How to Build Your Author Brand

As an author, your brand includes your image, who you are, and what you say. It’s not just your logo. Of course, this brand can circulate around your pen name, but anytime you converse online or in person, you are representing your brand.

Being likable and interesting may entice people to want to read your book, or at least learn more about it. I would argue that your brand is equally, if not more important than the cover of your book. Think of a trade show for example; You probably have your book cover on display, but it’s you as a person that draws in people to visit your booth.

Here are a few tips for your author brand:

  • Have a strong, visually appealing, organized website with an option to purchase directly from the site
  • Ensure your tone on social media reflects your brand. Streamline this across all platforms
  • Use a professional headshot on your book, website, and social media

Establishing a Brand:

One way to develop a personal brand as an author is to ask friends, family, and coworkers to describe you in adjectives. Better yet, if you feel comfortable, I would recommend asking a few strangers for a first impression following a brief interaction with you. There is no preexisting relationship, therefore, this interaction is likely to mirror an interaction at a trade show more closely in terms of how you are received by strangers.

What genre would you categorize your book under? If you’re a children’s author, you probably want to write lighthearted posts that appeal to parents and grandparents and be pretty personable with children. If you’re a romance author, it would play in your favor to be charismatic so people are drawn to you and your books.

Brand Guidelines:

Keep in mind, your brand does include guidelines for materials such as your logo, colors, fonts, and images as well. You want your brand to be recognizable and suiting to what you are trying to portray. Plus, putting together brand guidelines makes it easy to plug and play when creating business cards, bookmarks, brochures, etc.

Next Steps:

Once you’ve established your brand and you are ready to print, request a quote, and then begin getting your book out there!


Tips to Manage Your Time As an Author

I think it’s safe to say we are all guilty of some degree of procrastination. You set a goal and the deadline tends to get pushed back again and again because you just run into roadblocks along the way. Sometimes the roadblocks are in the form of writer’s block, or other priorities simply get in the way. As an author, you do have to be a little flexible with yourself. So for example, if you have an event that you would like to present your finished book at, maybe allow yourself 2 months longer than you think you really need to complete your book. Give yourself some wiggle room so that your quality of work doesn’t suffer from feeling pressure to finish writing. Here are a few tips to manage your time as an author:

Productivity Timing

Everyone has a time of day that they tend to be most productive. For some people, such as myself, they can wake up, have a coffee, scan the news, and then sit down to work by 8:00 am. It’s the afternoon where productivity begins to decline as distractions arise and the mind begins to wonder. For others, however, the evening might be the time when they are most productive. Maybe this person feels a creative spark after dinner, when their day is calm and there are no competing tasks to eat away at their time. Either way, figure out your best time of day to be productive and creative and schedule your days around that.

Calendars

Once you have figured out your prime time of day to write, plug it into a calendar. I personally like Google Calendars because they sync to all of my devices and are user friendly. So if I’m sitting on my laptop I can pull up the calendar and update it, and then it will automatically update on my phone as well.

I color code my calendar based on the activity. So I use pink for hours working, blue for appointments, green for reading/downtime, red for dinners and time with friends, and yellow for volunteer work. This makes it easy to read and set up my days. As an author, I would suggest blocking out time for writing first, and scheduling the rest of the day around that. You have to prioritize based on what is most important for you. Writing shouldn’t feel like a chore, so you don’t want to squeeze in a session among everything else you have going on in a day.

To-Do Lists

A good idea would be to attach a to-do list to your calendar. It feels great to cross things off as you complete them. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a number system of 1-5 to determine the level of priority or urgency of a task. this way you can organize your tasks and not feel overwhelmed.

Reward Yourself

Humans tend to respond well to being rewarded for their work in some way. Something that I used to do when I was in school would be to set a goal such as a textbook chapter I want to complete and then decide that when I accomplish the task, I will reward myself with something such as a nice relaxing bath, or a piece of cake, etc. Not only does this system subconsciously train you to willingly accomplish your tasks, but it also gives you enjoyment so you feel like writing is less of a chore.

Conclusion

Writing a book is an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it requires strong commitment and determination. Using some of the suggested tips to manage your time as an author and will help you feel in control of your book and all-around more organized.

We have plenty of resources available for authors throughout our website https://blitzprint.com/author-self-publishing-support/. Additionally, feel free to contact us at books@blitzprint.com for any questions about self-publishing.


