The Power of Your Author Name: A Message to First Time Indie Authors

Barack Obama released another book on the seventeenth of November, 2020. It was already a Best Seller with over two-thousand book reviews on Amazon just a few days after release. Obama’s name alone skyrocketed this book to the Best Seller’s List before we had time to decide what we wanted for breakfast that morning.

And Sister Soldier’s March 2021 release, “Life After Death,” the long awaited follow up to The Coldest Winter Ever is already a Best Seller. That’s right. A Best Seller and the book is not even out yet.

The same can be said of Amanda Gorman, whose poetry book The Hill We Climb, and Children’s Book, Change Sings, is already a best seller.

These books don’t release until September!

Today, we are talking about the power of your name and the role it plays in your author branding and marketing yourself as a first-time Indie Author.

What’s in a Name?

 

A person’s name is a connection to their identity and individuality. It is the history of who a person is. When you think of names that have become prolific, you are not just thinking about a person’s name. You are thinking about all the things that person has done, their experiences and contributions to the world.

Sometimes, we hear a name, and it is not a good image we see. Names like Jefferey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy make us tremble, but even these names show a name’s power. We tremble because their names are connected with the horrific things they’ve done, and hearing those names brings to our memory those heinous acts, in the same way, hearing Maya Angelou’s name gives us hope.

When branding yourself as an author, it is good to have the same author name consistent across platforms. Your name doesn’t just tell someone who you are, but it helps build brand recognition.

This means using the same name across your author’s website, the same name in your social media handles and emails, and the same name on your book covers.

“You can show genre with cover design, blurb, logo, and many other cues, but publishing under lots of names in the digital age is a recipe for disaster.” – Anne R. Allen

The more people see your work connected with your name, the more they remember who you are.

It is why we call them “Name Brands.”

Michael Jordan is a brand name, an icon whose career has made his identity equivalent to excellence. When people buy Jordans, they know they are buying a top-quality shoe. And even if it is not a top-quality shoe, it is what the people believe. Why? How did someone whose name once meant nothing now mean everything?

Well, that’s another blog post. For now, let’s just stay on topic and keep it simple.

Michael Jordan proved himself as an exceptional basketball player, and his work ethic is connected with his nameThe more his work became recognized, so did his name.

Your work and your name are connected, whether you are a servant of good or bad. If you are doing good work (in this case, we are discussing writing) and not using your name or changing your business name every six months, you make it hard for people to connect who you are with what you do.

“It’s much easier to build brand recognition if you keep all your publishing activity under the same name and the same expression of that name.” – Jane Friedman

Nikki Giovanni, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Walter Mosley, Toni Morrison, and Richard Wright.

Chances are you’ve heard these names before, and if you are like me, you will notice these names on book covers at any bookstore. You might even stop to scan or flip through the pages of a book simply because you recognize these author’s names.

Book Titles

The name of this blog started as the name of a book series I was writing.

In my Pretty Woman voice, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

While I have found a new purpose in this blog, it was a mistake to name this blog after a book. The problem with using the title of your book as your blog name, author website, or social media pages is you will probably write more books.

Are you going to create more websites and accounts for all the books you are writing?

Of course not.

Your name is one of the most powerful, FREE resources you have for marketing yourself as an author.

When you first meet someone you introduce yourself, and you start with your name because your name is your identity. It is more important than your job title and degrees. And when people remember our name, it makes us feel important, recognized, and valued.

What about Pen Names?

Anne R. Allen has published an excellent article on that already, so I will refer you there. While her post is about why pen names are not a good idea, Anne’s number one good reason for using a “pen” name is the one loophole.

  1. It’s the name you’re known by, even if it’s not the name on your birth certificate.

It is absolutely okay to use a name that you’ve been known by even if it’s not your birth name. The key is not to keep changing it though. Pick a name and stick with it.

Consider Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange, Sonia Sanchez, Kwame Ture, Whoopi Goldberg, and others. None of these people were born with those names just as I was not born Yecheilyah Ysrayl. Although I was not born Yecheilyah, I do not consider it a pen name. It is more than that, it is the name for which I am now known.

