For the past few months I’ve been focused on writing and not on social media. Hey, even the Social Media Jedi can get burnout 😉 . But now we’re going to shift gears because, aside from writing the actual book, social media (branding) is the biggest part of our job. And I can hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth already.
Here’s the thing. We don’t have to do social media. No one will take us to writer jail if we don’t. So I will narrow this down. If you simply love the art of writing and don’t necessarily long to be paid for writing, social media is not that big of a priority. Social media is only important for those of us who like money.
Thus, for those of us who want to make a living as a professional author, we must take author branding seriously. We are a business. Want to be successful? Do what successful people do. Successful authors have a brand and use social media well.
When I first began blogging about social media, an on-line platform was an edge. Now? It is a lifeline.
Point of Sale Has Changed FOREVER
When Hubby and I first married seven years ago, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a bookstore. Barnes & Noble and Borders megastores crouched at every corner. They were large and fatted from all the small indie bookstores they’d devoured.
We would peruse the shelves and I’d dream of the day I’d see my books out on those display tables. But even then, I had a knot in my stomach. I knew these were halcyon days for the mega-store. We’d already seen what iTunes had done to Tower Records and logic dictated these mega-bookstores were already living on borrowed time.
And sometimes I hate it when I’m right.
Over the past seven years we’ve watched various evolutions of decay and decline. Borders consolidated and then finally went bankrupt. Barnes & Noble tried to launch the Nook. Instead of the front of the store being books, it was a display area for Nooks and Nook accessories. Then, when that didn’t ignite like the Kindle Fire, we saw a steady progression of more and more and more consolidation.
I am from Fort Worth. At one point, there were five Barnes and Nobles all within a couple miles of each other. They are now all gone.
Thing is, Borders and Barnes & Noble erased all the indies. Now they are gone. What does this mean for writers?
Fewer point of sale contacts.
There are fewer and fewer physical places to purchase books. For those authors who were counting on readers discovering their titles while browsing? This is bad juju. I live in a very metropolitan area and I know of only a handful of Barnes & Nobles for the entire DFW Area (a metroplex the size of Connecticut).
I just sent off one of my novels to an agent. Would I love to see my book in Barnes & Noble? PSHAW! Duh, YES! I’m a writer.
Like you guys, I’ve dreamed of that since I wrote my first novels in crayon. But I am not naive. Yes, being in a bookstore serves my vanity, but it is no longer the major driver of sales that it used to be.
Even if bookstores sold a LOT of books, frankly there aren’t that many bookstores left.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter all that much simply because there is a really good reason for this store shrinkage. And since I blogged about this until I was BLUE, I will only touch on this point.
We need consumers more than they need us.
Pay Attention to Consumer Behavior
Thing is, Barnes & Noble could have learned a thing or ten from iTunes and RedBox. Times have changed and so have consumer behaviors. We are an OnDemand world. In the old days, we had to go to the merchant. These days, the merchant comes to us.
CLICK TO BUY!
When I finish one book, my Kindle magically delivers other books like the one I just read. Instead of having to wear pants, brave traffic, find a parking spot, wade through the mall, wander the store, on and on and on…
One click and done.
I just got a new Kindle and O…M…G. They have a new feature where instead of my Kindle simply hibernating with some blasé picture, it has an advertisement for a book. I have bought more books in the past week than in the past year because instead of me having to use a bunch of brainpower sifting through a gazillion choices?
Amazon has done my thinking for me.
We Buy What We KNOW
What happens with authors who don’t have that neat Amazon ad to direct purchases? In a marketplace with fewer and fewer points of sale with more competition than ever in human history, how do we sell books?
We have to create a brand.
We live in a time where we have more choices than ever. I don’t know about you guys, but I have a Love-Hate relationship with Central Market. Granted, it is AWESOME. Central Market is such a cool grocery store that tourists actually visit. Every aisle is a foodie’s dream. They don’t just have “olive oil”, they have 700 varieties of an olive oil “experience”.
And there I stand for 40 minutes just trying to make a freaking decision about WHICH olive oil to buy…and end up just buying plain old Bertolli that I could have purchased at the Kroger’s down the road and that I certainly didn’t need to dress up, drive to Central Market and nearly get run over by a soccer mom in a Mercedes SUV to purchase.
Now, the only time I go to Central Market is if I need something specific because with all the choices? It would take me a day and a half to shop…and I’d need sherpas and GPS and wine that I brought myself because I can’t even figure out what kind of freaking OLIVE OIL I want, you think aI could choose WINE…?????
