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478 Posts tagged with the marketing tag

When I speak with indie authors about their marketing efforts, one thing I hear quite often is that they have no idea how to find people who will review their books. For many this is a huge source of frustration, not to mention disappointment, which is completely understandable given all the time and effort they spent writing the book.

If you're in that boat, one great way to secure reviews is to reach out to book bloggers. Book bloggers love reviewing books, and most of them don't care who the publisher is. As long as the genre is up their alley, they are interested!

Here are some useful links for finding relevant bloggers for your book:



Book Blogger Directory

Book Blogger List

100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews

Blog Rank

Book Bloggers International


The key is to send each blogger you contact a personalized note that makes it clear you aren't just spamming everyone in the universe with the same request. You can use a templated blurb about your book, etc., but always begin your email with something specific about the blogger in question. Doing so takes extra time, but it's well worth it as you're much more likely to get a response.


Here's a useful trick: once you identify a blog that's perfect for your book, check to see which bloggers that blogger follows. Most book bloggers post links to their favorite book blogs, so why not contact those book lovers too? It's an easy way to find more target readers, and you can repeat this process over and over and over.


Another great thing about book bloggers is that if you ask them, in addition to posting their review of your book on their blog, they will usually post it on Amazon. Just remember to ask! In my experience avid book readers are very nice people, so there's no reason to be afraid of them. They love books, which means they love authors. And that means you!


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at


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Get Reviews for Your Indie Book

Marketing Tip: Reach Out to Bloggers

18,045 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, social, book_reviews, bloggers, author_marketing, author_advice

     You can promote your book without spending your life savings. Think locally. Design an ad that highlights both your book and its local author (you). Now find outlets around your community to promote your book. That's it. It's that simple. Okay, see you next blog post...I guess I could make a few suggestions on where to promote your book. Here are five businesses to approach about promoting your books:


  1. The Stage: Communities large and small have at least one playhouse that produces four to six shows a year. Each one of those shows has programs with bios for the cast and crew. They also sell ad space in those programs, and it's quite affordable.
  2. The Silver Screen: Find the nearest independent movie house and look for promotional opportunities. You may be able to create a slide for those pre-show images that cycle through on the screen, or you might even be able to hang a flyer/poster near the concession stand for a nominal fee.
  3. The Weekly: Metropolitan areas in particular have weekly alternative papers that offer advertising space at a reasonable rate
  4. The Coffee Shop: Independently owned coffee shops and/or bakeries may let you hang a flyer/poster in their establishment. If not free, the cost would most likely be negligible.
  5. The Farmers' Market: The Farmers' Market has become a staple of most communities these days. Horticulture artisans and craftsmen of every ilk set up tables and sell their wares. If you don't want to set up your own table to sell your book, perhaps individual vendors would rent out a corner of their tables for you to display your flyer/poster.


That should give you a head start in finding inexpensive local promotional opportunities. I'm sure you can think of even more on your own. Don't forget to share your marketing efforts on your social media accounts.


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor

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Small marketing steps: alternative newspapers

Coffee and books

1,547 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, self-publishing, promotion, marketing_strategy

I'm a big fan of applying for awards, but like every book marketing strategy, it has its drawbacks. I asked Lauren White of the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs) for her honest take on the pros and cons of applying for awards, and here's what she had to say:



Book awards are so effective because they judge books based on merit, and buyers and readers understand how rare and valuable that judgment is in today's age of paid reviews and social media self-promotion. And for self-publishers, the legitimacy and publicity that follow an award win can be unfortunately crucial to getting in the door with booksellers, librarians, and readers; with thousands of books to choose from, that shiny seal of approval from a reputed contest can make a world of difference.

Not to be overlooked is the morale boost and affirmation that come with an award. A panel of judges has understood and valued your unique message, and your work has not gone unseen. For many, that is the impetus and inspiration to continue writing and sharing stories.




Like many marketing services, awards cost money--usually an entry fee from $50-$125. Winning a prestigious award is absolutely worth that fee; relative to other marketing options, it is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your title. But there is a catch: unlike other marketing options, there is no guarantee your money will result in anything, as there is no guarantee you will win. If you are operating on a very tight budget, that $100 might be best spent on a promotional service that is less of a gamble.


Furthermore, not winning can be disheartening. Always remember that the competition is fierce, and that your words have value regardless of the contest's outcome!

Thanks to Lauren for her candor! To learn more about the IPPYs, click here.