Use Your Name

“Once you know what author name you’ll be using, be relentlessly consistent in the expression of that name throughout your websites and social media accounts.”

– Jane Friedman

No matter what name you choose to brand, use that name everywhere. It will help people to identify you, and when they remember you, they remember your work.

No one cares about the title of your book or your book, for that matter.

What people care about is you, the author so it is your NAME and your author photo that will stand out the most in your social media profiles and on your website.

Think about it: It’s not about “A Promised Land.” It is about the fact that Obama wrote it. He could have titled the book The First Black President and people would have bought it. People are buying him. People are buying Obama.

I am not a fan of the term, but when people say that “people buy people,” what they mean is in the beginning, readers are interested in the person more than the book. Then as they begin to trust the person, they trust anything connected to the person, including the book.

  • Who are you?
  • What do you enjoy doing outside of writing?
  • What motivates/inspires you to write?
  • What has your journey been like?
  • What’s your story?

Instead of using a lot of different names or the title of your book, focus on branding one name across platforms.

www. AuthorName . com
Facebook.com/Author Name
Twitter: @Author Name
Instagram: @Author Name
Clubhouse: @Author Name

The stronger your brand name, the easier the marketing. We all hope to get to the point where people hear our name associated with something and run out to support it without blinking.

Use your name. That is all.


Looking for more Indie Author Tips? Check out the catalog of articles here. From this point forward, Indie Author Basics posts will publish on Wednesdays.


I am Soul is 99cents for a limited time. And remember, if you read it, review it!

Self-Publishing: Don’t Forget to Set Up Your Amazon Author Central Page

UPDATED: The layout has changed since this post was last published in 2017. I am republishing this with instructions on using the new platform, which I have found more straightforward than the previous layout.


I read a ton of books written by Indie Authors. If I like a book, I am going to click on their name on Amazon.

What happens when I click on this name are two things:

  • It will take me to the author’s page with a listing of all their books to date, along with their bio, videos and photos, blog updates, and website link.

 

  • It will take me to a page on Amazon with a listing of that author’s book, along with a lot of other authors.

The latter gives me no way of following that Author on Amazon, checking out other books they have written, or checking for a website.

Authors, don’t forget to set up your Amazon Author Central Page. In this post, I show you how.

What is an Author Central Page?

Author Central is your author page on Amazon. If this is set up, readers and supporters can click on your name under your book as seen below…

Click Link

And be taken to a page that looks like this….

Page

There’s an author photo, bio, display of all the books you have on Amazon next to your photo, and at the bottom. You can also add your blog feed to your page and videos.

Getting Started

First, go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ and sign in.

The layout of the page has changed. You used to see this page…

Now it looks like this…

And it is a lot easier to set up this way.

On this page, go to Edit Profile

It will take you to a page that looks like this.

Upload your photo here…

Add a bio here and media like photos and video

Link your blog…

Now add your books…

Scroll back up and click on Books

It will take you to a page that looks like this. If you have books already added you should see them here.

If you have no books added, simply click on the Add a Book Button

And then search your book on Amazon by your Name, Title, or ISBN

  

Now go back to profile and click here to see your page on Amazon.

It should take you back to this page

Now test it. Go back to your page and click on your name.

If set up correctly, it should take you back to the page you just left.

One other thing that makes this cool is that your bio will also show up on the book page where readers have bought it. And once again is the opportunity for readers to follow you! It looks like this.


I hope this has helped someone! Check out more Indie Author Basics Here.

Also, be sure to check out my latest interview with Felecia Causey!

5 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow

  • It Introduces You

When you comment on a post that interests you (or disinterests you) on other blogs, it introduces you to that blogger and everyone else who sees your comment. If they’ve been blogging awhile, rest assured they will click on your name and check out your blog (Do be sure your name is linked to your blog. Jason Cushman explains how to do so HERE.)