6 Tips To Design Your Book Cover

The cover of your book is (obviously) extremely important. With so many choices out there, you want to get your book noticed, and a good way to do that is to have a cover that stands out. Your cover design can influence the perceived quality of your book. Here are a few recommendations that you should take into consideration when designing the cover of your book:

  1. Hire a designer
    • A designer can help you apply your vision and they will know the proper way to set up the cover to send to your printer. You do not have to do everything on your own. A good designer should have an artistic eye as well as access to specialized software.
  2. Ensure that you have permission to use the images you choose
    • This is where a site such as Shutterstock or Adobe Stock comes into play. You can subscribe to obtain permission for a number of photo downloads per month or purchase images individually on these platforms. (We will share more information on image copyright in a future post, so stay tuned.) You can also use your own photography, but make sure the photos are taken with a good quality camera in the correct format.
  3. Use images with a high resolution
    • Further to the previous point, if an image has a low resolution, it’s going to reflect that when it’s printed. This is why you should use a good camera if taking your own photos for your book. For example, we do not recommend using a cellphone camera unless they have been set to take high-resolution images. Poor quality images may negatively influence readers when deciding whether or not your book is worth reading.
  4. Don’t overcrowd the cover with images
    • Sometimes, less is more. You want the title to be the focal point of your book cover. Overcrowding images can look cheap, whereas clean, minimalist covers can be attractive to readers because it suggests a degree of sophistication in the content. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as children’s book covers, biographies, etc.
  5. Make sure the title is legible
    • As previously discussed, the title should be the focal point of your book cover. Pay attention to the font size and typeface, and choose a good color that pops with your background image and/or color(s). Although there are certain genres that tend to have fancy scripted titles, such as fantasy, often you want your title to be easily legible.
  6. Decide if you would like your book to have a matte or gloss finish
    • Check out this blog post to learn more about choosing which finish is best for your book.

For more tips and information about designing a good book cover, get in touch with us at books@blitzprint.com.


Featured Author: Barbara Robin

Author: Barbara Robin

Book Title: I Should have Married a Cowboy

Book genre: Non-fiction

I SHOULD HAVE MARRIED A COWBOY is a non-fiction series of stories told in the manner I try to live my life – with honesty and humor. The oldest of nine children, my formative years were spent in Vanderhoof, Terrace, Kitimat, and Fort St. James; my family, like these communities, all caught up in the post war boom. Through this period of parental wanderlust, I was provided with endless opportunities for adventure and discovery, right up to the moment I was brought to heel by rheumatic fever at the age of 14. Two bouts later, probably hoping to forestall trouble, my parents sent me off to a convent school in the lower mainland. The experience changed my life considerably but that set back did not dampen my romantic curiosity or stop me from becoming a teen-age bride soon followed by the daunting task of raising a handi-capped son.  

Inspiration:

My stories speak to the many challenges, heartaches and opportunities I have faced over the years but it is also a testament to resiliency and determination. 

When I was writing the book I struggled with some of the deeply personal stories and I wondered if perhaps I was being too honest. One day I was discussing my concern with my brother and fellow author, Peter Robin. His comment was, “if your story helps just one woman get out of an abusive relationship you’ve done your job.” Thanks Pete.

Writing and Self-Publishing Process:

If I had the opportunity to change one thing about my writing process it would be to have more patience. If I could start over I would set the book aside, walk away for six months or a year and then come back to it. I know that’s difficult to do, it’s like walking away from your baby but distancing yourself for a period of time allows you to come back and reread it with fresh eyes. 

I am fortunate the staff at Blitzprint were so knowledgeable and patient. It was my first publishing experience and they helped me immensely with the format and design. I made countless adjustments and corrections before approving the final draft but their diligence insured I would be happy and proud of the book.   

I can be contacted on my author Facebook page: “I Should have Married a Cowboy” or at: babsie@telus.net    

*If you are an author that has printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


10 Social Media Post Ideas for Promoting Your Book

A good set of goals to have when creating social media content for your book is high engagement on a post, as well as a spike in website traffic driven by your post. Successful branding and content can lead a potential customer to enter the sales funnel, ultimately leading to a purchase of one or more of your book titles.

