Nonfiction authors write for one primary reason: to become an influencer. Whether your book is self-help, business-oriented, historical, or autobiographical, chances are you wrote it to help others better understand themselves or their world.
To become an influencer, though, you must build authority as an author.
If you were hoping your book will secure you as an authority figure on its own (as in, write it and they will come), we have some tough news for you: You’re not Kevin Costner, and it won’t. It’s a great step in the right direction, but there’s a reason book firms like us exist. We can do much of the heavy lifting for you, but it’s up to you to be the author of your own destiny when it comes to building authority.
To help you get started, we compiled the following tips on how to market a book in a way that builds your authority. You’re well on your way when you gain clarity, create irresistible and shareable content, and give social media a warm embrace.
Who are you and what’s your book about? If you can’t answer those question in less than 20 seconds, you need more clarity. This clear definition needs to be at the heart of your authority-building efforts. It’s necessary for social media and speaker profiles, it’s critical for media interviews and networking, and it’s just plain essential for building your audience, selling more books, and strengthening your authority.
If you’re having trouble in this area, enlist the help of those who know you and who have already participated in your book’s journey thus far. That could be your colleague who read the book and offered a review, your neighbor who served as your proofreader in exchange for a six pack of beer (what a great neighbor, by the way) or, yes, your book firm.
In an ideal world, you should have tackled this part already for your book summary and author’s bio. What commonly happens, though, is that these elements get written by someone other than the author. They may not be in your own words. If that’s the case, you may be struggling to really “own” what’s already written.
But you need to find a way to own it now.
Dissect these descriptions and boil them down into a statement that makes you think, “Yes! That’s exactly what I’m all about!” and prompts others to respond, “Wow! Tell me more!”
Create quality, shareable content
We know what you’re thinking: You just wrote a book, and now we’re telling you to write more? Yes, we are! Creating a steady stream of content on your very own blog can help catapult your influencer status immensely by:
- Breaking down your book’s major points into bitesize pieces. You shouldn’t give away all your book’s secrets, but you can share important bits of information to entice readers into wanting more and positioning yourself as an authority in those areas.
- Using the individual posts to pitch media interview, contributed article, and speaking topics. Rarely will a media outlet or organization simply want you to tell them about the book you wrote. But they will be interested in compelling, consumable ideas that happen to be in your book.
- Increasing your search engine optimization (SEO). When a potential fan searches for a topic relevant to what you write about, you want Google and other major search engines to include you in their results. But a static website is practically invisible to search engines. A blog that is updated regularly from your site will give you a fighting chance.
- Staying relevant. A tweet sent two minutes ago can be pushed off someone’s first-page feed without them ever seeing it. To ensure your book doesn’t become old news the same day it’s released, you need to stay top of mind (and top of feed) with fresh, new, shareable content on a consistent basis.
As your online content grows, so will your credibility. Get started or supplement your efforts by writing contributed articles or guest blog posts for other influencers (which could also help expand your audience). Video is also a great way to create epic, shareable content that gives audiences an alternative way to digest the information.
Build authentic, brand-worthy social profiles
Author Seth Godin is famous for “not participating” in social media. Instead, he credits his daily blog and newsletter for adding to his author authority and says that starting his blog back in 1989 (as an email newsletter) helped it grow self-sufficiently. But get this: Seth Godin “the brand” DOES rely on social media. From his website, he points fans to his active Facebook page and a Twitter account that shares his blog feed.
So if Seth Godin—author of 18 bestselling books and professed social media cynic—still relies on social media to build his community (whether he admits it or not), who are you to keep ignoring it?
They key to making a social feed work for you is to keep it simple and authentic. We could write an entire post on the subject (and don’t worry, we will) but, for now, consider one or two social spaces you know you’ll be able to update consistently. Use a profile picture/bio and start posting in a way is genuine but also professional. Almost always—for any author—the idea of “business casual” language and style are a home run.
Then, once you’ve established where you’ll participate in social media, it’s time to make friends. There’s a classic Twitter strategy called the 80/20 rule that works for most social media participation. The idea is to broadcast or self-promote less than 20 percent of the time on your social channels. The other 80 percent (or more) of the time, you should be lifting others up in the way of retweets and engagement (asking/answering questions and commenting on what others post). Follow and engage with the influencers you hope to emulate, but always with this rule in mind.
How to make it happen
The great news is that so much of this can be done on your own, for free nonetheless. Posting to social media, blogging, and building relationships with fellow influencers are all well within your reach. You should start right now. After all, a book can give you 15 minutes of fame, but digital relevance in needed to take you from author to influence. Feel free to contact us for a free author to influencer assessment today. It may be just the thing you need to jumpstart your authority.