I’ve touched on this before, the importance of marketing yourself and your book(s) and how you conduct yourself on social media, but today I’m going to take you step-by-step on how to do this effectively.
Who are you? Take some time to think about this. Then think about your book(s). How do you relate to those books you’ve written? Where did the character come from, or the plot? Surely, it’s a part of you.
Think of all the qualities that make up you, and then combine that with the characteristics of your books. Some of you write in more than one genre, so there may be a third combination. The only real difficulty would be if you wrote both children’s books and erotica; that could pose a problem!
As a writer, you’re also a reader. Probably, as a writer, when you read you become the character, yes? Do you ever notice yourself doing or saying something that, at least in your head, SOUNDS like something a book character would do or say?
Create your look. Think of yourself as a successful author of [fill in the blank]. How would you look? How would you dress? Let’s say you’ve been invited to appear on the Today Show. What would you do or say to complement your book?
For myself, I’d still wear jeans and boots and my leather blazer. I write dystopian fiction—I don’t want to look as though I write romance. An author must “fit” with her book. If I DID write romance, I’d opt for probably a pink suit (cliché, yes!), stockings, heels, fancy hairdo, perfect manicure, etc.
How do you picture yourself in terms of your book? Don’t you “get into character” when you write? Quite often, but not always of course, a writer projects much of his or her own quirks and mannerisms into a book and/or character. Use what you’ve got!
Your voice is important too—your speaking voice, not your writing style. Think about all the authors you’ve seen or know of who make professional appearances and study what they say and how they say it. Modulate your tones to complement your book.
Look at this way: if you watched a non-fiction author of, say, an historical tome about the Holocaust, doing a live TV interview, and she was giggly and distracted, what would you think? I would think she’s kind of an airhead and just maybe her book is also full of distractions and possibly not very well-researched. Maybe that’s unfair, but hey, first impressions . . .
Pull all this together and you have YOUR IMAGE. This is it, there may be a few tweaks over time and with more experience (and more books!), but now you have an image and it’s time to plaster that image all over the Internet and anywhere else you can.
I already covered the dos and don’ts of Internet promotion, so I’m just going to add that it’s VERY IMPORTANT to stick with this image you’ve created. Even on your “personal” pages and accounts, to a point. Sure, you can talk about personal stuff, but ALWAYS remember your image.
Particularly important are those times you mess up—using “to” when you mean “too,” “apart of” when you mean “a part of,” and other things like that. Frankly, it makes you look like an idiot and really, who wants to read a book full of that?
HINT: If you simply make a mistake, and are not truly an idiot, there is an “edit” button on Facebook and you can delete the Tweet and re-do it. So it’s completely inexcusable.
And finally, stay out of arguments, political, religious, or actual or imagined slights from others online. That person you have a problem with is online, and that person has friends and acquaintances. You could have a huge blow-up, and that’s going to hurt your image, unless, of course, your image is a whiny, self-indulgent attention seeker. But that’s not going to help your career.
All of this sound familiar? It is. And it bear repeating, over and over. Your image isn’t something that just occurs to you one day, and it’s not automatic. It takes work, just like writing. Go do it.