Brand Yourself

Book cover alt._Wana by Kristen Lamb“Being published is not the real end goal. Being published is only the means to your real end goal–selling books.” From Wana by Kristen Lamb

This article is written with a heavy credit to Kristen Lamb who’s “We Are Not Alone, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media” I read during Christmas break. I have rephrased parts of it for you and hope to make you see that having your name as a brand is a good thing and necessary if you want to sell your books. From it  I learned that I  made a tiny mistake in my blog name and in my twitter name because it’s a conglomeration of my own name not my full name, and it may confuse people. I will explain why in the following article.

Getting published doesn’t mean anything if people don’t hear about you or don’t buy your book. And there are consequences if you don’t sell much. “If you fail to sell out of your print run, you hurt your chances of another book contract.”

In order to do what we love, writing, we must learn to do what we may hate which is sell. (Although it may not be as bad as I think. I think I am going to meeting a lot of cool and interesting people)

In order to maximize sales, we need a new goal – to become a brand. You see, brand equals sales. Brand lets us know what to expect. Like Levis means good denim products. Good working jeans. And Nike means good running shoes. Also think Patterson, Stephen King, and Jane Yolen. You automatically think suspense, horror and children’s books.

See, authors have brands too, and it saves a lot of time if your name is linked solely with your content. If we have good content and people know our name they will trust us without reading every review about our latest book before they buy.

Therefore before you sign up for any social media site, the very first thing you need to do is decide what your brand name is going to be. Remember my post about Pen Names?

It talked about how important our published name was. And the reason is branding.

The reasons are three-fold.

1-     The be effective

2-     To be able to link all your platforms together

3-     To begin building a solid platform

Writers’ looove being creative with their usernames. But if readers only know you by your username it will take research to find out who wrote that book they want to buy. And that may be the very reason they don’t buy it. They don’t want to work to make a simple purchase. You have to make it easy for them.

Avoid  making these mistakes:

1-     Branding the title of your book

a) Your agent or publisher may change the title

b) You may write other books and will have to do all that branding all over again

2-     Branding your content –

You are the brand not what you do.

3-     Branding the name of characters.

a) Same reason as branding your title, agent or editor may want revisions and the name may have to be changed. And what about a series? If the first book flops or you want to write something different than we are back to having to start all over again.

4-     Branding multiple identities — many authors do more than one thing and if they are known by their name it is simple to put on a different hat, as in writing a different genre or teaching a writer workshop.

So you see how important it is to brand your name. That’s how readers are going to get to know us. Branding our name makes us look more professionally focused. And it will save us time in building our author platform, leaving us more time to do what we love, write. Did you know I have a twitter handle called Cbojahn? Yes, you can find me on twitter and follow me using that twitter handle. It is part of my brand but since I didn’t know what I was doing I made it up from my name. Same thing with my blog title, Clarbojahn, but my published name is Clarike Bowman Jahn. See the conglomeration? Hopefully it won’t be too confusing but I am here to tell you that in building your author platform you “want to go with making your name synonymous with your (entertaining, interesting, informative) content. That’s the goal.”

If you don’t sell enough, you cannot quit your day job.

This post relied heavily on material from Kristen Lamb’s book “We are Not Alone, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.” Thank you Kristen.

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in Clara Bowman-Jahn, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, Course or Book Review, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Brand Yourself

  1. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Clar (and Kristen). I certainly have a lot to learn about branding and your warnings about what NOT to brand are very helpful. Fortunately I have made a point of using my full name on blog/FB/Twitter/G+, so there is a coherency there. I would love more thoughts on this topic. Appreciated this post!

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  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    Kristen is awesome. I found it interesting that you weren’t sure if I was the same Catherine on Twitter, but unfortunately I couldn’t get my full name on Twitter even back then. I haven’t bought my domain name yet, which is naughty because there are a lot of Catherine Johnson’s. I hope people connect me on Twitter with me on blog, but that is not all about the name either, I have a lot to work on. Great post Clar!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      I hope you can buy a sub name of yourself for your domain name. Like adding an underscore to your name. That seems to work for some authors. Yes, I had trouble with your twitter handle because I wasn’t sure it was you. 🙂

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  3. I read this book last summer – it’s really chock full of interesting, important information. Thanks for sharing, Clar!

