I recently had a number of conversations with people on social media about “gaining exposure”. They informed me that didn’t consider gaining exposure yet as they didn’t have a book out.
Okay, so I’ve mentioned it before but I need to say it again for the cheap seats at the back, “you should still look at getting exposure before you are published!!”
Branding is long term
Branding is not just corporate logos and tag lines, it’s that and more. It’s the feel of a “business” and remember as an author, the business is YOU.
Your branding is your message. And as such, it should be part of your marketing strategy and long term plans.
King, Pratchett, Collins
Chances are you’ve heard of the authors: Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and Jackie Collins. Whether you’ve read their books or know what genres they write, their names will be known.
That’s part of their brand. Their names. Not just their books, but their names.
It’s not JUST their own names either, for example, Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” is a brand all of its own. A strong series can become part of the brand.
But I’ve nothing to sell
Physically, yes, if you’re unpublished you have nothing to sell. But writing is not just a selling game.
We touch people’s lives, we transport them into someplace new, we let them escape from reality for a time.
But you do have something to sell. Yourself, your name, the promise of what’s to come.
By creating connections early with people, teasing them with pieces of your WIP, getting them interesting and excited about the genre you write is why we need exposure before we publish.
I’ll wait until the book is going to launch
I’d recommend not waiting that long. A book launch should be a big event, drawn out over months and can take a lot of prep and marketing to pump up the audience.
By getting them interested BEFORE the start of your launch timeline will give you a good head start.
You can have connections already built and you won’t have to scramble so much to reach out while you’re in the middle of trying to schedule all the marketing launch plans.
Exposure is great for SEO
Exposure and branding are important for SEO. If you start early, your name will already be out there. So when your book does come out and other people start finding you, they can Google your name and boom there will be interviews and articles you’ve already done, waiting for them.
Publishing a book does not mean the marketing stops, it doesn’t. If anything it can crank up. Also, you will want to start working on the next book. Do you think that’s the best time to start writing guest articles and doing interviews?
Your time might get shorter and you may have deadlines to work towards, meaning less time to get your name out there, get interviews sorted.
Anything you can do before you publish can help you. It puts your name into search engines.
After all, you don’t want newly acquired fans Googling you only to find the odd social media account and a single Amazon link to the one book you’ve published.
Are people really interested?
Yes! I have several writers I follow on Twitter who are unpublished but I’m excited about their work. They talk about it, blog about it, share their pictures and scene excerpts and I’m waiting eagerly for the time they publish.
If they hadn’t done that, I may never have heard of their book when it comes out. People are, sadly, still a little wary of giving Indie authors or even newly traditionally-published authors a chance.
But if you’ve seen excerpts that caught your eye, read their article on why they became writers, saw them interact with friends and fans alike, then you feel more confident and want to support them.
I spoke to a few writers on Twitter who confirmed they do the same thing. They have a list of writers who are, as yet, unpublished and they will be the first in line to buy their books when they finally publish.
Your Personal Branding
It’s all about drumming up interest, not just in your work but in you the person, you the author.
Share pieces of yourself with your audience, connect with them and watch as they want to support you when they encourage and cheer you on.
It can be harder to drum up interest after the fact.
So what do I do?
01 Build an online Presence
Start building that presence now. Check out this article by my guest author Mandi Lynn on doing just that
02 Know your Style
This will be your voice, not just in your writing but in your tweets, your Facebook posts, your blog posts etc.
Choose a colour scheme and imagery such as a logo. These become part of your branding. Use these to make it obvious that it’s you.
Is your style humourous? informative? light-hearted? Direct? Professional? It doesn’t have to fit into a single term, but you should be able to describe your voice and your style in 3-5 words.
Aim to be consistent, clear and above all authentic. Don’t try and copy the style of someone else, especially not a popular writer you want to emulate.
I see it from time to time with new writers, who try and copy another writers style and voice and it’s really noticeable. Just be you.
03 Connect to your target audience
Knowing who your audience is should be your first port of call. Also, don’t dismiss other writers, they may be your audience. After all, writers are readers too.
You can find your audience using social media and looking for people who you can connect to, hashtags can help you find your audience. Or, if you’re on Facebook why not start with a Graph Search.
Once you find people whether it’s on social media, or blogs or groups, connect with them.
That means interacting, not just bombarding them with the fact you’re a writer and you want them to follow you. Don’t be THAT guy.
04 Get some exposure
TThere are plenty of opportunities for new, up and coming writers to gain exposure.
Whether it’s writing an article or doing an interview, the blogging world is full of supportive people who want to give you a space to share your thoughts and connect with others.
So consider doing some guest posts early on, before you are published, so that people can hear your name, start to take interest in your work and connect with you. The link I just shared includes a list of some awesome bloggers who accept guest posters.