Here’s a screenshot of an example. Even though the name of my blog is Pearls Before Swine when I comment what shows up is my actual name and photo so that it is understood immediately who I am and what I look like (in real life). Click on my name and it will take you to my blog.

  • It’s a Reminder

I follow over 400 blogs over the course of the three years I’ve been blogging. There’s no way I can keep track of them all and I won’t pretend as if I do. I don’t like or comment on everyone’s post. It’s just impossible. Likewise, bloggers that follow me don’t get to see and interact with my every post. I’m not crying about it.

There is a way to remind others that you exist and it is by supporting their blogs.

When you drop a comment on someone’s blog they are reminded of your support and will undoubtedly want to return the favor. I’m not saying be fake with your commentary. I am saying that support begets support. When people I don’t know comment on my blog, I click on their profiles and visit their blogs. I may even decide to follow said blog. In most cases, I do.

  • It Connects You / Builds Genuine Relationships

Commenting in the world of the Internet is the same as being involved in a conversation. Commenting on other blogs helps you to make a connection with others. It’s good because you don’t just connect with the home blogger, you also connect with their followers. It’s a form of genuine relationship building. You may discover you write in the same genre, both are allergic to something, both love the same foods, colors, both love History, etc. You may even want to join the same groups. I have connected to many of you better because of you commenting on my posts. We have in turn followed each other’s blogs, joined the other’s email list, bought the other’s books, and know more about one another. All because of commenting on the other’s blog.

  • Adds Value / Authority

When you leave comments on other blogs, it helps to add value and authority to your blog via search engines by way of back-links, which generates traffic. Here is Backlinks explained by the Shout Me Loud Blog:

“Backlinks are incoming links to a web page. When a web-page links to any other page, it’s called a back-link. In the past, back-links were the major metric for the ranking of a web page. A page with a lot of back-links tended to rank higher on all major search engines, including Google. This is still true to a large extent. Here is a glossary of common terms related to back-links that you should know:

Link Juice: When a web page links to any of your articles or your website’s homepage, it passes “link juice”. This link juice helps with the ranking of the article, and also improves the domain authority.

  • More Subscribers

Commenting on other blogs brings more traffic to your site because of link juice and can lead to more subscribers. This is especially true if you leave detailed, well-thought out comments because it is a glimpse into the kind of content that can be found on your blog. Again, if the blogger is like me he/she will be inclined to click on your name (which you would have connected to your blog site) and check out your blog to discover more about you.

Combined these elements can help your blog to grow by:

  • Increasing Traffic / Views
  • Increasing Blog Subscribers

Before we go, make sure:

  • You don’t go around randomly commenting on people’s post after reading this. There is no right way or wrong way to blog but I have learned that such things as this must be genuine to work so don’t be fake, people can tell.
  • Your blog name is actually a name. Either your business name, Sara, Ann, Brandon, or Bob. Not 123_T or Princess_456.
  • Link your name with your blog so that when people click it this will take them to your blog. Learn how HERE.
  • Add an image to your gravatar. Preferably, a company logo or head-shot. I find human images better because it’s already difficult to trust people over the internet. Being transparent from the beginning by showing an updated image of your real self (Company Logos are good too) goes a long way. This is especially true if you’re an Independent Author. A brand tip is to make sure your author image and author name is the same across all your social platforms. I had to recently update mine so I am only saying this because I’m not very good at branding myself. I am working on it however and my first step was to go back through my social’s and ensure they all have the same image so that I am easy to find. I changed them all to the same picture and will also not keep changing them.
  • Make sure there’s a FOLLOW BUTTON on your blog so that when people are exploring and they like what they find they can follow you in the easiest and quickest way possible.

Note: The headline to this post has been changed to 5 Ways. When I first drafted it, I only had 4 ways. I’ve just went back over it and see there are five bullet points. I have not changed the link (which still says 4 ways) because this post has already been reblogged. Please excuse the miscount. 


