Your brand encompasses everything your reader sees or perceives about you and your books. If I’ve said that once, I’ve said it 5,896,458 times. And I do mean everything. That, obviously, includes your books. But it also includes non-visible intangibles, like your level of productivity and even your organization.
Twice in the past few months I’ve had new authors sign up for “new author” coaching sessions, because they are doing everything they can think of, but not getting any sales. Both were spending hours upon hours on social media promoting their book, they both spent hours building up their email lists, and both were spending hundreds in advertising and Bookbub ads.
Both authors were writing series and each only had one book published. One was still writing their second book, and the other had book two written but not up for pre-order yet. Neither had any clues about book three.
This is a common problem, especially for indie authors who write in the YA or romance genres. Readers of both genres want their books quickly, and many readers won’t touch a series until all or most of the books have been released. But, this isn’t exactly a new phenomena. It can very often take a series time to get off the ground. Many times it takes readers seeing a third or fourth book before they’ll go back to the first one. Personally, I’d never even heard of the Twilight series until mid-2007 just before the third book in the series was released.
My advice to these authors was the same…slow down on all of that promotion and focus on writing. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but you can have the most beautiful website in the world, a fantastic logo, be the worlds greatest tweeter , and have thirty thousand people in your email newsletter list, but if you only have one book out, your sales and earning potential will hit a brick wall. Even if your fans think your book is the best thing they’ve read in their lives, without new content, they will lose interest.
Productivity is key. Ideally, in order to keep their existing readers and continue to grow their audience, and indie author should be releasing around every three months. That is a ridiculous, exhausting pace. I know. But it’s truth.
It’s nearly impossible to do, especially for authors who have day jobs. That is where organization comes in. I recommend having a plan, putting that plan to paper, and then working the plan.
Here is a little example. I recently started writing under a new penname with a writing partner. Our first book released in May of this year, and on November 7, our book three will release, and we will be putting book four on preorder to release in December. We had a plan and have been working the plan, even when it feels more like it’s working us. By focusing on writing and gradually increasing the time, effort, and money we put into promotion with each release we now have nearly 10 times the number of pre-orders on our third book as the first and we’ve grown our newsletter by 2000% with minimal effort. Our brand is growing organically with less effort through our productivity.
You may be thinking that it’s easier to be that productive in a team. And you’re both right and wrong. My co-author has written and published several books on her own this year, and I have three other businesses.
As you head into the new year, I highly recommend stopping and looking at how you’ve been splitting your time. Are there ways you can spend more time and effort producing books for your readers? It doesn’t mean you have to write and release four books a year, but finding little ways to increase productivity can, ultimately, grow your brand and increase your earning potential.
Do you have any questions for June about branding or marketing? Here's your chance!
If you are in need of help getting organized or want help planning out your new year of writing, head over to Author Branding Essentials. Our Author Essential Planner is a great tool. Also, don’t forget to stop by in January for our first official PLANUARY. All month long we’ll have planning tips, publishing tips, and free printables to help you make and work your plan all year long.