No matter how great a writer you are, or how many decades of endless toil you’ve poured into perfecting your techniques, you still need to promote yourself in this digital age.
In the first of an ongoing series, Hot Marketing Tips for Writers will look at promotional techniques for writers.
Well, we’re living in an age where image is everything. Push a button and a screen flickers into life, whether it’s your TV, mobile phone or laptop, and those images will burn themselves into your mind.
As a writer, you produce your work, edit and refine it, but it doesn’t end there. You need to manipulate your image. Here’s how:
- The killer book cover: Make it striking and relevant to your material, with the title and author‘s name visible in thumbnail size (for internet viewing). There are many great book cover designers available on the web. Get surfing! Look at other book covers, those by the best sellers. What is a winning formula?
- A signature logo: Some authors use an emblem or avatar to show who they are. It adds a professional touch.
- An author photo: In the past, one of the perks of being an author was the anonymity that went with it. Not any more! The digital age has brought writers and their readers closer to each other, and a photo aids that engagement. There’s the classic head and shoulders shot, the quirky/arty sideways half-shot, or the bizarre/bowl of fruit super-quirky snap. Or you could just default to your signature logo. Whichever you choose, you’ll need to use your photo in the all of the arenas and forums you inhabit such as Facebook, twitter etc.
- Dress sense: It might seem unimportant, but these days with live appearances and readings an expected part of a writer’s repertoire, it needs serious consideration. Is a plain old t-shirt and jeans enough? Probably not. Then again, a bow tie and velvet waistcoat may be pushing it too far towards the theatrical. But something is needed, so it’s worth thinking about this.
- Hair: You need to make the most of what you’ve got. For men, a full-length beard always impresses, gives a scholarly look whilst maintaining an air of madness, and so is recommended. For the ladies, facial hair is not recommended.
- Blog/website: Whichever one of these you choose, and you probably need one to showcase your work and to engage with readers/fans, don’t skimp on the design. Put your own stamp on it with photos and images, and spend some time constructing an interesting author bio for it.
- Eccentricities: If asked to appear publicly, insist on something interesting as part of your terms and conditions. I’m not recommending asking for 12 white kittens, 6 scantily clad models and a champagne fountain, diva style, but asking for a specific brand of Earl Grey tea and a bone china tea set could be enough, for example.
- Unusual hobbies: Collecting Nazi regalia or dining on roadkill would be a bit suspect to admit, so it’s best not to mention them if you are an enthusiast. But, if you have a passion for building scale models of steam trains, or play the harp then they are perfectly acceptable hobbies to mention.
Well, those are just a few ideas, and I hope it’s given you something to chew on. And the next installment of Hot Marketing Tips for Writers will be heading your way soon.