*breathes in paper bag*
Yet, with books, this is what is going on with consumers, even those of us who are avid readers. Just like we will forgo the pasta sauce with truffles, a virgin sacrifice and the distilled souls of Italian grandmothers in favor of good old-fashioned Ragu…
We will shy away from authors we don’t know in favor of those we DO know.
This is where social media and branding become almost as important as the book we write and have for sale. We could have a book so brilliant it makes angels weep, but if no one knows it is there? We are left with Schrodinger’s Novel.
We Must Always Be Cultivating the Fans of the Future
It is incumbent upon us as authors to be in charge of our careers for the short-term as well as the long-term. If you plan on selling books in ten years realize that Millenials will be your audience and they practically teethed on a keyboard. They’ve grown up with social media, so if we aren’t there?
We do not exist.
Smart authors understand this. Don’t believe me, go check out Anne Rice on Facebook and Twitter. She is a social media rockstar and that’s why she continues to be a legend.
It’s All Good
Before anyone has a panic attack, author branding is not that hard. Also, done properly, it isn’t all that time-intensive either. But, I teach branding and social media very differently namely because I am a writer FIRST. I don’t imagine most of you are just doing this writing thing until your dream job in high pressure sales comes through.
Didn’t think so.
I will blog more on this in the weeks to come, but I do recommend picking up my book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World. Platforms take time to build so the sooner we start the better. Yes, I published the book a couple years ago, but unlike other “social media experts” I teach an approach that never changes because it is based on people and not technology.
Read Shakespeare. Humans don’t change. And, since humans don’t change, it only makes sense to build a platform based on people, not algorithms and “gaming” the system.
I also have zero interest in changing your personalities. I appreciate what it is like to be a creative introvert with severe social anxiety (I used to shop at 2 a.m. because crowds gave me panic attacks). My goal is to change your behavior, NOT your personality. I am also here to give you a way to create a powerful brand for FREE and still have plenty of time to do the most important part of the job.
Write more books.
So we will start chatting more about branding. What to do, what not to do. What’s a time suck and so forth.
What are your thoughts? Do you miss the small bookstores? I really miss B. Dalton. Do you still dream of seeing your book for sale on a table at B&N? Have you been powerless in the face of Kindle book ads? I had to sign up for a Kindle Unlimited membership before I had to go to a loan shark to pay for my habit. Are you overwhelmed by social media or has it given you a lifeline?
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of SEPTEMBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.
#1 by Eugenie Black on September 25, 2015 - 10:31 am
Oh yes – I love my Kindle. I love the way it introduces me to authors I haven’t met yet but who I will probably like because I like that genre. I have seen and bought so many books in just this browsing way. So yes – I want my books to be there in that browsing area below. I have your book Kristen. Time to read it, I think!
#2 by tmcasciano on September 25, 2015 - 10:35 am
I have a Nook, but do love wandering through a bookstore!
#3 by Stephanie Scott on September 25, 2015 - 12:25 pm
I’ve had a Nook for 4 or so years now. I really hope it stays afloat!
#4 by veldabrotherton on September 25, 2015 - 10:38 am
As always, you are on the money. Er, sorry. I found that becoming a big frog in a small pond is the best way to start but it can so easily end there. The next step is so difficult, but all we can do is keep working at that branding that will lead us to becoming well known out there in the immense ocean. One thing we should all do is keep reading this blog because we can learn from it without losing ourselves. Thanks, Kirsten.
#5 by angelaackerman1 on September 25, 2015 - 10:43 am
Great post as always. 🙂
#6 by olivialoch on September 25, 2015 - 10:44 am
I miss bookstores a lot. There are quite a few close by still but I have to make my way through the jungle of brie bakers, picture frames and gardening tools to get to the books. I miss the magical feel of bookstores. There was something really magical about perusing shelves of stories and then finding something that seemed to fit just right in my hand? heart? and taking it home with me. I love my ereader and still buy physical books when I need a pick-me-up.
#7 by Stan R. Mitchell on September 25, 2015 - 10:45 am
Thank you for the crucial reminder. Been a little lame on social media lately. Need to re-read your book! (And writers, if you haven’t bought it, it’s worth every penny!)
#8 by foguth on September 25, 2015 - 10:48 am
I have a nook, but prefer to use the Kindle Ap on my iPad as a reader.
