Author Assets Part 1
So you’ve decided to write a book and become a published author! Great!
The first thing you’re going to want to do ISN’T start writing.
Did you know that over 3/4 of Americans feel as though they have a book within them? 75%! That’s huge! Three out of every four people you know feel they have a story to tell.
How many of them are published?
How many people do you think start writing a book that they never finish?
Writing a book is lonely stuff! It’s no wonder people struggle to finish.
Do you know what makes a difference? Author friends. The writing community. Author support.
You do that by creating your Author Assets… and then some.
Set yourself up for success! Tell people you’re going to write a book. Make it public. Say it out loud. Manifest it!
Let’s get to work on Author Assets.
The first decision you have to make, when starting your author journey, is your penname. I know, that sounds confusing, because shouldn’t you start with deciding what you’re going to write and how you’re going to write it?
No. Not really.
Because once you start working on your book, you need to start talking about your book, and by talking about your book, you are therefore marketing your book. If you’re marketing your book, you need to have a platform to market it from, meaning social media, and you need a way to collect future readers, like a newsletter.
Which means, you need to start with your name.
That stated, it might be a bit harder than you first imagine. Do you want use your name, or a slight alteration of your name, or a complete change of name? It needs to be something memorable, but also something that others are not using. Once you come up with a few ideas, put them into google. Add the word books or author. Start searching. Even put them into Goodreads and amazon and see what pops up. You want your name to be searchable with the results leading to you.
Once you have your penname picked out, it’s time to make a new email address. This is the email address that you will use to talk to readers, to use for contact information with reviewers, and to sign up for author author’s information. Go with something simple, like, your penname! And, if you need to dress it up a little, add something like AuthorPENNAME or PENNAMEwrites. Just, make it something easy to use that goes with your name.
This one might be a bit controversial, but I do not regret in the slightest the tips that I took. So many people told me, hey, don’t spread yourself out and get onto too many platforms, but I say, why not? First of all, you should be worrying about saving your penname as a username. You can use the same username on all platforms.
Second of all, you don’t actually need to be overly active on all of the platforms. You simply need to have visibility. Readers are not on every single platform, and if they hear about you and look for you on whatever platform they are using, they should at least be able to find out basic information, such as, who you are, what you write, where to find out, and how to buy your books.
I recommend starting with the basics : TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. On Facebook, go ahead and also make an Author Page. You’re going to end up joining a number of Facebook groups if for nothing other than access to resources. Facebook is also where a number of readers are. Instagram has Bookstagram reviewers, Twitter is where the Artists live, and of course, there’s Booktok.
Now, you have all of your accounts, so go ahead and get a linktree, or some sort of other link storage system. It’s an easy to click link so that you can post it everywhere, and people can find all of your information, for example… all of your social media platforms. Linktree is free, and you do not need a Pro Account.
Other things to add in the future will be things like your newsletter signups, ARC sign ups, book links, etc.
Put that link into your bio on all of your different accounts, and sort them in the list based on where you are most active to where you are least active. That way, when someone clicks on your list, they’re going to start at the top to look for you!
One last account you should really consider from the beginning is a Goodreads account. THAT STATED, make certain that on this Goodreads account, you only review books that you’re going to give 4 or 5 stars. We’ll talk more about this when we talk about what to be posting on your different Social Media platforms, but remember, as an Author, you are entering reader spaces, and need to treat this professionally.
You’re here to sell a brand. Your brand. Represent it.
Author Assets Part 2
As we continue on with Author Assets, consider thinking long term. Think, how do I want things to appear in the future. How do I want to set myself up? Do I want to gather readers for a future success? Do I want to grow my readership? Do I want to have myself established as best I can before my book comes out?
That’s a hard first step, recognizing that, if you want longevity, you have to set yourself up for it. So, let’s tackle the three things no one wants to do.
An author biography is something that you use on a variety of platforms. It will be your bio in the back of your book. It’s the bio that you use for your author accounts on Goodreads and Amazon. It’s the bio that you include on your website. What it does is tell people who you are and what you write. You want to sell yourself. Keep it brief and to the point, but give enough detail that the reader feels like they know you. Let’s break it into four parts.