REMINDER: I still need your Thunderclap support! Help me reach 100 Supporters before July 15th. It’s free, easy, and only takes a second. We’re almost there!

http://thndr.me/GzKxUh

How to Add a Favicon to Your WordPress Site

Do you favicon? I have started to pay more attention to them and love the neat look it gives my browser. First, what is it?

Favicon – Also known as a browser icon, website icon, site icon, or URL icon, a Favicon is a tiny logo / image that shows up when you visit any website.

Mailchimps Favicon

My Author Website Favicon

Custom Favicon’s help to brand a website, establishing your website’s identity. Instead of the default icon that shows up when you create a website, your logo will show in the browser when people visit your website and looks good for your online presence. Plus, it looks cool. I added a favicon when I acquired a domain for my blog so that both my author website and my bog have matching browser icons:

So, if you’d like to add a Favicon to your blog, here’s how.

First, be sure you have an image or logo to add. The recommended file type is ico or PNG (if you’re still using Internet Explorer, shame on you. No, seriously, PNG website icons won’t show on some Internet Explorer browsers so try JPG).

The standard Favicon sizes is 100px x 100px and 300px a 300px and they will show smaller of course at 16px by 16px. Be sure your image does not exceed 100KB.

The next set of steps is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Go to your WP Dashboard
  2. Scroll down to settings > General
  3. To your left is Site Icon > Upload your image

After uploading your image refresh your page. If the favicon still doesn’t show in your browser you should clear your cache. (In Firefox: Tools > Options > Advanced > Network > Clear now).

8 Things to Do Before Publishing Your Next Blog Post

blog-growth-update1-800x675

Below are some great links from This Mama Learns Blog to help us become better bloggers! I discovered her on Pinterest yesterday and her blog is super cute! I love the way she has branded her colors and incorporated her images all professional and fun looking. Below are articles I found helpful. Enjoy:

8 Things to Do Before Publishing Your Next Blog Post

You’re running behind on your newly acquired content schedule.

You dash out the last few lines of your next post in a flurry of activity, half an hour after you should have been in bed.

Then you hit Publish.

*yawn* Time for bed.

Okay, you know there are a few things you probably should’ve done first, but you can do it later right?

Umm…

What just happened here? This hypothetical blogger (ok, ok… it was me), just put an arbitrary schedule before producing quality content.

Not cool.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/8-things-to-do-before-publishing-your-next-blog-post?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare

5 Secrets to Help You Look Like A Pro Blogger (even if you only started, like, yesterday)

No one likes looking like they were born yesterday, right? First impressions count, so when people visit your blog, you want to have your best foot forward.

I made my first blog in 2011. It was about tween fashion (it seemed like a good idea at the time), it was eyes-bleedingly cyan and I think I used Comic Sans. Sounds like a candidate for ugliest website of the year!

Luckily, times have changed and the overall standard of new blogs has greatly improved.

But there are still a few mistakes that new bloggers make that give themselves away. Here are 5 things you can implement on your blog right now to make you look like a pro.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/how-to-look-pro-blogger

How to Launch Your Blog with a Bang

Ever launched a blog expecting to make a big splash but… nothing happened?

You were sending post after post out into the ether. No readers (not even your mom), no comments, no shares.  Why?

It wasn’t that your content wasn’t good.

And it wasn’t that you weren’t blogging frequently enough.  You were working your fingers to bone every day getting out another post.

Maybe you were even employing a bit of SEO and churning out awkward blog headlines like How to choosing a domain name (did I do that? oops!)

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can launch a successful blog and have readers from day 1.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/launch-your-blog-with-a-bang

Beginner Bloggers Guide to Networking

Are you holding back from networking with other bloggers because you feel like your blog just isn’t ‘good enough’?

Have you joined a few Facebook groups (like I told you about in this post), but been too shy to speak up because you’re afraid you’ll get laughed at for not knowing the secret blogger handshake?

Do you read blogging tips about how to get more traffic and think YEAH I need to do that, but secretly you’re terrified to have people actually read your blog?