While I have my books at KDP, the majority of my sales are through Smashwords, through which my books are listed at B&N, iBooks, etc…. I will never understand why people want to read a book on a tiny iPhone screen, but apparently they do.
#9 by Stephanie Scott on September 25, 2015 - 12:28 pm
I have a Samsung Galaxy edge which is wider and longer (but not as big as the note). With older smart phones, I did not enjoy reading on my phone. I just read a whole book on my new phone and barely minded b/c the screen is so much bigger and sharper. Reading sites like Wattpad I prefer to use on the phone; the navigation is (seems?) easier since they know their reader base is largely mobile.
#10 by Kathryn Jane on September 25, 2015 - 10:49 am
Reblogged this on Mystery and Romance.
#11 by A. Blaze on September 25, 2015 - 10:51 am
As a new author the branding is something that I’m constantly struggling with and trying to find my own niche. I love my Kindle and the app. However I do still live the feel of a real book in my hands. Thank you and look forward to learning more from you.
#12 by Southpaw, HR Sinclair on September 25, 2015 - 10:52 am
I love how you turn a phrase “you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a bookstore.” 🙂
I’m lucky, there is a cute, little bookstore just a few blocks from where I live. It’s small, but I can get my bookstore fix walking in and wandering around.
#13 by peggy pena on September 25, 2015 - 10:56 am
Your words are just what I need to hear everytime I open your email!! It is very commendable that you are helping your competition..:-)
#14 by Pauline Baird Jones on September 25, 2015 - 10:57 am
I miss the memory of what bookstores used to mean to me, the wonder of going to the library and finding an author I love and whole shelf of their books to work through. But…I love my kindle and iPad and yes, iPhone, and rarely read a print book anymore. And I love that I have access to so many books. Bookstores never had all the books there were to read. I was shocked when I realized how many books I wasn’t seeing. So I love having lots of books to choose from. I love having something to read available to me to read where I am without having to bust my shoulder hauling books around. The last time I went into a bookstore to find a book about Roswell, the help desk gal didn’t KNOW ABOUT ROSWELL. I get more help finding out stuff on line than in a bookstore. So yeah, I miss the dream, the past of bookstores, but I don’t miss the reality of them as much as I thought I would.
#15 by terrirochenski on September 25, 2015 - 10:58 am
Great post. I’m looking forward to your future posts on branding!!!
#16 by Lisanne Harrington on September 25, 2015 - 11:15 am
I admit it. Branding scares the shit out of me. Just trying to figure out WHAT my brand should be makes me break out in a cold sweat. I write in a couple of different genres, so how do I brand that? Do I need a separate “brand” for each genre? Is there a way to hook up with a cross-over brand that makes sense to all? It’s enough to send me screaming into the night.
I miss bookstores. The closest one is 10 miles away in an area I never go to. Sigh. The only place around that sells books anymore is either Haggen’s or Target, and shopping for books in a supermarket just isn’t the same as a real bookstore.
I love the smell of a new book. Catching a whiff of pastrami when I put that book up to my face just doesn’t cut it.
Where have all the flowers…er…bookstores gone, Kristen?
#17 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 25, 2015 - 12:16 pm
No, you only need ONE brand. YOU are the brand 😉 .
#18 by annaerishkigal on September 25, 2015 - 11:16 am
“I appreciate what it is like to be a creative introvert with severe social anxiety (I used to shop at 2 a.m. because crowds gave me panic attacks)…”
OMG! You do that too?
Yes … bookstores … I am both sad, and NOT SAD, to see them go. Sad because I have many fond memories of browsing the shelves to find a great new read. NOT SAD because they were rude to me and discriminated against me, so every time I send a reader to Amazon or GooglePlay to buy my book, I fell like ‘Hah! Sucker! How does it feeeeeel to be on the receiving end of your own bad-juju!” Bonus points if it’s a LOCAL reader.
Branding is important. If done properly and you connect directly with your readers in some way, you will weather the burps and farts of the various algorithms.
#19 by Jennifer Reyes Cabaluna on September 25, 2015 - 11:34 am
I was once a victim of online reading. Urgh the ebooks and all. It is amazing to be honest but I prefer the bookstores more. The smell of the pages turning..the air you breathe while flipping the pages.. The dreadful line you have to get into just to buy that one book you love.. The 2-minute decision making time whether to cover it with decorated plastic cover or the plain ones..oh I would sign a petition to save the bookstores of the world if I have to. Although I love Author Branding and stuff I still want to read books cover to cover..feeling my heavy bag because of all the books I have to carry to the park. Haha
#20 by Mike Gutowski (@dadx3gMike) on September 25, 2015 - 11:37 am
This piece is the best I have ever read about modern day marketing of books. Thank you so much.