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  4. suzicate says:

    Great advice, thanks for sharing.

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  5. Great summary. Her blog is great, also, with lots of detailed information on a variety of marketing topics.

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  6. Really informative post Clar. I have always used my real name because I was a journalist. Set my blog up with the title of my blog, but have my real name on the blog. But, my blog page will not be my author’s page, because it serves a need. My name is FB. I set up a twitter account years ago, have a lot of followers, only trouble is I almost never use it. Have not intention of taking on any more social networking — too time consuming. Kristin’ book sounds like a must read. Thanks for sharing.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thank you, FB. What is your name? Not Paricia Tilton? So strange. Who are you then, may I ask? I’ve only known you as Patricia. Will you have a hard time branding yourself then? If you give me your twitter handle I will follow you and eagerly await your updates if you ever choose to give any.

      I find twitter fun but you’re right that is time consuming. Lamb gives advice on how to do all these social platforms in a timely manner. Not spending all day on them. I could get lost on them if I didn’t use the timer. Now I put the timer on for twenty minutes and go to twitter and facebook and only do twenty minutes of each. Once the timer goes off, so do I. It works for me. 🙂

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  7. Widdershins says:

    That’s why I stuck with widdershins. It was my username first.

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  8. Margot Finke says:

    Great Intro to a great book, Clar. And what Kristin wrote is SO true. We writers are only half done when our book is published. We need to find where the potential buyers hang out and go there – trap them in their lair and make them WANT our book. Unfortunately, writers tend gravitate toward other writer’s blogs and websites, instead of looking for the blogs of those who are in the market for a book like ours – even if they don’t know that . . .YET!!!

    If you wrote your book with an audience in mind, and you should have, go find that audience, and show them what they are missing. Good Luck!!

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

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    • Clar says:

      That is such good advice, Margot. Thanks.
      I googled 50 top Mommy blogs and got them. Now to do more than lurk. Lol
      I must say I’m scared of them thinking the only reason I go there is to sell my book. But I have found some of them to be entertaining and friendly. Some of them make me laugh out loud. I only hope I can make as many friends there as I have here.

      Good luck, Margot. Maybe I’ll see your name on the comments in one or two of those blogs. 🙂

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      • Margot Finke says:

        Clar, MomBloggers are a handful to manage. Just choose those you feel will be interested in what YOU have to offer, and let the others GO. I have interacted a lot with the parent, writing, and moms of boys or challenged kids groups. They fit with me s a writer of books for kids and my Manuscript Critique Service. Once your book is out, you will find those groups are good for you as well.

        Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
        http://www.margotfinke.com

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  9. JannatWrites says:

    Helpful information. It makes me kind of glad I wasn’t creative enough to come up with one of the cute blog names (I’ve seen many fun ones.) If I ever get to the point of publishing and marketing, the consistency tips are definitely something I’ll keep in mind. It’s all a learning process, that’s for sure!

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    • Clar says:

      Yes, A learning curve and steep. It doesn’t come all at once. I guess that’s a good thing. If I had known all I do now about how hard it was to publish a book, i don’t think I would go through with it. Now if it finally does get published, I’ll have a whole new thing to learn about marketing. lol.

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  10. Joanna says:

    Hazel has your address and you should receive the book soon. 🙂

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    • Clar says:

      Oh! thanks, Joanna. I’m looking forward to it.

      Hey readers! I won a book “HIdden New Jersey.” It sounds like so much fun. I’ll keep ya’ll posted. 🙂

      Like

  11. Great tips!! Stopping by from the campaign.

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  12. This is great stuff. I learned a lot of this in my previous job, but never put much stock in it until I realized I had to do it myself. It was hard to use “my name” as my URL and twitter page and stuff. Made me feel kind of weird, kind of nervous. Now I’m used to it, but I totally see why it’s important. This book sounds wonderful. I think I need to pick it up and give it a read myself. Glad you shared.