We have compiled a list of 10 social media content ideas to help you reach these goals as an author:

  1. Introduce yourself to the audience
    • As an author, you are your brand. It’s important that your audience knows a little about you. When they purchase your books, they are supporting your brand, meaning it helps if they like you and what you are about.
  2. Q&A sessions
    • Q&A sessions allow you to engage with the audience directly. One existing or potential customer may ask a question that may apply to another customer. Q&A sessions also increase engagement on your social media posts or stories, which can help your content reach a wider audience.
  3. Encourage book reviews
    • I cannot stress enough how powerful peer reviews are when it comes to determining whether to purchase a product or service. We tend to trust our peers, and look for patterns when reading reviews. If the general consensus looks fairly negative, that might sway someone away from purchasing a product or service, and vice versa. This is why influencers are growing in popularity among brands. Company’s realize that a peer’s opinion is able to sway someone far better than a celebrity endorsement because they are actually relatable.
  4. Announce book signings and other events
    • Let your social media following know when you have an upcoming event such as an author book signing, and encourage them to attend.
  5. Share the behind the scenes of the writing process (before the book is finished)
    • The idea behind the scenes plays into your brand as well. It deepens the connection with the audience and can feel exclusive.
  6. Share a photo of your workspace
    • Show where the blood, sweat and tears were shed when writing your book.
  7. Announce when and where your book is available for purchase
    • This point seems very simple, however, is key for driving sales. People are not going to go out of their way to find out where to purchase something. The easier the process, the more likelihood of someone completing a purchase. Tell your audience where to go, and at the very least, they might check out your site.
  8. Share a short paragraph about your inspiration to write the book
    • Sharing your inspiration for writing can enable a deeper connection between an author and an audience. The ‘why’ is equally as important as the ‘what.’
  9. Link to your other titles
    • Let your audience know that you have other books. Maybe they read one and would be interested in reading the other ones.
  10. Share fan photos with the book
    • Similarly to the idea of book reviews, seeing other people engage with your books can encourage one to visualize themselves reading it too. This can almost serve as “proof” that other people are reading and enjoying the books. When you share someone’s social media post, they tend to feel valued as well, because it shows that you appreciate them as a customer, spending their money, and investing their time to read your title(s).
social media

If you are looking to self-publish a book, get in touch with us here for your personalized quote today.


Author Website: a How-to Guide

You wrote a book, now what? You need to create an author website. Marketing is key to generating sales for your book or book series, and a strong author website is an important component of this. That is why we have composed a how-to guide to point you in the right direction. There are a few things that you need to think about when creating your website, including what hosting platform to choose, and what pages and information to include. We break it all down for you here;

Why it’s important to have a strong author website:

People appreciate convenience. The easier the process, the more likely someone might be to purchase something. Ensuring that your website is clear and not confusing will play in your favor in generating potential sales. A strong website also can be a reflection, in the consumer’s eyes, of a strong product (your books).

Choosing a platform:

Here are a few of the user-friendly website platforms I suggest to use for your author website. Each of these makes the process easy to learn, and there are many Youtube videos or other articles available if you are unsure of how to do something on the site.

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • GoDaddy
  • Weebly

Once you have chosen your platform, you need to purchase a domain for your site.

What pages should you include on your author website:

You don’t want to over complicate things, but there are certain pieces of information that are relevant and important to include on your site. These include:

  1. Bio.
    • When people purchase your book or series, they are buying into you as well. You are your brand. If your personal story resonates with someone, they might be more inclined to want to purchase your product. Sometimes, the bio is just an opportunity to connect with others and share a little about yourself.
    • You may include the inspiration behind your story or a little about your history. You can also choose to share personal information such as the city you reside in, your family, and what you do for a living. Don’t go too far in-depth with this information.
  2. Books
    • Include a write up on each of your books. You may choose to offer excerpts from the books as well so people can sample what the content is like. Include photos of the book covers on this page.
  3. Reviews
    • Asking or incentivizing customers to review your book upon reading it is a very valuable tool that you can and should include on your website. People place a high value on the opinion of their peers.
  4. Contact info
    • Having a strong website ties into the need to have strong social media pages as well. Social media is a powerful tool to reach new audiences and connect with current ones. That’s a whole other topic, but it’s important to mention the need to include these links on your website so visitors can check out your pages. Additionally, it’s important to link your website in your social media posts to drive traffic there.
  5. Purchasing section
    • If you choose, you can include a page where customers can directly purchase your book. Alternatively, you can link to another page where people can purchase a copy. Either way, make sure that the available options for purchasing your books are clear.  