#21 by lori beasley bradley on September 25, 2015 - 11:42 am
Reblogged this on Lori Beasley Bradley my writing and commented:
This is interesting and a necessary evil for writers today … unfortunately!
#22 by nesskingsley on September 25, 2015 - 11:49 am
‘when that didn’t ignite like the Kindle Fire’ … was that a sort of pun?
#23 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 25, 2015 - 12:26 pm
Why yes it was. I was rather proud of myself *gets cramp patting self on back* 😀
#24 by Angela Macala-Guajardo on September 25, 2015 - 11:54 am
Reblogged this on Chronicles of a Nerd and commented:
Very important stuff to consider that I’ve tried to turn a blind eye to and have paid the price for it.
#25 by Angela Macala-Guajardo on September 25, 2015 - 11:56 am
I worked at a B&N for a year and immediately switched to Kindle after leaving. How sad is that?
#26 by Rachel Thompson on September 25, 2015 - 12:26 pm
Unfortunately you are right, social media seems indispensable. I do know some that have made out using old fashion tactics. One guy I know writes humor about the law and lawyers. He advertises in law journals and periodicals which started his brisk sales. He’s now also on Amazon and Smash Words. Very funny stuff. He has his books printed and mails them out himself. He is the publisher and distributor. After many sale ,traditional publishing came after him with offers. He refused them. He doesn’t need them, he’s made a few 100K without any help. It’s a niche market thing. I know others that have done well doing the same kind of things in specific markets. It is possible to get around social media and main stream publishing and still make money. Old fashion pounding the pavement still works if you have a specific plan and a market with tread-ready pavement. I had a business for years, never advertised or marketed to the general public where I plied my trades and I never lacked for work; it was all done by networking and word of mouth. Yes social media is important, but so is the old face-to-face method, going direct to the market that wants what you have still gets sales. Both methods together is a concrete foot in the reader’s door.
#27 by Stephanie Scott on September 25, 2015 - 12:33 pm
I just attended a local author fair. Most were local or nearby states with a mix of self pub and traditionally published. One author got the rights back to an old series and re-branded so they had similar look and feel to her new series. When her trad publisher didn’t want the next 2 in her series, she wrote them herself and designed the covers to match and used same fonts and formatting in the pages. She definitely had a brand and was savvy in how she presented her work.
A few others I saw seemed to struggle with mismatched covers, no real materials to hand out, not much engagement at the book fair. I imagine not every writer has an inner sales person inside them, but overall if you aren’t chatty then at least have a pro looking product to do the work for you!
#28 by Pooch Smooches on September 25, 2015 - 1:07 pm
This makes me happy to read as I’ve worked hard to build my brand. I like to say I write “Fido-friendly fiction – humorous and heart-warming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives,” and my social media presence is all about connecting with other dog lovers. Also, after my publisher came out with the covers for my 2 latest books, I went back and had the cover on my self-pubbed title redone to match. I think it’s important to have everything have the same look. Be branding all the time!
I do miss bookstores, but I myself rarely buy a book in a store anymore. I prefer to read digital books now, so the vast majority of what i buy is digital. (I used to LOVE to collect books but after having to almost evacuate during one of So Cal’s fires, I realized how little I cared about most of the “stuff” in our house. It’s basically the reason I stopped buying books, movies, cd’s – love to get all that “stuff” digitally now.) I guess it’s just the *idea* of bookstores that I mostly miss. Maybe I should hang out in the library more. 🙂
I’m sure you saw Hugh Howey’s recent blog post about Jamie McGuire’s big Walmart deal. It’s exciting that folks can still browse for books (although obviously a much smaller pool of books) at places like Walmart and Target where they’re already shopping anyway. My two latest will be in Walmart next month – fingers crossed that Walmart shoppers enjoy impulse purchasing books. Here’s hoping it goes well and I don’t end up with a ton of returns! eek.
(BTW, I rarely comment but read your posts often. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into them!)
#29 by Melissa Keaster on September 25, 2015 - 1:59 pm
I’m reading Rise of the Machines now, and am learning a ton. I appreciate the personable approach you teach. As an introvert, I can’t sell myself, but I can BE myself. Caring for people comes naturally to me, and doesn’t feel smarmy or spammy.
