Romantic Times Recap: Author Branding Success Stories

By Kelly Peterson, Director of Client Services

Left to Right: Rebeccah Royce, Author; Christina Bauer, Author & co-founder of Ink Monster; Kelly Peterson, Director of Client Services, INscribe Digital; Naleighna Kai, Author and CEO of Macro Marketing and Promotions Group

Whoever said “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?” I’m not listening to that…I’m ready to spill all the secrets!  As I expected, attending Romantic Times Booklovers Conference was the highlight of the year so far, and my panels got a great response from the standing-room-only attendees. I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to work with very knowledgeable people in the industry. The first panel in which I participated was Author Branding Success Stories with Naleighna Kai, Christina Bauer, and Rebecca Royce. These successful romance authors have built faithful readerships, and had a lot to share about how they did it. Here are the biggest takeaways:

Defining Your Brand and Your Core Reader Demographics
Establish your voice to ensure it matches your brand

Each of our authors put a great deal of time and thought into their targeted audience. Each of our authors knew exactly who they were trying to reach. As a co-founder of Ink Monster, Christina Bauer developed a very specific concept. Ink Monster’s branding is “Publishers of Books, Creators of Worlds, Kickers of Ass.” Christina has spent countless hours researching stats about Girl Geeks. Did you know that nearly half of all video gamers are women? Naleighna Kai, author and CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, writes for both an Af-Am and General Romance audience, branching into a wider audience range. She markets effectively by partnering with other authors in the same genre, so they can cross-promote each other. Author Rebecca Royce focuses on Paranormal and Series readers by engaging with online reading communities and networking with other authors. After the panel, they were trying to figure out how to market to each other’s readerships: you can tell these ladies know what they are doing!

Using Key Search Terms to Help Your Book Get Discovered
What are readers in your demographic searching for?

If you’re an author, you’re likely a big fan of reading, right? Think about how you find your next fix. Do you go directly to the retailer sites or do you survey online communities? What search terms do you use? Network with other authors and readers to find out what other people search for. Insert these key terms into your description, author bio, AND keywords; most importantly, pick the most specific BISAC codes to really hone in on where your book is shelved on retailer sites.

Engaging Your Fans and Driving Sales on Social Media
Leverage the power of Social Media so the fans can find you!

Our authors connect with readers through newsletters, online forum participation, and offer bargains and giveaways to draw new readers. They recommend a website that includes a blog and links to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. They also connect their blog with their author page on Amazon and on Goodreads. It’s critical to understand what each platform is most effective at and to use that to connect with your readers. For example, Facebook is a great place to engage with communities, and you can get lots of followers by putting up photos of your covers (or your cover models!) on Pinterest and Tumblr. Share content that will engage your readers. Many social media platforms also offer affordable advertising options, so think about how to maximize their use.

Manage Your Time and Build a Support System
You will need a strong support team that includes conversion and retailer outreach.

This will save you time in the end, but you need to make clear objectives and stick to deadlines. This is really important for keeping yourself sane and your fans happy. Set your timeline, create a master schedule and marketing schedule, get your reviews, and rely on your partners to get their tasks done. Be realistic, and don’t forget to put time and effort into your own needs. You can’t be everything for everyone, so be honest with yourself, and get partners for things you aren’t good at.  Your muse and sales will thank you!

Take a look at our slideshare from the panel for more of the juicy details.

[slideshare id=60738281&doc=rtauthorbrandinglastreview4-7-2016-160411054623]

For additional tips and best practices from INscribe Digital, please see our previous blog posts:

Seven Keys to Digital Publishing Success
Creating eBooks Bestsellers: Free eBooks
Creating eBooks Bestsellers: Discount Marketing
Creating eBooks Bestsellers: Merchandising at Retailers
Creating eBooks Bestsellers: Plan Ahead with Pre-Orders
Looking Good In the Digital World