Marketing,  Publishing,  Social Media,  Twitter

Branded: Three Must-Haves For Effective Branding

By: Rennie St. James

Are you branded?

Have you seen (or posted) the example of people happily paying $5 for coffee before tipping, but then complaining that a book costs $0.99?? I’ve shared that example myself and have been annoyed by it. Only recently have I discovered a new understanding of it, and that is what I want to share here.

Those people aren’t just buying a cup of coffee. They are buying a brand. In the case of Starbucks, one that has been around since 1971. Those people have bought countless coffees that met or exceeded their needs and that’s what they are paying for – that guaranteed success of getting what they want easily.

As authors, we have to give readers a clear expectation and meet/ exceed it…and we must do that many times. We must create a brand.

  1. Build your library

I know it’s exciting to have a book ready to share with the world. I would like to advise you to consider waiting because I lacked the patience to do so. Yes, we have to start somewhere and have to take that first step. However, you want to be ready to offer your readers more than a single cup of coffee every 2-3 years. Join some anthologies, submit to online magazines, blog, etc. There are many ways to build your content. If you pick things you like, it will seem less like work and be more enjoyable.

  1. 70/30 Rule

Spamming drop and go links into hundreds of groups is a marketing strategy. Here’s another one – post 70% about your life and only 30% about your book. If you only have one book or two, you are the content/ library referenced in the point above. This is where your brands shines as more than just an author. Paranormal romance author Kristen Painter shares personal stories about her cats and her cooking (both feature in her books). If you are writing about things you love then you should be able to find ways to share those things with readers separately from posting ‘buy my book’ links.

  1. Be a fan

Join groups and follow hashtags as a reader, not just as an author. Fanboy/ fangirl out and stalk your favorite authors and celebrities. As readers, we all know that seeing someone reading our favorite book automatically makes us like them (at least a little bit). Seek out those people who love the things you do and build those relationships. Again, it should be something you enjoy so it won’t be tedious. It is also a smart marketing strategy (esp. when you stalk authors who are successful and can learn from them).

In the interest of full disclosure, these three suggestions aren’t my original ideas – I have stalked success writers online and at writing conferences. Additionally, there are many paths to success and this one may or may not work for you. As a final caveat, I’m not a successful writer by traditional standards. I am a writer with a fulltime job who needs to make the best use of her time and enjoy working. I’m also a writer who wants to share things I’ve learned along my journey as other writers are not my competition.

Are you branded? Share your thoughts here so we can all learn together!


Rennie St. James shares several similarities with her fictional characters (heroes and villains alike) including a love of chocolate, horror movies, martial arts, history, yoga, and travel.  She is proudly owned by three rescue kitties including an all-black lady adopted on Friday the 13th. They live in relative harmony in beautiful southwestern Virginia (United States). The Rahki Chronicles is Rennie’s first urban fantasy series, and the first five books are available now. Her Atlantic Island: Guardian Trilogy will be released in 2020. Rennie also has drabbles and short stories included in several multi-author anthologies by a variety of publishers. You can find her all over social media as she loves to interact with fellow bookworms and authors.






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