#30 by Jennifer Jensen on September 25, 2015 - 2:01 pm
I do miss bookstores. I didn’t buy a lot because of budget constraints, but I miss the smell and the browsing and the “gee, look how much time I’ve spent here!” moments. I still prefer paper books – the library and Goodwill are where I do my browsing now – buy most new books I buy are on my Kindle. And yes, I *do* still wish my books were on B&N shelves! I’m in the middle of a middle-grade series, and that age group isn’t yet into ebooks.
Looking forward to future posts – I was in one of your early WANA classes, and I’m still trying to find my feet blogging. Thanks for everything!
#31 by Crystal Dawn on September 25, 2015 - 2:15 pm
I have been working with social media and it does make a difference. I don’t really mind posting interesting things and sometimes I forget to post information on my own books. I think a positive outlook is important too. I find I enjoy the interaction with my readers. I have lot in common with many of them above and beyond a love of reading.
#32 by Kathryn Leigh on September 25, 2015 - 2:24 pm
The whole time I was reading this post, I was thinking about the NY Times article that just came out about how ebook sales were down and/or physical book sales were up. I’m not writing that to contradict you at all; I’d just found some hope in the article and in John Scalzi’s response to the article. Of course, all of it is relative, so when compared to a decade ago, ebook sales are obviously still taking over the market. However, it’s a comfort to me that things seem to be leveling out a bit.
As a writer, I’m not particularly bothered by the thought that my book may never sit on a physical shelf in a bookstore. I’m still unpublished and unrepresented, so I’m more worried about my book never reaching a readable format. However, as a reader, I’m bothered by the shift from wandering in a book store, slowly turning pages to the click-clicking away without discretion. I’m among the very few Millennials who’ve yet to jump on-board the ebook bandwagon. I stubbornly cling to my library card and refuse to put an internet connection in my home. I almost lost my mind when Borders went bankrupt, because I found it to be a much more cozy, less mainstream store than Barnes and Noble. Switching over to the B & N has been quite the scandal for me, and I’m more likely than ever to drive for forty minutes nowadays to the closest indie bookstore, because I can’t stand the thought of the dystopian future where one of my friends or family is foolish enough to gift me with a Kindle.
#33 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 25, 2015 - 2:38 pm
Even if physical book sales are up, that still doesn’t mean consumers purchased them in a bookstore. Amazon is a major distributor of paper books. I know because that is where I buy mine. So I would be interested to see where the point of sale is. And yeah, I agree about the bookstore. I love them too. But the plain fact is that what used to be mainstream is now an anachronism. I even noticed B&N now sells vinyl records for an added dose of irony.
#34 by T.D. Donley on September 25, 2015 - 4:24 pm
Great post! And by the way, I have your book and it’s fantastic! I would recommend it to anyone trying to create a marketing platform. Very insightful information.
#35 by Wendy L. Macdonald on September 25, 2015 - 5:34 pm
Kristen, thanks for reminding us why we need to keep blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking stuff our followers want to see. They will only be a mouse click away from buying a book of ours if they like our brand. I know I’ve been loading up my Kindle because of authors I meet online.
Blessings on your weekend ~ Wendy
#36 by Deborah Makarios on September 25, 2015 - 5:59 pm
I am still working on having something to sell! but keeping a blog on the boil at the same time.
#37 by K. L. Hallam on September 25, 2015 - 6:09 pm
Ooh, I like that as a slogan, Pooch Smooches Hang out in a library if you want that bookstore experience. 🙂 This is so helpful, Kristin. I have no idea what I’m doing–yet. Thank you for guiding a way.
#38 by sharonhughson on September 25, 2015 - 6:57 pm
I just spent HOURS trying to find a more “me” theme for my website and ended up going back to what I had. Which used to be customized differently but now doesn’t show the featured images anymore. Not that I know why. This isn’t my specialty. And I’m married to a computer geek, but he doesn’t want to go near my website with a ten-foot pole.
Sure, I could have my awesome web host check out things for me but that costs money, and I’ve made a whopping -$238.50 in 2015. Yes, that number should be in red.
So while I joined Facebook and Twitter at the instruction of your awesome advice, I hardly even stop in at Twitter for ten minutes per day and Facebook has become a place I’d rather hang out when I should be writing. No, I don’t avoid writing for it, but editing, rewriting, polishing, proofing. I’m happy to avoid those things.
