Managing Your Brand Online
Is your author bio helping or hurting sales? This key question was blogged about by Barry Eisler at MJ Rose’s blog. What a great question. Barry shows the mistakes that we — publishers included — make so often!
This brings up one of my absolutely essential things you must do online. One that you and only you are responsible for: managing your author brand. I am very passionate about this and, at times, completely astonished by how little attention some authors pay to their brand.
So a quick review:
- Your online brand is your author name. If you write as Malle Vallik, then every online activity must be as Malle Vallik. Your twitter name, your facebook name, your website name.
- If you joined the eHalequin.com community with another name, you need to go and change it (good for you for taking advantage of the eHQ community).
- Are you taking advantage of your publisher’s online tools like community, widgets, etc?
- Is your author bio up-to-date? And I do mean Up To Date. Have you written a new book? Won an award? Done something interesting? It’s your responsiblity to update your website and send it to your publisher and wherever else your bio lives — including your books. (See Barry Eisler’s excellent tips above)
- Will your author bio help sell your books? Does it get out the key message about what kinds of books you write, reflecting your style. If someone reads your author bio and then the 1st page of your current novel will the two connect via writing style, voice?
- Is your photo up to date?
- Just to repeat myself: have you sent your up to date photo and bio to all appropriate departments at your publisher? Yes, I agree sending your photo and bio to one person should be enough, but let’s be realistic — cover your bases. Send it to your editor so she can include it in your books; to PR; to the website people and the marketing people. You can’t go wrong by including too many people in the loop!
- Is your own website current? Do you have a complete list of all your titles and how they are connected? Do you give readers more information at your website than they can find elsewhere: a list of upcoming titles and when; advance look at covers and blurbs; exclusive content?
That is leading me to talking about author websites. A topic for tomorrow.
Last point: do you understand what your brand is? Can you define it in one sentence? Can you use this sentence as a positioning statement whenever you talk about yourself? A great example of an author who does this well is Lyn Cote. Her brand: Strong women, brave stories.