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at


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Book marketing tip: apply for awards

Should you attend a writers conference?







866 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, promotion, book_awards, awards


When I speak to authors who are struggling to gain traction for their books, I like to ask them what has worked for them, however small the scale. In my experience, most authors have done at least one thing that has led to a few sales. They have also usually tried a few tactics that were a big fat bust. (I certainly have!)



Then I tell them two things:


1)    Do A LOT more of whatever you did that worked.

2)    Share what you;ve learned on your blog, website, Twitter account, etc.

Many authors have no idea what to blog or tweet about, so their social media feeds are a stream of announcements that sound painfully like the following:

Tweet #1: BUY MY BOOK!



Tweet #4: BUY MY BOOK!

When I see Twitter feeds like that, I immediately tune out. However, imagine a Twitter feed that intersperses useful information and encourages user interaction in between promoting the author's work. For example:

Tweet #1: Here's how I sold 10 signed books in one afternoon (include link to a blog post).

Tweet #2: Hi fellow authors, I tried selling my novel at a book fair, but I felt like it was a waste of time and money--have you had better luck? Please respond and RT!

Tweet #3: Exciting news! My novel (name) is on sale today for just (price). Click here if you'd like to check it out (include hyperlink to Amazon page).


While book promotion is important, no one likes a chest-beater. Remember that a fair amount of those who read your posts are probably in the same boat as you, i.e., fellow authors. Respect your audience by sharing more than selling, and you'll probably get better results.

-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at

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Social Networking Sells Your Brand


Don't make this marketing mistake





9,361 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, promotion, publishing, social_media, marketing_tips, marketing_advice

Chamber of commerce

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 7, 2016

A chamber of commerce is an association created to promote and protect the interests of local business owners. You are a local business owner. Your business is writing. There's a good chance you don't have employees, but you may avail yourself of the services of other local business owners like editors, graphic designers, web designers, etc. In short, you are part of the local business community, and it's not just a chamber of commerce, it is your chamber of commerce.

I tell you this because most indie authors consider themselves lone wolves without much in the way of support. That can cause focusing on making a go of it that much harder. When you feel alone, you feel underappreciated, and sometimes it's hard to find the motivation to get out there and promote your work.

Your chamber of commerce is in place to assist you. One of the ways they do that is by providing networking opportunities. Most chamber of commerce organizations across the country host monthly after hours parties for small business owners of every size where they can mingle and make connections that can help increase their bottom lines. Your success as an indie author helps the local economy just as much as the local software company. You should be attending these parties and making the connections that will help your bottom line.


You are not alone. You are a small business owner trying to make a buck. Don't shy away from attending networking events at your local chamber of commerce. Mingle and start building your support system.

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor

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You are an artist

Building an author brand: Networking


858 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, networking, author, community, local_marketing

The first wave

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 29, 2016


As you devise a marketing strategy for the release of your new book, what role will your first wave play? Do you have a first wave? No?



Your first wave is your most supportive fans. In the beginning, your first wave will consist of friends and family, but over the course of your career as an indie author, your first wave will grow to include people who know you strictly through your books. They will reach out to you and let you know how much they enjoyed your work. They will ask when your next book will be released. They will spread the word about your books to their friends and families.



Do not take their interest lightly. Reach out to them and thank them. Include their contact information on your list of first-wave fans. When you start developing your marketing plan for your next book, let your first wave know about your plans. Include them in your strategy. They are essentially the first tier of your volunteer sales force.



You may even give them an action item. Ask them to let their networks of friends and family know about the upcoming release. Make sure they have all the crucial information: the date of the release, the full title, the book description, the book launch details, etc. Give them the ammunition they need to help you sell books.



Find a way to reward them. If you're doing a print version of the book, you could send them a pre-release signed copy of the book, or you could gift them a digital copy of the book as soon as it's released.



Your first wave is your opportunity to supercharge your release. Instead of you acting alone, you will have a team helping you get the word out.




-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor


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The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect


Have Fun with Marketing



945 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_release, marketing_strategy, marketing_plan, grassroots, fan_base


There is something about going to an event and being an active participant that makes it more special than if you're just a passive participant. When you take part in an event, you claim part ownership in that activity. You invest yourself.

As an author building a brand, you may want to keep this in mind when you're planning an event. Instead of doing a standard reading or signing, plan something that requires those who attend to participate. Gear the activity around elements of your book to create a natural tie-in of course, but break out of the standard mold and be bold.

