What does growing your celebrity author mean? What is it?
Authors rarely understand how to get started marketing themselves and their books. This post will offer insight into important things to know.
What are the real goals/roles for your social media and marketing?
The goals and needs of an author are much different from that of an individual person. Everything you do outside of your personal social media sites should be geared toward marketing you as an author and marketing your book.
The mistake most authors make is that they consider book marketing as simply posting repeatedly for people to go “buy my book”.
The real purpose of your marketing is to build your author name into a recognizable image that instantly alerts folks to who you are, what you write and whether or not your writing is something of interest to them. Think about these author names to get an idea of what this means, Stephen King, Tony Robbins, JK Rowling, etc. Upon hearing your author name, the goal is that people will already know you and important information about you just as with the names listed above.
These authors have worked hard and long, but they have now become what we call celebrity authors. The goal of building your author name into a celebrity name means you will receive many benefits. You’ll also notice that with celebrity authors, the book titles are often low on the marketing strategy because people make their buying choice simply because of the authors’ name. If you love Stephen King, you are likely going to go buy his next book knowing little or nothing about it because you already trust that you’ll love it based upon his other books you loved. Even if you don’t like his books personally, you’ll buy them for people you know who do when gift buying.
Becoming a celebrity author
In order to become a celebrity author, you start by raising your credibility and authority. You perform marketing tasks that position you as someone who has the right skills, knowledge, and ability to entertain or offer specific value to your target audience. When you first start out, you are invisible to the public. Your marketing strategy or author platform as it is referred to is what will grow your visibility. This part is the hardest for new authors to understand as well as how to accomplish this goal, so let’s look at how this is done.
Building Your Author Platform
As an author there are many people that will give you advice or tell you that you need to do this or that. However the advice offered isn’t always the best because the person offering it may not have a clear understanding of what building an author platform is or they are offering you advice based upon on what they tried which may or may not have worked for them.
When you are getting started, there is much to get the hang of and learn. For this reason, it is best that you start slow and get comfortable doing a few things to start versus creating many platforms you need to manage. Doing a few things well is better than doing many things badly. It is also important to start early. It can take 30 months to gain visibility and grow an audience. This is the reason authors are often told to begin building their author platform before writing their book.
The main goal of an author’s website is two-fold. The first goal is to provide needed information for the media. The site should be professional and provide a good amount of information needed by the people who will help grow your visibility. This list includes journalists, radio hosts, bloggers, those looking for speakers and other members of the media. It is also, where industry people such as book buyers, librarians and others will come for information about you and your book. Although all of these people are looking for information about you such as your bio and book information, they will also want to read and learn more about you other than what is listed in your bio. They do this by reading your blog posts. Your blog posts give people a sense of your personality; how you speak, and more. This is important if they want to know how knowledgeable you are on your topic or how you might interview.
The second goal is for your readers. They also want to read your posts for the same reasons as marketers. However, this is where they get to know you as the person behind the name. Your opinions; beliefs and why you do the things you do that helps them to build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor. Audiences want to relate to their favorite authors. Allowing fans to get to know you and feel like a friend makes them vested in your success.
Although the majority of your website is about the professional you and media promotion, don’t forget your fans.
Facebook is the best social media site to get started. Facebook will allow you to gain visibility and lead people back to your website. Be sure to set up a professional author page versus using your personal timeline. Although you are trying to become known, it is critical to have your private timeline for private conversations with friends. Your author page is a public forum where people can come to get to know you. This is going to be your primary fan site. You are going to want to get personal in a professional manner. Getting personal here does not mean talking about private matters. It means this where you ask questions that will engage your audience. By asking questions, your fans feel like their answers matter to you, i.e., they matter. People like to show how smart they are so asking something simple such as who remembers___________ (choose something from the past) or did they ever go __________ (mention a specific place) or what’s their opinion was on __________. This places the focus on them and their importance. Ask questions appropriate to your topic or the topics of your books. Talk about why you chose to write a book on the topic you did. Not only does it give an insight into you, it’s a plug for your book that isn’t salesy. When you do plug your book, be aware that people don’t want to be "sold". The best way to sell books is to fill your audience’s needs and wants. Make your marketing about them instead of how buying your book helps you. Making you money through book sales is not their goal; it is yours. Help them help you. People want to feel needed. They want to feel special. Incorporate what matters to them into your posts and they will be happy to engage with you. If people are not engaging (liking, commenting or sharing) your posts, then you are not giving them what they want, so change it. Add some quotes. A good quote can lend insight into who you are and what makes you tick.