- Who You Are
- What You Write
- Personal Details
- Wrap It Up
Start off by telling people who you are. Your name. Keep it in third person! Who are you, and, what do you like? Have it be something enticing. Bob Ross is a long time painter, and loves painting happy little trees. He loves sharing this work with everyone so that they too can learn to paint happy little trees. Get the idea?
Next, what do you write? Try to hit key words, but expand on it slightly. For example… rather than saying mafia romance, say, men in suits with guns and passionate love stories that lead to a happily ever after. You want the reader to fall in love with the idea of what you write before you even write it.
And now, a personal touch. Talk about where you live. Do you have a partner. Do you have kids. Do you have a dog. Are you a foodie or like hiking or sewing. Keep it to two to three sentences. Maria lives in the mountains with her partner and their eight children. They love spending their days walking along the hills and synchronizing their outfits.
Finally, wrap it up. When is your first book coming out. How many do you have planned. Her first book will be on Amazon in the Fall of Year 3 of the great panini, with books two and three following in Year 4.
Alright, you got it? Now hand it to someone else.
No, I’m not kidding.
Just as we need peer review with our works, we need peer review on things such as this as well. Ask someone to look at it! This is the first view people will get at you as an author, if their vibe is to look at Author Profiles. You want them to be enticed by you. Look for spelling errors, or anything too wordy. Just like a blurb, you don’t want it too big, but you do want it to give a full picture.
Ah, yes. And here we are. The thing everyone has both been dreading and yet looking forward to. The Newsletter.
I already know that there have been some requests for a video walkthrough on how to set up and organize with MailerLite, which is the Newsletter platform that I use! Please be looking out for the Video later this week. I will be recording myself setting up my own weekly newsletter, so that everyone can see how to use the platform. I’ll also figure out how to set up a Q&A here on Patreon so that everyone can ask questions and I can give answers that everyone else can see.
But, let’s back up for a minute. Let’s talk about why you need a Newsletter, in my opinion.
A newsletter is a direct advertisement and update to people that are interested in hearing more from you. These are people that want to know what you’re writing, what you’re reading, and get all of the updates. You cannot control the algorithms of social media. I cannot tell you how many people have told me that they missed out on things, despite liking and watching videos all the way through, because tiktok likes to not show some of my most important videos to people that are interested in what is going on.
The only way they stay up to date? My Newsletter.
You pick what is most important for your readers to know, and then they get an email detailing what is important. Do you have a cover reveal? A new book you’re reading? A special give away? A new pre-order? All things your readers need and want to know about, and it’s sent straight to them.
I cannot tell you how many authors I have seen say that one of their biggest regrets is how long they waited to start a newsletter. You should be collecting subscribers from the start! The more people you have on your email list, the more people that will be there and ready to click when your pre-order goes live and when you’re looking for ARC Readers and when your book releases.
Now, for some people, they don’t want to do a newsletter, and that’s okay! For me personally, I’ve had my newsletter be a constant source of continued interaction with my readers. Readers that subscribed back in July have stayed with me throughout, every step of the journey, because they heard about my work, subscribed, and now get all of the updates!
Take my advice with a grain of salt and look at what works for you and what you want to dedicate your time to, but if you want to set up a newsletter…
- Pick The Platform
There are a number of different platforms you can use, but the one that was most highly recommended to me was MailerLite. I did originally start with a mailchimp, but quickly decided to change my mind on this. I went with MailerLite because it was free for the first 1000 subscribers and for 12000 total emails a month, which is perfect for a starting author. Again, it’s FREE. And, once you do have to start paying, the price very reasonable, and if you decide to move your newsletter to another platform, it’s easy to export the list.
MailerLite also has an embedded form, meaning, you do not have to have a website for people to subscribe to your newsletter. It is a landing page on their website where people put in their information. And, if you do have a website, they have a popup option as well!
That stated, if you want to go with another newsletter platform, have at it! Do your own research and make your own decisions!
- Mailing Address
Please note that I am not a lawyer, nor do I fully understand laws, HOWEVER. Most if not all newsletter platforms will require you to input a mailing address which will be visible on all newsletters sent out. This is because of the CAN-SPAM Act in the US and the Anti-Spam Laws in Canada. I’m sure this applies elsewhere in the world as well. Basically, all newsletters must come with a mailing address. Yeah.