Perhaps your book is a suspense novel about a cross-country runner being stalked in the woods. Why not get with a local charity and organize a fun run with you as the host and ads for your book on every scrap of paper and signage. Maybe a cat or a dog plays a major role in your novel. Why not organize a small un-adopted pet pageant with your local shelter to raise awareness for both them and you.

These are just random ideas, but you get the point. Find an activity and cause that have associations with your book, and create an environment where attendees have to participate. Such a strategy will create a buzz among those attending and their cadre of friends and followers online. It will give all an opportunity to share pictures and videos from the day's festivities, spreading word about your brand even wider.

Remember, people are having fun when participation is required.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor



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Preparing for a Personal Appearance


How to Make an Author Event Eventful


1,234 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, events, author_brand

If you're an aspiring author, get ready to hear the following question approximately 10 billion times:


"What's your book about?"


As you already know if you've already written a book, pretty much everyone and anyone in your life will ask you that question, from people you know well to people you just met in the waiting room at your dentist's office. So it's really important to be able to answer it quickly.

Short and sweet.

Make it count.

Pique their interest.

You get the point.

If you start describing your book as, "Well, it's kind of hard to explain, but...there's a good chance that you've already lost the interest of whoever is on the other side of the conversation. If your pitch grabs someone';s attention, however, he or she might whip out a smartphone right there and then to order your book on Amazon. That's happened to me many times, so I'm not just saying that in a "you never know" kind of way. Trust me; I know! Every interaction you have is a potential sale.


While it's critical to have a concise, compelling description of your book when it's available for purchase, having one as you're writing it is also important. Why? Because it ensures that you have an interesting plot. Trust me, I know this too, because I recently spent way too many months struggling to write a novel for which I never had a clear vision. I should have realized that I was in trouble early on because anytime someone asked me what I was working on, I found myself uttering the dreaded "Um...well it's hard to explain, but..."

You know what happened to that manuscript? Nothing! Once I (finally) realized I didn't have an interesting story, I pulled the plug on it. It was a painful lesson to learn, and I wish I'd read a blog post like this one to save me a lot of time and effort. So please, learn from my mistake!

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at

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Marketing Tip: Know When to Be Concise

How to Craft a Compelling Book Description

1,045 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, author, indie, pitch, descriptions, elevator_pitch

Social media is a fairly ubiquitous term these days. It encompasses a vast array of virtual space and includes hundreds of millions of people. An author can easily get lost in the clutter of brands trying to get noticed. What you need is a social media influencer to champion your brand! That is, you need someone with their own well established brand to make their followers aware of your author brand.

A social media influencer isn't just somebody who has a large following, and that's too bad because those individuals are easy to find if you just do the smallest amount of research. A true social media influencer has the right kind of following--that is to say, one that is relevant to your author brand. As an author of a genre, you are most likely a fan of that genre outside of your own work, which means you may already be participating in a group dynamic with one or more social media influencers, and you just didn't know it.

Social media influencers pride themselves on being innovators, early adapters, and trendsetters. They want to know the newest offerings in their world. You will be doing them a favor by contacting them and letting them know about your book(s). Don't be shy. Normally, indie holds a special place in social media influencers' hearts because it gives them a greater chance of being the source influencer, meaning the word starts with them and gives them more credibility. Think of social influencers as a news agency trying to get the scoop. You are the scoop.


Find social media influencers who are relevant to your author brand, and who have a large, loyal following, and give them the opportunity to discover your work.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor

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Building an Author Brand: The Author Brands You Promote


Mingle Marketing





1,043 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, branding, social_media, platform, author_brand, author_platform, social_media_advice

A sense of urgency

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 25, 2016

Limited Time Offer!


Offer Expires Soon!


Sale Ends Tomorrow!


While Supplies Last!

The above are examples of ad copy we've all seen before. Other than the exclamation point, they all have one thing in common. It's the ad world's version of "show; don't tell." Each slogan conveys the same feeling, and it's a feeling meant to move consumers to run to their favorite shop, virtual or actual, and buy, buy, buy. That feeling is a sense of urgency.

It is meant to leave consumers feeling as if they are about to miss out on an incredible offer. It is either stated outright or implied that time is running out. The sweetheart deals will soon be gone and those who miss out will be left with nothing but a sense of regret.

