Category Archives: Branding

Principal Entertainment Aligns with Self-Publisher

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Need a New Angle? Jane Fonda Can Help!

by Brittani Hensel

I know what you’re thinking.  “What can Jane Fonda teach me about my book?”

The athletic workout queen has just released a new workout DVD and has completed research for her new book, Prime Time: Creating a Great Third Act.  The typical stereotype of older men and women neglecting the former workout routine they once had at a younger age is something Fonda says should change.

In a recent AP article, Fonda discusses that as she got older, she realized she was in a great position to help and teach older men and women the keys to staying active and being healthy.

I know…you’re still confused.  What Jane Fonda has done with this new workout DVD and book is something any author can do when they realize their book is a little out-of-date.  Instead of retiring and living with her millions of dollars made when she was young, and hip, she’s taken what she knows and assured her followers she’s still young and hip. She didn’t just sit back and think, “Well, I’ve had my moments, it’s over now.” She found a way to use what she knew to further her success as a professional workout guru.

Take a country old-time cookbook for example.  Typically country, old-time recipes call for nearly a million tablespoons of butter, and another fifty cups of vegetable oil.  But with health conscious news articles on the rise, and the public well aware that they should start monitoring their cholesterol, this cookbook seems, well…old.

If I’m the author of this cookbook, my first goal is going to be modernizing my cookbook.  A couple of tips for putting a new angle on this cookbook include focusing on that new angle of health consciousness, and explaining how to turn old recipes into healthy ones. Every cook knows there are reasonable and tasty substitutions that can turn a recipe around.  Just like Fonda, authors can take their old ideas and modernize them.

Some suggestions include:
1.  Use social media to talk about your brand
2.  Remind your followers you’re still hip: You’re an expert, and you know all about your book’s topics.
3.  Focus on what you know: If your book is about cooking, talk about the new topics and ideas in the news. If your book is about spelunking or hiking, talk about new inventions that help make these activities safer.

As always, Author Hive is here to help your book meet those timely topics and promote your brand!

5 Ways to Build Your Brand

by Maggie Hames, Social Media Specialist

Recently during a conversation with an author, I was asked an interesting question: Are we focusing on my book or me as an author?

While you do want to promote your book, the larger plan is to build your personal brand. Think of Stephen King or Danielle Steele. Their household names bring to mind a certain genre and automatically you know what type of book to expect. Their fans are drawn to every book they produce, not just one particular title.

This is the type of following every author dreams of.

Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Elevator Speech – Develop a short pitch outlining who you are as an author and what you write about. Focus on what makes you different. Be well rehearsed and able to deliver this pitch on the spot. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to spread the word.
  2. Headshot & Bio – Have a quality headshot and bio. Make this available to your readers and for use in promotional materials. A good headshot gives you instant recognition. And it could make the difference between respect and skepticism.
  3. Online ­– Begin building your network online. Whether you write about medieval times or Caribbean art, there’s a community out there. Get involved. Share relevant information. If you can, host a domain name (your name or your subject matter).
  4. Be Unique ­– Find an angle that makes you different. Don’t just be another cook book author. Why are your recipes special? Why are you special? Focus on that.
  5. Stay Positive – Building your brand can be a long journey. And you may experience rejection along the way. But focus on why you wrote your book in the first place. After all, even J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before Harry Potter made it big.

Book Buddies: Discovering Your Tribe

by Shik Love, Senior Writer

Here’s the thing, when you become a self-published author, you become a salesperson. As a newly minted salesperson you’ll be tempted to believe that your customer is your only audience. An honest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

Finding your tribe (“those like-minded souls who make your heart sing” –Kelly Cutrone) is an essential part of your success. Gathering a circle of peers, not only helps you to continue to hone your craft, it also creates a unified front in sharing opportunity-rich referrals, building brand recognition and growing book-purchasing audiences.

If you’re a children’s book author, join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. A horror writer? Join the Horror Writer’s Association. A writer annoyed by the fact that another reality-show pseudo-celeb has a New York Times bestseller, check out Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors.

Believe me, no matter how you define your work, somewhere out there is a tribal meeting in process, drumming you home.

Branding 101: Be Authentic

by Joe Bayern, Senior Vice President

Loyal readers, like any loyal customer, become invested in the person behind the book. They’ve read the creativity you’ve poured out on your pages. They feel a connection to you; they may even feel like they know you. So it’s important to be yourself.

Based on my experience working with some great brands, I believe a key component for success is maintaining authenticity.  Consumers want to know who you are and what you stand for.  This is especially important if your goal is to build a loyal following for many books to come, or perhaps looking to position yourself with a traditional publisher. 

You have tremendous power to connect directly to your consumers through the use of the internet and social networking, but in order to be successful you have to keep it real.  Consumers realize when they’re being marketed to, so start by simply engaging in a meaningful dialogue with them. 

If you have expertise to share with them, share it.  Consumers will see the value in engaging with you, and you’ll be able to build a loyal following in no time.

Branding 101: Find Creative Ways to Get Your Message in Front of Your Consumers

by Joe Bayern, Senior Vice President

Now you’ve established a message, but there’s a lot of noise out there. Even though you understand who your target audience is and developed a compelling message, you still need to find creative ways to get the message in front of those consumers. 

The good news is that the explosion of the internet, social networking and video sites has created cost effective ways to connect directly with potential customers.  The bad news is that millions of other people have access to those same consumers; so, you must find ways to stand out in the crowd. 

Try to find ways to tell your story in as many creative approaches as possible, including press releases, blogs and forums, print/online advertising and video.  Remember people are much more likely to buy your product if they’ve seen it multiple times across several different mediums. 

Also look for ways to leverage your marketing investment as many times as possible.  Videos and book trailers are great examples.  Not only are they engaging to watch, but can be used in many ways:

  1. Personal website
  2. Video press releases
  3. Email marketing campaigns
  4. Social networking sites
  5. Retailer websites

Check out the video book trailer for Deadly Encounter by Maria Johs:

Branding 101: Make Sure Your Message is Clear and Compelling

by Joe Bayern, Senior Vice President

Once you’ve established who will buy your book, you will need to develop a message for reaching out to them. Naturally most authors take tremendous pride in their work, but when you ask them what their book is about they find it difficult to provide a clear, concise synopsis of their book or—what I like to call—the elevator pitch.   As an author you have to position yourself with potential readers who are faced with an ever increasing number of choices.  If you can’t clearly explain what your book is about and why they should be interested in it, they’re probably not going to buy it.

What makes a good elevator pitch?  Check out this video from CBC’s business reality series, Dragon’s Den.  While the video is a little hokey, it’s worth viewing and remembering as you create your own elevator pitch.