At least three people asked me this week the same question: do I brand myself the author or my book(s)? What happens when I release my next book(s)?
To piggyback a bit off Lori’s last article ‘Why You DON’T Need A Website For Each Book‘ earlier this week (great article, please read it), I feel strongly the same concepts she spoke about in her article apply to your overall author platform. If you market your book and not you, the author, you risk not only creating all types of extra work for yourself, but diluting your branding as well.
Site/Blog: It’s difficult enough to create and maintain one website and blog — imagine creating one for each book! That’s crazy. Besides, if you start from the very beginning branding YOU the author, it won’t matter how many books you add to your one website — it gives you the freedom to promote only your latest work without changing everything.
Tip: Purchase your domain (whether you have a site or only a blog), and use your name whenever possible. If it’s taken (as mine was), try adding author to the beginning or end. If you don’t do that, you’ll end up with some random name that means something to you and nobody else — which makes you inconsistent and harder to find.
Use the same name for your Twitter, Facebook page, Google+ page, Pinterest, etc. Be you, Author Whomever, the same name, everywhere. I often have clients or friends who start a Twitter stream or Facebook page with a book title, and then become overwhelmed trying to keep up with it. So, don’t.
That said, sometimes a particular book creates a wonderful discussion forum for people who are looking for a way to speak about a specific topic the book may cover, and in that case, I think providing that forum for people (in the form of a Facebook page or private Facebook group) can be helpful, particularly if the topic is specific (like sexual abuse, women in business, multiples, etc).
Tip: Not sure what your Twitter handle should be? This happens a lot. People want to stay private (for personal issues or don’t want their real name out there if they write say, erotica), so create whatever name you want! It just has to be an easy to recognize and find name (instead a bunch of numbers or symbols), and has to fit into the Twitter limit of 15 characters only (not including the @).
If you’ve already chosen your Twitter handle and now want to change it, here are the guidelines from Twitter:
Changing your username will not affect your existing followers, direct messages, or @replies. Your followers will simply see a new username next to your profile photo when you update. We suggest you alert your followers before you change your username so they can direct @replies or direct messages to your new username.
The ONLY real issue here is there’s no ‘forwarding’ address. If I change from @RachelintheOC to @RThompsonAuthor, people who search for @RachelintheOC will only see ‘That account does not exist’ which is problematic.
This is why it’s critical to pick your author name when you set everything up! Keep in mind also, if you change your handle, you have to change it everywhere so people can find you and to be consistent. (For the record, I started with a blog called RachelintheOC.com so that’s where the name came from. Now that it’s five years later, I’m pretty much stuck with it and that’s okay given the size of my platform and the commonness of my name).
Let’s say your write YA and Erotica. Different branding, right? Different audience, different message, different demographic. So, in that case, should you create accounts for each book? Depends. If you are using a pen name, then yes, you need different accounts, obviously. Branding for YA has a completely different feel than for erotica (no pun intended), so in that situation, create separate AUTHOR accounts.
Same concept still applies though — brand you the author, not a particular book. Does this mean you can’t speak about specific books across your platform? Not at all! This is the place to do it. Share quotes, excerpts, sneak peeks at your latest work (along with other branded content like: quotes, visuals, news stories — all having to do with your interests).
The point of all of this is three-fold: create increased visibility and exposure by being consistent no matter where your name appears, manage expectations of potential readers, and connect with people on a deeper level.
Got questions? Hopefully I can answer and if I can’t, I’ll find someone who can! Thanks for reading.