Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learning How to Brand Myself

Now that I'm self-publishing I know I need to market my books, if I really want to sell them. How can I say this? I HATE MARKETING BECAUSE IT'S TOO TIME CONSUMING. I'D RATHER BE WRITING OR EDITING!

There, I said it. That's my truth. Yet, in my quest to get this ball rolling - - that is, sell some books, I started asking questions: What's the best way to market and promote my books? What's the most cost effective way to market and promote? Can I hire someone at a reasonable price to both market and promote my books or do I etch out the time to do it myself?

Well, one day I was at the Good Hair Shop and my loctician Kiyomi Rollins introduced me to the young lady who had the appointment ahead of mine. Low and behold, the young lady, Tamay Shannon, owned a social media marketing company. That sounded like a service I needed to know more about. Though she spent the next few minutes explaining what  she did,  the only thing I remember is her advice to me to "brand" myself. Her exact words were, "As an author, YOU are your brand. So if people like YOU they will read anything you write." Okay, I know what branding is, but how was I going to do it? Well, really, FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogging -- need I say more? I still wasn't motivated to spend a lot of time on social media (perhaps I did not make it clear earlier, I'd really rather be writing or editing). Yet, I do understand how social media is a necessary and invaluable tool for marketing and promoting.

Shortly after meeting Ms. Shannon I participated in the ATL Entrepreneurs Conference & Networking Expo, hosted by Above The Line Magazine and ATL Smart Women Events. Branding was still on the forefront of my mind. So it was a pleasant surprise when I realized one of the panel presenters was going to discuss, you guessed it, Branding & Marketing. I don't think any of this was a coincidence. I was sure that any lingering questions I had would be answered.

The speaker was Prosper Miller of Fabulous Life International. Following are the (partial) notes that I took that day.

4 Core Branding Concepts (according to Prosper Miller)
You are your brand! Learn how to market your business in a competitive market.

1. Business = Identity
- Create a website and a logo
- Know who you're marketing

2. Image
- First impressions have a lingering impact
- You must represent at all times (for an author, have books, business cards, and bookmarks at all times)
- When you're not in character (prepared) you miss opportunities

3. Media (Exposure)
- Utilize magazines, interviews (online and otherwise), TV, radio
- Focus on public speaking (for an author this would also include book signings)

4. Event Planning 
- Create your own signature event (for an author, book release parties)
- Invite people into your space (to get to know you)

Remember to continue to move forward in the development of your brand, and don't be afraid to evolve. If old stuff isn't working anymore, change it until it does work, until you hit your stride, because brand development is the heart and soul of your product.

I have to admit, after that brief "pep talk," not only did I completely understand the "branding" concept but I was excited about it. I have found some viable avenues for marketing and promoting. Now I just need to get off of my butt and do something about it.  

Until next time.

Simply TRB

aka T. R. Baker, Author
Every Time I Close My Eyes
Daddy's Big Girl

*Note: If you'd like to know more about Tamay Shannon and W2S Marketing, checkout:

Email: (tamay@w2smarketing.com)
Website: www.w2smarketing.com
Twitter: where2start
Facebook: W2SMarketing
LinkedIn: tamayshanon

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Been a Long Time

I don't know how bloggers do it. I started my blog to make myself accountable as a writer, so that I wrote something everyday. The truth is, I haven't touched my blog since July 2013, though, I have been writing. I published my second book, as an eBook, in November 2013. After resolving some formatting issues that took me forever to figure out, I finally published the print copy in January 2014. I am now a Microsoft Word aficionado. I am now trying to master Smashwords (note: I stopped reformatting for Smashwords to blog).

In addition to completing and publishing my second novel, Daddy's Big Girl, I also edited another author's novel. So, I really have been writing. And here I was beating myself because I hadn't blogged since July.

Well, this year, in addition to writing, editing, and blogging, I also want to try a little marketing--easier said than done, of course. I'm not trying to make millions, but I would like to sale a lot of books. In 2013 I attended two business functions hosted by Above The Line Magazine and the most valuable information that I gathered dealt with business success & networking and branding & marketing.

Brenda McClain, RM Enterprises, Inc.*, gave a great presentation on business success & networking, which I customized for myself as a writer:

   A. As a business owner (WRITER) say to yourself:
       1. I willl...
       2. I am...
       3. I can...
   B. Invest in yourself and don't look for handouts and deals, so that you attract similar people.
 II. Your "Net Worth" is in your "Network"
   B. Quality is critical
   C. Network with fans (READERS) (past & present) and clients (OTHER WRITERS) (consider joint ventures w/ideal clients) 
   C. Establish yourself as an "expert" (TELL THE TRUTH IN YOUR STORIES)
   D. Engage people in your network (READERS, SOCIAL MEDIA, OTHER WRITERS, ETC.), so you stay on top of their minds
   E. Accelerate growth (SALES) of your business (BOOKS) by asking for referrals
   III. Master Your Message (GENRE)
    A. Have a problem/solution statement
    B. Leverage your expertise (as a WRITER), using as many options as possible (FREE ONLINE WRITING COURSES (IVERSITY), WRITING ADVICE (WRITER'S DIGEST), ETC.)
    C. Place value on what you do (WHAT YOU WRITE /YOUR PUBLISHED NOVELS)!

Okay, I don't want to overdo it on my first blog back, so I'm going to save the branding information for next time, which will take much less then six months. I hope someone, writer or otherwise, finds this business success & networking information helpful. Thanks!

*For more information on business success go to: http://www.lifetreasuresllc.com/

Simply TRB