Now, can you use your own address? Sure? I guess? You could also use a place of business if you have a business or your partner or parent owns one? Perhaps if you work for a small business, the owner might let you use their mailing address. The point is, you need a mailing address where you can receive mail, and, I’m not putting my home address in my newsletter.
So, I use a PO Box. A digital PO Box, to be specific. I pay about $10 a month for my mail to be scanned into the system and I can tell them to toss the garbage. I also have a physical address for packages. My pickup spot is actually an office supply store! There are so many different options. The website I use is ipostal1, but, do your own research and figure out what works best for you. I would love to actually have a PO Box that I could use at the Post Office, but they are very expensive where I live. Again, make your own decisions.
BUT MOM SAYS PLEASE DO NOT USE YOUR HOME ADDRESS.
- Creating Your Newsletter Format
Remember how I said I would make a video for this? I’m going to. HOWEVER. Feel free to look at other author’s newsletters. Look at how they set their newsletter up. How do they organize it. Look at what you like and what you don’t like. And standby for my video, hopefully coming this week.
- Newsletter Magnets
I’m sure you’ve heard all about Newsletter Magnets. This could be anything from a free e-book to bonus content! It’s something to catch your reader and bring them in. For me personally, I currently offer a bonus epilogue for my first book and the first chapter of my second book. A way to draw people in. Soon, that will be a bonus epilogue for both books and the first chapter of my third book. I’m updating as I go.
But, what about if you don’t have a book out?
Originally, my bonus content was…. nothing! I didn’t have a reader magnet. But I did have a promise, which was, Newsletter subscribers got first access to all of the news. They were the first ones to get to see the cover, the first ones to get to sign up as ARCs, and, when I eventually had the first chapter ready to be released for my first book, I offered that!
Sure, was it slow building at first? Yes. But, with time, you’ll add to the list.
- Newsletter Ideas When You’re Starting Out
Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, and me: what the heck am I supposed to put in a newsletter when I don’t have any books out and I’m too early in the process to talk about the book itself… so, let me give you some ideas!
- What you’re reading
- Your to be read
- Books you recommend
- How far you are into your wip
- Pinterest inspiration board
- Inside jokes from your book
- Character Interviews
- Funny blurbs
- Funny typos
- Smut scene excerpt
- Book releases from friends
- Other author news
- Pet pictures
Really, anything that is about your work, books you recommend, and funny things. Gather things over the weeks building up to your newsletter going out. At the start, don’t aim to send out an email too often. I’m working up every week, but I started out sending one every other week, giving updates on my writing process, what I’m reading, and small reveals.
A newsletter is something you build, and if you start with it from the beginning, have it there for readers to subscribe to, it can only grow.
I’m going to be controversial here, and tell you… I did not have a website to start! I know! I’m crazy! I regret it now, but I assumed that it would cost far more than it did. That stated, there is a strong learning curve when it comes to building a website. So.
Look, do you need a website? Yes and no. You need a link that you can put into the back of your books so that people can find your links and your information in one place. When I released my first book, my back page info linked to… linktree. Not very professional. That stated… you don’t have to! I certainly functioned for quite some time without it.
I’m not going to tell you whether or not to do this, but, I will give you all a quick rundown as to what I used to set up my website.
So you need a URL, a host, and a platform. Idk, I think those are the words. I used Dreamhost to set mine up with WordPress.org. It cost me $35 for the first year to set this up including purchasing the domain name. I kept it very simple and used the drag and drop options for designing my page.
I’m no expert. I do plan on hiring a professional in the future. What was important to me was having a professional looking site that I could add onto later with a link that I could put in my books. That’s what I have. Also, I did a lot of googling while setting it up.
Get a website, don’t get a website, pay more, pay less, use a different platform – that’s all your choice! My reasons for getting one is wanting a professional space with a professional link. You do you!
AUTHOR ASSETS PART 3
Please Note: This post was originally published and share on Elle’s Authoring Chaos Patreon on 8 February and 13 February 2022. The video is from 19 February 2022.