I want to build my brand, but two years later, I feel like I’m treading water and have cramps in both legs. Not a good thing.
#39 by Jeff Lee on September 25, 2015 - 7:51 pm
I wrote my first novel after retiring from advertising, where I was a successful print and broadcast copywriter and creatice director. I’m a heckofa good and funny writer, but when it come to online and the new media, I’ma ish out off water. What you have to say makes perfect sense, and thank you.
#40 by kdrose1 on September 25, 2015 - 8:44 pm
I miss bookstores. First the independent ones and now just any of them. I miss wandering the aisles and finding random treasures to go home and read. I can’t do that on Amazon. The screen cover and the blurb aren’t the same. I buy plenty of books on Amazon. Tons. It makes it even easier for this introvert to just stay home and find out great books and authors via social media, look them up and buy or not. But its not the same as bookstores. And then there’s libraries. I may never “really be published” because I may never end up on a bookstore shelf.
Social media I’ve got. Just still learning how much of the “me” to put in social MEdia. Branding- that’s a whole other thing- that I missed. Lots of catch up work to do.
#41 by thewriteedge on September 25, 2015 - 9:20 pm
B. Dalton! And also Waldenbooks! Did anyone else ever shop there? My parents encouraged my love of reading but made buying books a special treat, and I have fond memories of walking the stacks of both stores just to revel in how many books lined the shelves.
I think I’ve got the branding thing down and I do social media for personal relationships, but making it work for my professional writing life is a whole different ballgame. I can’t wait to learn more, Kristen, and just reading your approach in this post tells me in my gut that your way is probably more sustainable than what I’ve been reading on other sites. Thank you so much for everything you do for authors!
#42 by Foster Haskell on September 25, 2015 - 11:28 pm
I miss bookstores, but they are going the way of the dinosaur; I’ve accepted that and moved on.
I started the whole branding thing, got onto facebook, twitter, etc, then kinda stalled out….
#43 by Katherine Bacher on September 26, 2015 - 12:17 am
I may have put the cart before the horse. I have my Author Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but still working on my first novel. I find myself flip flopping between excited and terrified. But, hopefully my book will find its way to people, and they’ll find they like it and want more. I’m slightly over halfway of my first draft, and am in the process of looking for a critique partner(s). Thanks for all of your advice! I went to your seminar at ECWC 2014, and it was invaluable!
#44 by mleighdunham on September 27, 2015 - 9:58 am
I’m doing the same thing Katherine. I’m still working on my first novel (actually two) but I’m also building a blog and twitter presence. But you are far ahead of me with your manuscript, congratulations and good luck with that!
#45 by Katherine Bacher on September 26, 2015 - 12:18 am
Oh! I’m also going to link your post through my blog!
#46 by Kellie Doherty on September 26, 2015 - 1:22 am
Great post! Branding is so important.
#47 by Emmy on September 26, 2015 - 1:57 am
Being able to build your own brand by means of social media is awesome in a sense because it leaves you in control. But sometimes it feels like a lot of work that can be undone when you have periods when you feel you don’t have much to say and would rather hide away from the internet. You know, like in real life, when you’d rather curl up on the couch than going out to be ‘social’ 🙂
#48 by Lora D on September 26, 2015 - 2:29 am
When I read one of your lines, I thought, “That’s awesome!” and immediately went to click the “like” button. Seriously!! Then I was disappointed that I couldn’t do it. 😉 I’m old, too…
We can try to fight it, but technology is utterly consuming–take a dip in the river anywhere and you’ll be sucked into the current…then shoved over the edge of a raging waterfall. Never to return (only reminisce).
Like you and others, I love the ease of online shopping, but I still buy paperbacks. I don’t care if they’re more expensive. They’re more “real” to me. Also, I pretty much *never* take online suggestions (they irritate me). I only risk trying new authors if my favorite authors promote someone else’s book–I take that seriously. If I like the new author, I end up buying all of their books!
So branding really does work, even for people who are still fighting against technological takeover. 🙂
#49 by artdogjan on September 26, 2015 - 4:17 am
I’ve recently been reading The Rise of the Machines, and I have to say it’s changing my whole perspective. I’ve already gone through an earlier career of having agents and “killing” a publisher (said they would buy my novel, then went belly-up). For family reasons I had to back off writing for a few years, but I’m back now, and I am having to learn publishing all over again from scratch. I’ve read a lot of things about publishing recently, but few make more sense than yours. Thank you!
