been telling us that we need to build our book platform at the same time as we write our book, or we will fall tragically behind in our marketing efforts, and as a result, our book sales […]

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Yet another useless Webinar

I told myself I would not fall for another information webinar dressed up like an information give-away. I lied. I signed up for a webinar that promised to tell me the secrets to partnering with iTunes to rapidly build my audience and grow sales. I had a feeling all this was going to be about […]

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