    Also – got the book in the mail from Susanna! Wonderful! Thanks again for the fun giveaway!

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  13. Clar, I used to have a different twitter name StacyWrites, but changed it so I have the same brand across all the social media sites. You can change your name without losing your followers, etc. Most followers don’t notice until you mention it. Thanks for mentioning Kristen’s book. I purchased a PDF version and wasn’t pleased with the format. I follow her blog, but the book format didn’t appeal to me. I need to hunker down and read it. Now that I have the Kindle, I’ll have to see if it looks better there.

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  14. Thanks for summarizing Kristin Lamb’s “brand” message, Clar. I appreciate the reminder that everything we do reflects who we are, what we stand for and how we can get noticed. Using our real name across all platforms can certainly lessen confusion.

    Kathy

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, that way you are not hard to find. Readers don’t want to work to find you. If it means work, it may mean you don’t sell your book.

      I hope the conglomeration of my name won’t make it too hard to buy my book. Trouble is, I told many people it would be published by now. We keep having delays. It gets discouraging. 😦

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  15. Julie says:

    Great post Clar! I would stand by anything Kristen Lamb says. I took her blogging course last year and my stats have quadrupled! The book you’re reviewing here is great – I have it too.

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  16. Great info on what looks like a wonderful book that EVERY author/writer should read. I’m sorry I didn’t start the social networking years BEFORE my parenting/activity book came out…my blog, website, twitter and FB started in Sept 2010, which is when the book was published. There was a steep learning curve…and since I do EVERYTHING myself (for better or for worse…and it is probably the latter), it took me awhile to master things like putting up a button on the sidebar, copying pictures…simple things, but for a novice like me, they were difficult. 🙂
    As you point out, Clar, I should have been Vivian Kirkfield (or viviankirkfield) EVERYWHERE…but I wanted to “get the message across of what my mission is all about…so my book/author website is positiveparentalparticipation…a mouthful, difficult to remember, hard to type in correctly…not a smart move.
    But, it is never too late…we can always do things “better”…we just have to be open to feedback and advice from those who know what works, like Kristen Lamb. 🙂

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    • clarbojahn says:

      NO, It is never too late. You just have to work a little harder than those of us that started earlier. However I thought my book would be published by now. In fact I thought it would have gotten published a year ago. We keep getting these delays. Now there’s a printing delay. I should write a post about it but keep waiting till the problem is solved.

      Maybe you can still start branding your name. Do everything double for awhile and then slip into your name after every and all the social platforms know you by both names?

      It is hard learning everything. The curve is steep, too. I’m trying to learn the new twitter page or thinking about going over to tweetdeck for twitter. Do you do that? 🙂

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  17. REALLY interesting post, Clarike. And good to make your acquaintance (thro’ Liz Fielding) You made me think as I’ve developed quite a strong ‘brand’ name in Bluestocking Mum and when i meet fellow writers, they tend to know me more by that than my proper name!

    warm wishes

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Welcome, Blue.
      I’m confused. Is your brand Bluestocking and not your name?
      And I don’t like to admit it, but I can’t remember Liz Fielding. Can you refresh me?

      Yes, I know another author by her username and she used it as her author name on her book,too. Is this what you did? 🙂

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  18. Alayne says:

    Very informative post. My brain has been nourished. Thank you for bringing the importance of branding myself to my attention.

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  19. And now I have put my full name on my comments. A step in branding:-)

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  20. jarmvee says:

    Thanks for this post, Clarike…I’ve been wanting to read Kristen’s book for a while! Since I have not had the time, it was very helpful to read a summary of the book here. And, I wanted to say ‘hello’ from campaign group #1. I’m looking forward to all that is in store for us!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Hi back. Soon you will hear from me. I promise. I need to tackle the networks in a more balanced way. Maybe I’m doing too much. Thanks for visiting.

      This is actually only a small part of the book. I’ll review it all some day. 🙂

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