#50 by Claudette Melanson - Author of Dark Fantasy on September 26, 2015 - 6:13 am
Reblogged this on Claudette Melanson, Author of Dark Fantasy and commented:
#51 by Claudette Melanson - Author of Dark Fantasy on September 26, 2015 - 6:14 am
Great article! Definitely going to check out Rise of the Machines
#52 by Theresa Schevis on September 26, 2015 - 6:30 am
I’m a dinosaur, I’m not particle fond of reading a book off a screen. I like holding the book in my hands and reading it. I know eventually I will have to succumb to the times, but right now I still like to go to Barnes and Noble and get lost in the world of books. It’s one of my favorite outing’s, I could spend hours in the store. Seeing my book on a bookshelf is a dream of mine and hopefully someday it will happen. . .
#53 by Icy Sedgwick on September 26, 2015 - 6:50 am
I teach branding as part of graphic design and while I understand it applied to other individuals, companies etc., I am CLUELESS when it comes to applying it to myself. I have interests, even academic interests, a visual aesthetic, all that which all tie into one thing (Gothic) but that doesn’t really cover what I’ve had published. Soooo confusing. So I’m waiting with baited breath for something I can get my teeth into to help me figure it out!
#54 by flahertylandscape on September 26, 2015 - 6:53 am
The history til today–summarizes where we’ve been to get to 2015–thank you. And the passionate, yet logical urging for us authors to place use where we need to be to make our work available to others–priceless.
#55 by flahertylandscape on September 26, 2015 - 6:55 am
Reblogged this on flahertylandscape and commented:
Here is a nice bit of context in the dramatically changing world of publishing.
#56 by Serena Dracis, Author on September 26, 2015 - 8:26 am
One of my worst days ever was walking through the big mall and realizing that there was not one bookstore in the entire mega-temple of consumerism. I actually cried a little. Then immediately went to the B&N that still lives just down the street from my house and was able to stop hyperventilating.
I have not one but two brands and platforms to build. I tried, but couldn’t make it happen as the paranormal romance writing animal trainer. Too mushy. Too complicated. Now the big question is do I cross promote myself? I use my real name as well as a pen name for my separate genres.
I always have to do things the hard way.
#57 by MonaKarel on September 26, 2015 - 9:29 am
Reblogged this on Mona Karel Author and commented:
It’s a beautiful September morning, my favorite time in New Mexico. I was preparing a quick pictures and pithy comment blog when Kristen, once again, gave me a quick mama wolf shake. Pay attention! she told me. I did, and I think you should do.
#58 by MonaKarel on September 26, 2015 - 9:32 am
I changed that to you should too. Sigh. Too early for my fingers
#59 by charlaynedenney on September 26, 2015 - 10:46 am
I’ve been thinking along these same lines for awhile myself. As I write this, I’m in a hotel in your neck of the woods (DFW Airport area) at an SF/F/fandom convention where I’m one of the author guests. It’s face-time. I do 5 panels and a signing at all the ones I attend. Would that we could do this every weekend…
I am on Facebook. I’m not real savy at twitter, just seems weird. I am struggling to learn WordPress because I need to totally revamp my website. I have a Pintrest site, with all my interests and my book stuff in it. I love playing with that, just so much interesting things out there.
But, for now, it’s face-time, I’m due in a panel about Clueless Characters in about an hour and I still have to hunt down breakfast. I’ll be in the hospitality suite, another opportunity to talk with the fans and ask them “Do you like vampires? How about Angels? Oh, ever wonder what they think of each other?”
One more chance to connect.
#60 by dianaranslam on September 26, 2015 - 2:19 pm
One of the things I love about my town is that we have three independent bookstores (we had a Borders, and this excludes the university bookstore which carries books from their press).
#61 by Sarah Brentyn on September 26, 2015 - 2:31 pm
I recently blogged about social media and also, as you did, referred to it as a “lifeline” though I may have also made mention of a noose. So, for me, “yes” to the overwhelmed question. You speak truth here though we all need to take a deep breath and figure out how much and when and all that. Social media is strangling the life out of me. (I need to reread your book.) 😉
#62 by Calisa Rhose on September 26, 2015 - 6:03 pm
Reblogged this on and commented:
Kristen Lamb hits the nail on the head with branding! I’m buying a new book this payday. 🙂
#63 by Calisa Rhose on September 26, 2015 - 6:07 pm
Great post, Kristen. I also reblogged this on my blog Pen of the Dreamer (aka the Ranch). http://calisarhose.com/2015/09/26/why-our-author-brand-is-more-important-than-ever-before/
I’d love to have you as a guest when you have a moment. firstname.lastname@example.org
#64 by Melissa Groeling on September 26, 2015 - 6:14 pm
I honestly miss Borders. It had all the quirky books that B&N never carried…and still doesn’t carry. Great post.