Let me let you in on a little secret:

I’ve SO been there.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/beginner-bloggers-guide-to-networking

What The Heck is Author Branding?

writing_as_professionalAh, the freedom of Self-Pub, gotta love it right? You can write as many books, covering as many angles as your full heart desires. Romance, Sci-Fi, Historical, Biography, not even the sky is the limit. But what makes your Romance novel stand out from the rest? What makes your History book the best? Self-Publishing is not like other businesses. It is not a jewelry store, a brightly lit collection of possibilities. A host of shiny things that pretty much sell themselves. It is not a restaurant, a place where menus lay open for people to see and to choose. When I walk into Burger King I know exactly what I want and how I want it and I know what I am getting. I already know what to expect from the food. But book publishing is different from other businesses because there is a lot to learn and there is a lot to do.

writers-block2I think the most challenging aspect of Self-Publishing is being able to prove to your target audience that your book is worth buying. Especially as a new author. It is critical at this point that we show ourselves to be set-apart from the rest. That we garner the kind of trust in our readers that we have in Burger King. That when people pick up one of our books they know they are about to have it their way. That was corny, but the point is that they know that the journey in which they are about to embark on is a good one. Have you ever picked up a book and did not have to question if it would be a good one? That is because, like your favorite restaurant, you are familiar with the taste of the authors’ words and the way they move around in your mind when you read them.

writing-groupWhat is an Author Brand? As a Self-Publisher, it is not something that immediately comes to mind. In the midst of writing and editing and book cover design, branding is the least of our worries. Of course we think about it (eventually), but when we set out to write a book Author Branding is not at the top of our list of priorities. It is a term that is heard among literary agents and blah blah blah. We are Self-Publishers after all. We make and break our own rules. But, being a Self-Published Author does not mean you live on Mars. You are, after all, part of the world and in the business of publishing. It doesn’t really matter if you publish traditionally or if you self-publish, we can all benefit from learning more about the business, which is constantly changing.

AuthorBrand

Author branding in short is basically how you want to be known as an author. The good thing is that many of us have already begun a form of Author Branding by establishing our perspectives and personalities as we blog.

“Serious writers who want to succeed as authors should include branding in their early success planning. A strong brand helps an author in the same ways it helps a company. It gives you name recognition and helps you sell your products—your books.” – Nina Amir

I know, Branding sounds like a lot of work. Makes me think about large corporations and blah blah blah. But, the good news is that little ole me can establish a form of branding without hurting my brain with talk from branding experts and people with more degrees than hairs on my head. Below are six simple branding tips for authors as suggested by Nina:

Here’s how you start: Think about how you want to be known as a writer. To determine this, consider:

• the types of writing you want to do
• the subjects about which you want to write
• the types of stories you want to tell
• the themes you want to cover in your work
• the ways in which you want to serve your readers
• the clients or customers you want to attract
• the spin-off books (sequels or series) you would like to publish
• your values
• your interests
• your passion
• your purpose

Does something stand out? Is there one quality, topic or aspect you’d like to highlight so that you become known for it? If so, this is a good place to start. You then can create logos, taglines and websites that feature and highlight this concept so you become known for it. This becomes your brand.

literI like using myself as an example because no one likes to hear about the adventures of invisible people. I am flesh and bone and person so here goes. I suck at branding myself in the name area. I know what is required to establish myself across the web and yet I continue to move away from it (hey, maybe that is my brand, ha!). My Author Website, my blog, and my social networking sites pretty much have different names. I know, that sucks, but that’s me. I’m A House of Poetry, A Literary Korner, and a PBS Blog, it doesn’t get any more different than that. I am the brand far as I’m concerned, so like, whatever.

You can either be special like me or you can use this tip:

• Use your brand statement across all your social networks.

Use the same title, tag line, photo and colors, etc., across all your social networks, as well as in articles, videos, and guest post, and always provide a link “home.” This helps you get you known quickly and easily and is another way to strengthen your brand once you’ve developed it. And tie everything you do back to your author website.

Yea, sure. I’ll think about it.