Analyzing your website traffic

A website is not something that you should simply create and then never touch again. You should consistently update your site, whether this consists of linking your social media feeds to your site, or writing a blog.

The most important part, however, is the analysis of website traffic. With a resource such as Google Analytics, so much valuable information is available to you. Some of the metrics I would suggest paying attention to include:

  • Bounce rate (generally, you want a lower bounce rate)
  • Demographics (location, age, gender, etc.)
  • Website traffic referral – where is your website traffic coming from?
  • What pages are most visited on your site

Paying attention to these aspects is important in driving your decisions on whether to edit pages, get rid of some, or make other changes on parts of the site that aren’t working optimally for driving sales. Analyzing something such as demographics can influence your other marketing decisions.

Hopefully this author website how-to guide provided some clarity on the layout and contents of your website so that potential buyers can learn about you and your book, and purchase a copy without difficulty.

Looking to print a book? Connect with us at https://blitzprint.com/request-a-quote/.


Featured Author: Amelia Lionheart, Local Calgary Author

JEACs

These books are Educational, Fun, adventures, where the Facts about the animals are accurate, while the locations, plots, incidents and the characters, are fictional, but plausible. There are five books, so far, in the series, and the adventures are based on animal conservation centres – in different countries (Amelia has lived in, or visited, these countries), with the focus on a different animal in each adventure. In the books, children are introduced to basic information/ideas on topics such as: captive breeding; releasing animals back into the wild; relocation; and other work being done in Conservation Centres, in Canada and around the world, to protect animals from becoming extinct or endangered. The JEACs in the books travel to different countries during their vacation from school and have an adventure!

The books are cosmopolitan, and have basic good values such as: respecting everyone, empathy and caring towards others – especially those not as fortunate as ourselves, self-discipline, humour and the ability to laugh at ourselves, teasing but not bullying, understanding and not discriminating against people who are different from us, etc. They encourage: fundraising, volunteer work, discovery and use of talents, etc. Since French, Spanish, Latin, Hindi, Sinhala, Italian, Australian, as well as some very British words and expressions, are used in the books – each book has a Glossary.  The Snow Leopard and Grizzly Bear books also have a Foreword by Dr. Doug Whiteside. Dr. Doug, is the Senior Staff Veterinarian at our Calgary Zoo, and is an eminent Zoo Veterinarian in North America. He is also a Professor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. 

Amelia is thrilled that the REAL GROUP OF JEACs in Calgary – incredible and talented groups of youngsters, have done amazing work and have participated in numerous fundraising events with her.

What inspired you to write your books? One of my assignments when I was doing my Diploma (I have a Diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers from The Institute of Children’s Literature, Connecticut, U.S.A.), required me to “state 5 facts, and then use all, or some of them, in a 2,000 word story”.  I chose to write a story titled “Peacock Feathers” about a boy on a Conservation Centre, named Rohan. My instructor told me it would make a good adventure story; I “fleshed it out” from 2,000 words to around 60,000 words, added several characters, (Rohan being the eldest of the JEACs, and one of the MAIN CHARACTERS, did a great deal of research on conservation centres, animals, etc., created the JEACs groups in the first book (Peacock Feathers), and – Hurray! My JEACs series began! 

I adore animals, I’m a bookaholic who reads an eclectic selection of books, loves series, education, knowledge, learning, and humour and, naturally, big and interesting words; travel and multiculturalism, fundraising, volunteer work etc.!  I have always loved Fact and Fiction, and believe very strongly in the conservation of wildlife and, in particular, the conservation of endangered species; I am convinced that awareness of this issue, when imbued in children at an early age, is a vital step towards saving our planet.  I enjoy working with the JEACs, and other young people who are aspiring authors!

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be? I wouldn’t change the creative process at all, and my publishers are great!

Please visit the following link to learn more.

www.jeacs.com

Email: amelia.lionheart@shaw.ca – Please note, ALL children who contact Amelia, either through her website or email, MUST COPY A PARENT IN THEIR EMAIL.

