Even a Business of One Needs Proper Branding
Becoming a Successful Author—Part 2
A while back, I wrote an article about book promotion companies who can’t even promote themselves. They call or email you, try to sell you a book promotion package to boost your sales, and after you piss away your $700, you don’t see an increase in sales.
You can read that article here—Book Promoters and Empty Promises.
In that article, I showed that the particular company in question, Book Vine Press, had a poor social media presence; and that if earning revenue is an author’s goal, it behooves that author to spend $700 on a mutual funds account rather than throwing that money away on an empty promise.
In this article, I want to talk about branding. Branding began as the practice of literally branding a cow with a heated iron, so that potential buyers knew from which ranch the cow was raised. People paid more for a cow, or only bought a cow, from a quality ranch.
Branding has evolved into promoting via a logo, name, or style. In the world of reading, a popular brand is Bantam Books. Bantam Books was established in 1945 by Walter B. Pitkin Jr., Sidney B. Kramer, and Ian and Betty Ballantine as an exclusively mass-market paperback reprint publishing house before it began publishing other original works of fiction and nonfiction in all formats.
They’re easily recognized by the Bantam Rooster.
One of their more popular book series is A Song of Ice and Fire, which became Game of Thrones. Obviously, Bantam Books knows what they’re doing, but what of branding companies? Do they know what they’re doing?
I’m writing this article because I was recently approached by Farrow Communications.
You can see here that a representative messaged me through LinkedIn, telling me a little about Farrow Communications, and how they publish Brainhackers, which is a site that promotes articles about positive behaviors in a negative society.
The representative wanted to know if I might provide Brainhackers with some original content. She also mentioned that I could subtly promote my book as well. I didn’t know which book she meant, but I have to assume she means my self-help book, Grab Life by the Ass, which is a book about taking responsibility for your life, actions, and decisions; it’s all about not being a victim, not being offended by everything and everyone all the time.
Naturally, I checked out Brainhackers. The site provides a ton of articles and videos. I didn’t read or view anything at first because I knew that Brainhackers was published by Farrow Communications, a branding company. If Farrow Communications is a branding company, which helps other people and companies create a recognizable brand in order to better sell products and services, then Brainhackers should have a pretty big social media presence, right?
Brainhackers has 66 followers on Twitter, 135 followers on Facebook, no LinkedIn presence, and I didn’t even bother to check their Instagram. Did Farrow Communications neglect to properly brand and promote their own subsidiary?
I checked and found that Farrow Communications has 11,000 followers on Twitter, which is only modest at best, 29 followers on Facebook, no presence on LinkedIn, and saw no reason to check for an Instagram presence.
I think this is yet another example of a company trying to piggyback off an established entity or individual. I’m not trying to say that my contribution would spark Brainhackers’ success. What I am saying is that in the world of reading, writing, editing, and publishing, most established companies don’t seek you out in order to help you succeed; they seek you out in order to augment their fan base or client pool from your fan base and client pool.
In the case of Brainhackers, their representative was offering me an opportunity to contribute. In the case of Book Vine Press, they were looking to me for a handout.
Truthfully, no one ever knows what exactly helped them to succeed, but if you’ve been keeping up with me and my publishing journey, you’ll know that my answer is always the same—continuously producing quality content is your ticket. Advertising is also important, but you have to advertise the correct content to the proper audience at the right time in the right way; a tough formula to crack.
All that said, branding is very important. You want people to recognize you or your business or your products right away. A professional logo is very helpful, especially if you create some physical products like shirts, key chains, or business cards, but branding goes beyond a cute logo.
Since this article, and the previous one about book promoters, is all about being a successful writer, the best advice I can give to any aspiring or novice writer is to closely inspect successful books.
If you’re a fantasy writer, go look at all the covers for each book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Then, read the blurbs.
If you’re a romance writer, go look at all the covers for the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. Then, read the blurbs.
Find yourself a cover artist that can create something in a similar style. Find a marketer that can write professional blurbs for you. Once you find someone you like, stick with them in order to provide your potential audience a sense of continuity, and then, if your product is exceptional, people will begin to associate your brand, name, or website with quality content.
Becoming successful is not as difficult as people make it out to be. It just takes a long time, and you need to release a ton of content—quality content. Try also to focus on one thing at a time.
When I’m writing a new novel, I focus on the novel. After it’s written, and before the final editing process, I get away from that novel and write a bunch of articles or video game reviews. Then, I go back to the novel and clean it up. Don’t spread yourself too thin, writing for Quora, Medium, The Examiner, your blog, and wherever else.
It’s okay to experiment when you first set out, so that you know which platform you like, and which is most lucrative, but pick one and stick to it. Good luck to you all. Please, keep reading these articles; they are all part of my journey as a writer, and I am doing my best to present you with what actually works versus some BS formula that isn’t really even a formula at all, but just a bunch of crap designed to sell you a product or service you don’t need.
Keep creating. Thanks for reading. Be sure to stop by my Editing and Free Resources tab on StoriesbyDennis. There’s plenty of articles to help you out and all without buying anything or signing up for an email subscription. Thanks for tipping.