#65 by Meg Wolfe on September 27, 2015 - 2:08 pm
The timing of this post is perfect for me–I’ve had a gradual shift in my own acceptance of this reality over the past few months, and am about to embark on updating and refining my author brand, from book covers to blog to ads. I also picked up a copy of Rise of the Machines, and am writing a blog post of my own on the topic, with a shameless reference and link to this one! All as part of a genuine effort toward raising my profile–and upping my game. Thanks, Kirsten!
#66 by The Ardent Rose on September 27, 2015 - 8:22 pm
I have been going nuts trying to figure out this branding thing. Help! Please!
#67 by kakymc on September 27, 2015 - 9:24 pm
I’m saving this post in my “great advice” folder. It’s just the encouragement I need to submit that first post on my empty blog page. I very much appreciate your viewpoint as an introvert, and if I had an active blog, I’d definitely link to this. Thank you!
#68 by davidablomberg on September 27, 2015 - 11:44 pm
I get back to the states once a year and purchase a bunch of books to bring back to Japan with me. I also buy a lot of books at import prices at Kinokuniya here. That all said I do buy a number of books on Kindle software on my Android. Sadly I find a number of books cheaper in physical form rather than the soft versions. I like the point about branding, with the loss of the brick and mortar, we really need to ensure we stay in front of the potential and actual fans.
#69 by macmamava on September 28, 2015 - 8:09 am
It’s funny (not funny ha,ha) that you bring this topic of discussion up. Funny, because I’m always joking to others about creating my “brand” before any book deal, yet you state the importance of doing just that! Looking forward to your upcoming posts regarding this topic.
#70 by corporea1 on September 28, 2015 - 9:43 am
I just bought my first kindle a few weeks ago and used it to buy your book! I have an art blog and just started a writing blog. Is that something I could combine since they are both things that represent me, or should I keep them separate?
#71 by Walker McKnight on September 28, 2015 - 9:44 am
Really excited to learn how to make the brand work into a fun conversation with fans and peers.
#72 by Tamye Whitener on September 29, 2015 - 12:14 am
Reblogged this on Books, Coffee, and Crafts' News and commented:
Interesting article on the need for Author Branding. A must read for any author who wants to succeed financially. I really enjoyed this article.
#73 by Tamye Whitener on September 29, 2015 - 12:22 am
Thanks for the wonderful article. Shared it all over and reblogged. We have one used bookstore in town. Otherwise we have to drive over 30 miles to the nearest Barnes & Nobles. I remember when we had a B&N, BAM, B Dalton within a 1/4 mile of each other. It’s sad, but a fact of life, and one I confess to being very grateful for. I can’t drive, so Amazon keeps me in books. INSTANTLY!
#74 by lonestarjake88 on September 29, 2015 - 10:26 am
You don’t know how right you are Kristen. I’m a Millennial. I was born into MySpace, YouTube, and Message boards. You’d think I would love social media. Truth is, I’m a private person so I actually can’t stand it.
However, I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn because you are right. You have to be willing to brand yourself.
#75 by aurorajeanalexander on September 30, 2015 - 1:56 pm
I have to admit, I’m quite excited about my Kindle reader. But I as well have to be careful not to go overboard. It’s so easy to buy and buy… without any control. Before the books I wanted to read were clearly collected in a clean and proper pile. And I was taking the one on the bottom because I got it first. But since I got my Kindle It’s different and I have to make a list. (And yes… I still got the older Kindle version with the keyboard – and love it.)
Thanks for another great post, Kristen.
#76 by Jesse Magnan on November 30, 2015 - 12:25 pm
I love going back and finding insight that I may have missed before. I wonder if enough people go back and read what they may have missed?
#77 by Sue Ranscht on May 19, 2016 - 2:35 pm
Reblogged this on Space, Time, and Raspberries and commented:
Sorry I didn’t know about Kristen Lamb last September, but I know about her now!
If you’re an author who wants to learn about branding, you should know about her, too.
#78 by Felicia on May 20, 2016 - 1:34 pm
Reblogged this on and commented:
A very interesting article!