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


Featured Author: Christopher Warner

Our author, Christopher Warner, spoke a little about his book: Tommy Wants a Guide Dog in today’s blog entry. Continue on to learn about his book and the process of writing it.

Book genre: Children’s picture book (easy reader)

Tommy Wants a Guide Dog is about a young boy with sight loss who is too young to get a guide dog, so he imagines what it would be like to have other animals as a guide. 

April 29, 2020 was International Guide Dog Day, and was also the launch date for my new children’s book, Tommy Wants a Guide Dog. Tommy is a young boy with sight loss who would like to get a guide dog, but he’s too young, so instead, he imagines what it would be like to have other animals as a guide. It’s a fun story for both children and adults, featuring amazing illustrations by Cerridwen Sage Hicks. Tommy Wants a Guide Dog will be available in English, French, and English large print.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will help support CNIB Guide Dogs.

What inspired you to write your book? I do presentations about vision loss on behalf of CNIB in schools, and occasionally I’ve been asked, “Why aren’t there any guide cats?” After talking about it with a friend, the idea for other animals as guides, and the pitfalls that could happen with each one, started swirling in my head. From there the idea was born.  

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be?  The story had already been written and the illustrator was working on the pictures when an additional idea came to mind, but it was too late to add it to the story without causing a huge disruption. 

Please visit http://www.nakokitabooks.com to learn more.

Click here for a live reading of Tommy Wants a Guide Dog

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


Cat is Scared – A tribute to Front-line heroes

To all the front-line heroes across the globe who have placed their health, families, and lives at risk during this global pandemic, we sincerely thank you. It’s a confusing time for everyone, children and adults alike, but we will get through it.

Cat is Scared by Carolyn Neary is a gentle reminder to kids and adults alike that we will get through this global pandemic, thanks to the hard-working, selfless front-line heroes. Carolyn wrote Cat is Scared to bridge a gap in helping ease children’s confusion during these unprecedented times. It’s a heartfelt, easy read, created in a book size that’s small enough that it’s easy to transport.

Check out this article to learn the inspiration behind Carolyn’s amazing children’s story. Cat is Scared has been featured in multiple media stories for its touching purpose.

Please consider purchasing a copy of Cat is Scared as a gift to a front-line hero for their children. Visit orders.blitzprint.com/cat-is-scared to grab your copy.

A portion of proceeds will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities® Alberta. Ronald McDonald House Charities® Alberta supports families seeking vital medical treatment for their sick or injured children. Over 65% of Canadians live outside of a city centre with a hospital. Our Houses in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and soon-to-be Medicine Hat provide a home-away-from-home for families who have to travel for medical reasons. When those families are experiencing one of life’s most difficult times, we offer them the gift of togetherness.

Check out some of our other featured authors here.


Featured Author: Cindy Drummond

We are excited to begin sharing some of the work of the amazing authors that have published their books with us.

Check out the first interview submission from Cindy to learn about her book, what inspired her to write it, and what, if anything, she would change next time.

Your name: Cindy Drummond

Book title: Reflections from the Dating Pool

Book genre: Memoir, self-help, relationships

After the initial shock of witnessing the arrest of the man she had been in love with for six years, Cindy and her daughters fled their beloved family home and sought refuge in her parent’s basement.  Betrayed and heartbroken, Cindy knew she needed to act fast. She refused to let the actions of one deceitful person define her, so within weeks of her life being turned upside down, she created and executed an event for women. Her sold out womenonlyweekend gave her shaken confidence the boost she needed to embark on a new challenge; 50 dates in 52 weeks.

Follow Cindy’s dating journey as she shares her words of wisdom about loneliness, the importance of finding a tribes and how she fell in love again…with herself.

You don’t have to be single to love this book. It’s a book about starting over, a book about gratitude, and a book about creating the life you desire.

What inspired you to write your book? I wrote this book to offer hope to others might be feeling isolated, frightened or stuck. Many people are on pause these days. They are waiting for someone or something to come along, but the truth is…this is the perfect time to get goals, start a new project or find your passion.

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be? I am considering changing the cover of my book. At the time, I chose a cover that I thought would appeal to a wide range of audiences, I now wish I had chosen a cover that reflected me and my personality.

Please visit one the following links to learn more.

www.cindydrummond.ca

Amazon

Indigo

Facebook: Cindy Rankine Drummond

Instagram: cindydrummondyyc

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here