As you devise a strategy to bring awareness to your book or books, look for a way to build a sense of urgency into your messaging. Perhaps it's reduced pricing for your book. What better way to use this urgency strategy. Highlight the limited time of the price reduction, and make it clear daily in your social media circle that the time is growing shorter to take advantage of the sale price.

Or perhaps you want to give away a dozen signed copies of your book. Don't think that the giveaway is enough to entice readers. The sense that the signed copies are limited editions and will be gone soon is the real promotion. Hammer that point home.

Sometimes to sell books, you have to have time on your side. The best way to do that is to limit the amount of time readers can participate in a promotion for your book. Make them feel as if they are about to miss out on an incredible opportunity.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Three marketing websites for authors


Guerrilla book marketing tactic





1,150 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, self-publishing, sales, promotions, social_media, how_to_promote

Many debut authors don't know what to put in their bios. That's understandable! In fact, I recently met a debut novelist--I'll call her Lucy--whose bio at the end of her book was one line long. It said exactly this:

This is Lucy's first novel. She lives in San Francisco.

She laughed and said she knew it wasn't much, but she had no idea what else to write. She had't won any awards. She'd never written anything before. She didn't feel she had any relevant professional experience.

If you're in the same boat as Lucy, here are my two cents on the issue: I don't think what you write in your bio is as important as how you write it.

By "how you write it," I mean two things:

1)    You write it well. That means no grammatical errors, no crazy long sentences, and no weird syntax.

If you're putting yourself out there as a professional writer, be sure that's reflected in your bio. (For example, I've lost track of how many indie authors refer to themselves as Authors in their bios.)

2)    Your bio shows readers what they can expect in your writing.

If your book is positioned as a comedy, make your bio funny! If your bio makes me laugh, I'm much more likely to want to read your book. If your book is a mystery, write something mysterious about yourself. (I could never write a mystery, so I'm not sure what I would do in this case, but you get my point.)

Of course if you have specific life experience that relates directly to the content of your book (e.g., you were a police officer for 20 years and the book is about a detective, or if you're a nurse or a doctor and the novel is about life in a hospital), of course include that information in your bio. For the rest of us who simply make things up for our stories, I truly believe that elements one and two are enough. So stop stressing and get writing!

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at


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Marketing Tip: Set up an Author Page on Amazon

Why Grammatical Errors in Your Author Bio Can Sink Your Sales


1,136 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, promotion, writing, author_biography

As I've mentioned before, I read a lot about book marketing and publishing. The other day I came across an article about an indie author who had recently published a novel about baseball. I love sports and thought his book sounded interesting, so I looked it up on Amazon. There were just two reviews, one of which was five stars and had the title: Great book. Among other glowing things, the review said the book was "a nice easy read for kids of all ages" and "well worth the time and money."

Then I noticed that the name of the reviewer looked strangely familiar. I scrolled to the top of the page and realized it was the same as the author! I couldn't believe someone would have the gall to give his own book a five-star review, but there it was, staring me in the face.

Needless to say, I didn't buy the book. How could I support such unethical behavior?

I've said more than once in this space that I believe asking friends and family to positively review your book is a bad idea. It puts them in an awkward position (what if they didn't like your book?), and it's just not credible. Reviewing your book yourself is even worse. Of course you think it's worthy of five stars; you wrote it! But that's beside the point. For reviews to mean anything, they need to be written by objective readers. That's the point of reviews.

The only time I think it's OK for a friend to write a review is if that person proactively tells you that he/she enjoyed your book. In that case, feel free to say, "Thank you! Would you mind putting that into a review?" Otherwise, don't do it. All you're going to do is shoot your credibility--and your sales--in the foot.


-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg


Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at


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Get Reviews for Your Indie Book

Dos and Don'ts of Soliciting Book Reviews


1,377 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, sales, writing, promotions, book_reviews


You've written an engrossing mystery novel. Now what? It's time to dive into the marketing end of the publishing process and to do so with as much gusto as you showed writing the book. You are going to want to incorporate a mixture of conventional marketing strategies and…nontraditional strategies.

     Since you can use your favorite search engine to find a plethora of conventional book marketing strategies, let us focus on the nontraditional route in this blog post. Did I mention that nontraditional means fun?


