Guest Expert: Lexi Revellian
Your Name Is Your Brand…
…unless you are JK Rowling, then your brand is also Harry Potter. But that’s only because she hasn’t yet written anything else. So make the most of it.
It is said that consumers need to see an item seven times before it registers enough with them to consider buying it. We don’t have the advantage of our books being in bookshops, or reviewed in the national press, or advertised on the Underground. We have to create our own consumer awareness, and it’s easier to do that if you stick to the same name.
As a self-published author, you do all your own marketing (unless you are incredibly lucky in your spouse) and what you are marketing is YOU. Okay, it’s your books you want to sell, but the one constant with all the books you write is your name on the cover. It’s your brand; it’s what you need readers to remember when they are telling friends about the terrific novel they have just finished. Maximise it.
• Do you have an ordinary name, one that is shared by thousands of other people? If so, consider changing it. You may not want to do this as drastically as I did, inventing a unique name, Revellian, to come up first in Google. But if your name is John Smith, at least think about calling yourself John X. Smith, even if your middle name isn’t Xavier. No one will find you otherwise, as you’ll be lost in a cyber crowd of John Smiths.
• Once you have your author name, use it on EVERYTHING. Twitter, Facebook, your website and blog. Do not tweet under the name Randomwriter, or blog under the title Hitting the Keys. When you go on a forum, use JohnXSmith as your username, not Avidauthor. When you comment on blogs, make sure your name is there with a link to your blog. Back in the days when I went on Authonomy, many members had funny or strange usernames. Some of them have now self-published, but I’m never sure who they are. Does this matter? Yes, because I won’t say, “Oh, I remember reading the start of her book. It was really good, and look, there it is on Amazon for 99p,” and buy it.
• Use a nice authorly shot of yourself for your avatar. Not you as a child, not a cute puppy or kitten, and especially not a cat with an ‘amusing’ tag – what is it with cats? (To digress for a moment, why on earth do writers tell you about their unruly pets in their bios?) In short, nothing wacky. No, choose a photo of yourself looking professional so that readers will take you seriously. The old advice for an ambitious secretary was to dress as if she was already in management. The same rule applies to self-published writers; look at what successful mainstream authors do, and follow suit.
Everything you do on the internet can help create a buzz around your name. Make sure that if a reader, publisher or agent googles it, she will a) find you, and b) like what she sees.
Lexi Revellian has written four novels, and has self-published two, Remix and Replica, in e-format and paperback. Since last August, she has sold more than 36,00 copies, mostly in the UK. Her day job is designing and making silver and jewellery – commissions include fruit bowls for 10 Downing Street and the Royal Household’s Jubilee gift to the Queen.