The above title seems to be an obvious one, right? Of course authors must market, as no one will know about their book.
However, in this instance, I will not be discussing marketing the book, rather the author needs to market themselves. Unless you are a high profile celebrity, established in your field or have the right connections, the only creditability you will have is amongst friends, families or colleagues.
But if you really want to make it as a full-time author, where your name is in the great public domain, then you have to sell yourself, as well as the product. Your books are not the ‘brand,’ you are.
Many writers find it very difficult to do this, as writers spend a lot of time in isolation. They need that peace to gather their thoughts, to outline their stories and characters.
They just want to write the book, hoping that it will fly off the shelves, and not do any marketing at all or, if they do market, they will just talk about the book and why people should buy it, forgetting that people are also likely to be researching and looking at them rather than their book.
In my early days of this business, I used to help authors come up with ideas for their branding; now that business is growing rapidly, time restraints have prevented me doing this in the extensive way that I used to. Yes, I still get involved with the marketing aspects for my clients, even though they are seasoned and established, but I am an agent that believes thoroughly in teamwork; everyone working together can make a success of a product. Not every agent and publisher has got or will make the time to help an author build their brand, however – a harsh reality, but the truth. This is why it is important, as a writer, for you to do this.
I know it can be very difficult to sell yourself, especially to people you don’t know, so where do you start? Well, other than writing books, what else are you good at? What else can you give back to people? As well as people benefiting you; people want to be benefited by you.
Many writers tell me they are private people. OK, you don’t go telling your whole life story to the world, unless you are writing a memoir, but, as an author, you have to come out of your comfort zone, which is why I ask: What else can you give back to people? Giving is a beautiful God-given characteristic, and is one of the best ways to leave that comfort zone.
When I started out with some of my clients, a lot of them had difficulty in marketing themselves. Once I really got to know them, I saw different hidden gifts in them that they hadn’t brought out, and I thank God He revealed those gifts to me. Three of my clients are very good at speaking in a live broadcast setting, and they were also very good at writing articles that help to strengthen one’s Christian walk with God.
Today, two of them are radio hosts: one has set up her own radio network, and the other has her own online television programme. Doing this has really helped build up their ‘brand’, which is themselves. Their listenership and readership have grown so much that even New York Times bestselling authors and well known pastors have come on their programmes. Their sales have dramatically – and I mean dramatically – increased by the dozens. The great and most important thing is that they are giving back to others in an encouraging way.
Authors, do not overlook the importance of marketing yourselves, of building your brand. Yes, you can speak about your book – of course that is needed – but you are the main ‘product’; people ‘buy’ you before they even look at your book. Think about what you are good at, and what you can give back to others. This will also enable you to build your connections and contacts; in this industry, it is important to have these as well.
God has given you more gifts than you think. It’s time to unleash them for His glory and to market yourselves.