I recently committed to joining on as a Round Table Mentor! Applications open on October 31, 2023 for mentees. In the lead up to launching this year’s program, mentors are sharing expertise on the Round Table Mentor blog. Here’s a repost of my recent article in three parts. This is part three. Click here to read Step One: HEAR and click here to read Step Two: CREATE.
Step Three: DELIVER
One of the ways we were able to find international buyers for the women’s artisan group and to establish an eco-tourism project in our fishing village was through a website. At the summer SCBWI conference, a presenter went so far as to say that an author’s website is the only thing they should focus on. I agree with this on one condition.
If you’re only going to stake a claim to one digital space, it should be an author website.
Ideally, one with your name (or pen name) as the address. However, I believe there are many more places where you can make an impact online in addition to your author website if you so desire. Links to each additional channel should be prominently displayed on every page of your site. The footer is a good place to do this.
Content Management Systems like WordPress (free and paid hosting options), Weebly (free and premium), Wix, (free and premium) and Squarespace (only paid options – free trial not to be confused with a free hosting plan) make this easy.
If this is another aspect of marketing that is daunting to you, find someone with CMS skills to set up your site. Setting up your website hosting is the most challenging step in the process and you can skip it if you choose WordPress, Weebly, or Wix.
After all the research you did into social media accounts, it’s time to decide which social media platform or platforms are right for you.
Again, choose the platform or platforms you will actually use.
The most important part of fulfilling your brand promise is being consistent. If you’re shy about being on camera, TikTok and Instagram may not be for you. Or, if you still have the desire to dip your toes there, get creative about the types of posts you can make that don’t require showing your face on camera. You can use images of books, bookstores, cafés where you write, quotations, or movie scenes that inspire you.
If you’d prefer to express yourself in written words, look to social platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Threads, Discord, Bluesky Social, LinkedIn, and Facebook; or, consider reaching out to potential readers by starting a Substack newsletter or writing on Medium. If you already have a list of folx who want to hear from you, look into e-newsletter platforms like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to reach them directly via email.
Build your virtual and in-person writing community to nurture an audience for your content.
Starting by being a good writing community member. This means in addition to following social media accounts, joining Facebook groups, subscribing to newsletters, and becoming a member of associations; you should participate. Whether it’s liking or re-posting, commenting or offering advice, be a giver and not just a receiver.
This applies to in-person networking, as well. Does your local library host a writing or book group? What about a middle grade speaker series? Is there a local chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) or Romance Writers of America you can join? Is there a writing or co-working space you can join near you? Any writing conferences or pitch contests coming up? If you have the means, ability, and time, volunteering is a great place to get your foot in the door of a new community.
In today’s crowded publishing landscape, creating a personal brand as an author is more important than ever. A strong personal brand can help you stand out from the competition, build a loyal following of readers, and ultimately boost sales of your books. Building your personal brand make take time, effort, and dedication, but I believe the rewards are worth it. Using the Hear, Create, Deliver framework, start building your personal brand as an author today.