Third Place Winner: Building Your Brand by James Pyles


James Pyles – photo taken by David Pyles

EDIT: All three winners will have their articles published in the May edition of Inner Circle Writer’s Magazine.

by Steven Lester Carr

The panel of judges for the Building Your Brand project selected the top three entries. Today I post the third place entry written by James Pyles. Friday I posted the first place winning entry written by Elaine Marie Carnegie. Yesterday I posted the second place entry written by Peter Astle.

Third Place Winner: Building Your Brand by James Pyles

As an author, building your brand might seem obvious. Create a website /blog, use it to advertise your works, such as novels published, anthologies contributed to, and so on. Then link the heck out of them on social media (Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, etc…).

But everyone does that.

No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that. I do that. But like you (well, most of you), I missed something.

First off, what’s a brand? Bet you know the answer. I thought I knew, too. Even if you and I are right, it’s a question we should ask, and we should have a clear answer in our heads before continuing.

A “brand” in general, is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that uniquely identifies a product or service.

But as people, we’re not a good or service, are we? Well, sort of. Now we’re getting into personal branding.

A “personal brand”is marketing a human being as a brand, developing an individual’s reputation and impression to a target audience.

So, we’re back to blogging, newsletters, websites, and social media again, right?

Yes, but we’re still jumping the gun.

Who are you, why are you, as an author, a good or service, what do you want people to know about you and your writing, and who do you want to talk to?

I write short science fiction and fantasy with a side of horror (See what I did? That could be a slogan).

But so what? A lot of people write those genres, and especially among the cornucopia of indie writers, what can I (or you) do to stand out?

One way is to associate your name (mine is “James Pyles”) with a unique identifier. In my case, my blog is called “Powered by Robots” (long story as to why I chose that one).

Find out who your readers are and where they can be found. That goes back to social media but it’s not specific enough. Since I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror tales, I’ve joined a number of those public and private groups, not only as a writer but as a fan.

Face it, you hate targeted marketing as much as I do. I don’t want to be at the receiving end of a hard sell. I would be willing to relate to another writer if I thought they loved the same things I do as a reader. I’m willing to follow the blogs, social media and so on of other writers, as a fan, but that also puts my brand in front of said-authors and their readers.

Review the books of other indie writers. When they promote themselves, promote them too, with no expectation of reciprocity. You aren’t thought of as generous if you’re only giving to get.

Don’t just advertise. Get involved with your audience.

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