Facebook is the equivalent of throwing a stone into a pond. The stone landing in the water causes the smooth surface to ripple. Your circle of friends and family receive that ripple and if they engage your posts, then their friends see it, and so on just as the ripple in a pond extends outward creating new ripples until the momentum slows. Some posts will create more ripples than others will. The key is to create enough new posts that people can find ones to engage. A new person coming to your page, will often scroll through moving backward through your posts engaging ones they like providing new ripples.
G+ is the next place to set up and begin posting. Where Facebook is about friending and liking a page for folks, G+ is an open community. As the largest search engine, Google watches everything. It will automatically send your posts to other G+ users it feels will be interested, not just based upon posts they read, but also by the things they search for in the search engines. It will follow you on your public sites such as your Facebook author page and your website. It collects this data and helps you to become found in the search engines when people search for you or on your topic. The more information it has on you, the higher it will link you in the search rankings. Often times it will place you with a bio and your photo at the top or in the top ten of the search engine.
If you have information on a specific topic that you are qualified to speak on, Yahoo answers is a great place to setup a Q&A. As a moderator of your own group topic or even as a group member, you can build visibility and respect by offering answers and help to the group members. Additionally, Yahoo has not only been a huge search engine of its own, it is now owned by Bing/Microsoft gaining you even more visibility and influence.
Twitter, Instagram, Quora, Pinterest and others
Once you have successfully mastered the art of posting content your audience is looking for by receiving engagement from them, this is the time to continue to add new platforms. Each platform has its own audience, rules and visibility potential. The key is to be able to perform each one successfully; else, you’re wasting your time.
Remember, you started much of this before you published your book. How much time will you really have to expend ongoing to keep everything up can be immense especially while trying to finish your book and write new ones while writing new posts for a variety of platforms and audiences. True there is software that will allow you to post to a variety sites simultaneously; however, this doesn’t work well in the long run and many sites are beginning to restrict such posting methods. Also your audience will stop following you if they see the same posts on all sites. Different sites have different audiences and what is right for one platform may not be right for another. Don’t get lazy trying to outsmart people, because they’ll know.
After your book is published, regardless of how you published, it needs to be listed on Amazon since they are the world’s largest retailer. What authors don’t realize is how powerful this can be and how to use their Author Central account. Because there are often many authors with the same or similar names (i.e. John Smith), it’s helpful to readers to determine to which John Smith a particular book belongs. This is where Author Central comes in. You log into your Amazon account and go to Author Central and setup an author page for yourself. You add your bio, profile photo and tag/link your book(s) to your name. This allows readers to click on your name and go to your author page to learn more about you. They can see what other books you have as well as other information.
Most authors stop after loading their bio, profile photo and tagging the books. Your author page will do so much more. You can add other photos in addition to your profile picture such as pictures with fans from book signings. You can add graphics, videos, book trailers and more. There is also a blog at the bottom where you can keep people up to date on things you want them know, what you’re doing such as speaking engagements, books signings and other information to help them attend if you’re local. You can link them to your website, Facebook and other platforms. Author Central is a great place to build visibility to yourself as an author. A good author profile page will increase book sales, help you get better reviews and like Google, Facebook and others, the more you do for them, the more they promote you.
Hopefully, this has helped to show you what is means to build your author platform and build your author celebrity. It is very time consuming initially to get everything set up. How much ongoing time will be needed is dependent upon how many platforms you create and need to maintain. For this reason, go slow. Start with a couple platforms and add on slowly. After adding each platform, it may take a bit of time before you build a following so don’t get discouraged, but if it’s been awhile and you aren’t getting engagement from your audience then it’s time to try something new.
If each platform is getting engagement building you followers then you will be well on your way to becoming a celebrity author.