When a workshop leader coaxed everyone to promote their books through branding, I left the workshop confused. To my literal mind, “branding” refers to a cowboy who brands his cattle, marking it as his own, or the trademark a company uses to identify its products.
Then Facebook gave me an appreciation for branding. I’ve enjoyed entertaining my Facebook friends with my forays into the Giant supermarket and its plethora of Mylar balloons. Most of my photos present me standing or sitting by or inside a balloon tree. So now, people on the author forums have come to know me as the Balloon Author / Publisher. The NTD imprint I use for the magazine and books would work as branding too. And in the meantime, I get a chance to chat with coworkers and fellow writers.
But there are two caveats with Facebook. I know congenial buddies in the tangible world who wouldn’t mind friending me, and vice versa. It doesn’t always happen if the person has a common name. Ever attempt to friend someone, only to discover that there are over twenty members with the same name? One fellow wondered why we didn’t connect on Facebook. I couldn’t find him. So I told my buddy to look for a photo with lots of balloons. We connected a short time later. So if you’re getting serious about Facebook, include a lot of photos, especially your own, and try branding. You might be wearing a favorite shirt or tattoo.
For authors, you want to stick with the same genre as much as you can. Publishers like it because when people buy your books, they will count on you to deliver that genre. Example: Stephen King. Someone might say, oh yeah, he’s the guy who writes all the horror tales. Someone came to me asking about children’s books, and I had to say no. For NTD, people are counting on adult science fiction and dark fantasy. And yes, the balloons. The folks over at the Book Cave introduce me as the balloon lady on their podcasts. So on Facebook, I keep an album full of balloon photos.
The other caveat: if you deluge your Facebook page with “buy my book” entries, the powers that be might assume you’re spamming. This happened to someone I know, a kind person at that, and now he can’t market his books on Facebook. I try to read everyone’s entries and comment where I can, and post on general topics. Then every few days or so, post to promote my books.
In the spirit of branding, I think I shall buy more balloons next time I visit Giant.