“A good book sells itself.”
“Only products and services need a brand.”
“Your brand is your logo.”
How often have you come across these statements during your research on branding? These are some of the lies about author branding that the Internet is filled with. It’s Al Bargen here, and I used to believe in them myself, until I decided to actively pursue branding strategies from world-class experts. Read on as we dispel the most common branding myths.
1. Author branding and book marketing are the same.
So, you’ve written a book and are now actively marketing it. It’s a common belief that your marketing will turn out to be your brand. The truth is it won’t. Your brand is what the public’s opinion of your product or service turns out to be. So yes, it is about the message that you put out there, but the core essence of branding is your consumers’ impression of what you’re selling.
2. My book is great. It sells itself. I don’t need a brand.
Starr Hall wrote that of course a product has to be great, but its greatness has very little to do with the success of your brand and your business. Inferior products outsell superior products every day. Some successful brands only offer average-quality products. Just because your product is amazing doesn’t mean you will break sales records. So what can you do?
Starr recommends launching beta tests to get noticed early (see my own post on the topic here). Even before your book is complete, post on social media about your launch date. Ask for feedback and opinions on ideas or even some chapters. Offer discounts or give away a free digital copy to the first 100 who will fill out a survey about your subject. It’s all about building buzz before your book gets out there. Don’t forget to capture those emails from the survey respondents. More about this in future posts.
3. Only products and services need to be branded.
Personal branding seems to be a hotly debated topic. Some people believe there is no such thing as a personal brand. I disagree, and I’m not alone.
Think about it. If you’re looking for someone to sell your home, would you choose just another realtor? Or would you select someone who is clearly different from the rest? You don’t want just “a realtor”, you want someone like, say, “the results realtor.” When you’re asked what you do, would you rather say, “I’m a…” or “I’m the…”? When you say you’re “a something”, you’re just like everyone else. But when you’re “the something”, you’re special. When I market my fat loss products, I’m not just a “fat loss information marketer”. I’m the Cheeseburger Abs Guy.
4. I’ve just written my book so I don’t have a brand yet.
You have a brand, whether you know it or not. Your brand is a combination of what you do, what you say and the combined feelings that people have about you. You know the person who is always late to appointments? Well, that is part of his brand. I was part of a mastermind Skype call recently. When one of the participants logged in late, the familiar echo was heard. He didn’t announce himself but the others knew who had just shown up. One member joked that echo was part of his brand. To a huge extent, that joke was true. So be sure that you knowingly create your brand by design.
5. Branding and personal stuff don’t go together.
People buy from people they know, like and trust. They don’t connect with a product or service. They connect with people. Don’t be fearful of sharing as much of yourself as you are comfortable with to your online audience. Be vulnerable. Expose yourself. You are human after all, and so are your readers. Showing people who you really are makes your brand come to life.
“Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
So stop all the lies. Your brand is alive and vibrantly. It lives in the consciousness of everyone of your readers. It is a result of the connection that you make with them. It’s something you must value. So just pay attention to and enhance the experience you create for them and your brand will grow.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net