  1. Murder mystery themed gala: Yeah, I know. Gala sounds expensive. Don't worry. All it really means is a party or celebration, but if you use the word "gala" in your marketing material, you add a little bit of panache to your event. This is a simple idea that requires a lot of planning. You're going to use friends and family to stage a murder mystery game in the middle of your gala, using characters and themes from you book. You won't follow the conclusion of your book or reveal little twists, of course. You don't want to give away any spoilers, but you do want to give attendees a taste of your story. They'll still have a blast. If you have the budget to hire a troupe of actors, all the better.
  2. Ten-minute plays: Speaking of actors, approach a local theater about renting their space for an evening of 10-minute plays based on material from your book. You'll want to focus on those passages and chapters in your book that emphasize character development. I'll be taking this route myself for an upcoming release, and I won't be writing the 10-minute plays. I'm handing material to a group of playwrights whom I know and trust and letting them have fun with it.
  3. At the movies: Thrillers and mystery films are never in short supply at your local movie theaters. Before the movie starts and before they show trailers of upcoming films, they usually show ads for local businesses. You are a local business. Your ad doesn't have to be fancy. It just has to be effective.

The mystery genre has a number of marketing opportunities that other genres don't have. Go the traditional book marketing route, yes, but don't be afraid to use your imagination and explore crazy ideas. Those crazy ideas have the biggest potential to become shared events on social media. The most important thing to remember is to have fun.


Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Should you spend money on traditional advertising?


Take your book to the theatre





1,324 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, self-publishing, promotion, writing, novels, mystery, promotions, writing_advice

Social media in 2016

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 27, 2016

     Since we are fast approaching the mid-point of 2016, we should probably examine the current state of social media. After all, it is not a static platform. People are participating in all sorts of different ways, and some approaches are more effective than others. I'm going to keep the information fairly general, but for specifics feel free to search for "Social Media in 2016," and you will find a plethora of data to support what you read here and even more detailed information on how you can more effectively utilize your social media platform.

  1. The fastest-growing group of social media users will be those who are 65 and older.
  2. The younger demographics will see the slowest amount of growth, but they will still outnumber the older demographics by a wide margin.
  3. Videos offer the most opportunity for engagement by a huge margin.
  4. Specialized social media sites are starting to emerge as significant players. If you've got an interest, who knows? There might be a social media site devoted to that interest.
  5. Live streaming is becoming more and more popular. It's as easy as downloading a live streaming app to your phone and turning on the video camera.
  6. Online marketing companies are trending toward creating mobile marketing strategies first. Consumers are just spending more time on their mobile devices than laptops and desktops these days.
  7. Social media analytics are all the rage. Tracking your social media activity means you can identify how and where to find engagement. Engagement creates brand loyalty. Brand loyalty generates sales.
  8. Social media users trend toward supporting brands that adopt a cause and devote a portion of their social media real estate to that cause.
  9. The selfie trend will continue to grow for every demographic except the fastest-growing social media users, the 65 and older crew. They will continue to hate the selfie trend.
  10. Video profiles will continue to grow in popularity. Think of it as an author photo with motion and sound.


For the most part, it is business as usual in the social media kingdom. I urge you all to check for trends frequently so you can become an early adopter and find much more success than a late arriver.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Marketing: Begin with Your Strengths


Social Networking Sells Your Brand





1,351 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, blogging, social_media, vlogging, social_platform

Be original

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 20, 2016

If you've followed along in previous posts, I'm sure you've made your Author's Declaration, you've established your platform priority, you've plotted out how to use your secondary planks to support your main plank, and you've become a strident believer in developing a schedule. The last bit of brand-building inventory we need to discuss is the type of content you'll be showcasing on your platform.

In this case, when I say "type," I'm referring to the origin of your content. From where will it come? If you take nothing else from these blog posts on brand building, remember this one thing: original content is king. Material that comes from you has the greatest potential to be tied to your brand. The goal is to produce something that is worthy of being shared. When it's shared on social media platforms, friends of friends and followers of followers and so forth and so on are linked back to your brand's platform. The more share-worthy material you produce, the greater the opportunity that your brand's outreach will grow.

With your commitment to scheduling, you've established half of the consistency quotient. The other half has to do with your brand’s focus. Yes, you’ll be discussing your books, but it can’t be just about your books. You have to include other passions in your brand identity too--and I do mean passions. If you're into gardening, produce original content about gardening. If politics is your thing, jump into political topics with both feet. Sports, relationships, television, theatre, or whatever captures your interest, make room for it on your platform, and do it consistently. Give your brand depth based on your passions. It's the most effective way to give your author brand staying power.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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Blogging - "Why would anyone care what I have to say?"

Setting Goals for Your Brand


617 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, branding, brand_building, be_original
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