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Gaining Visibility: Every Author’s Plight

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound? I’m sure you’ve heard that age-old question before. When it comes to trees, you may agree that, yes, the tree did make some type of “boom,” regardless of who was there to hear it. But, I’m not in the business of trees. I’m in the business of books. 


See, when I publish a book, I don’t publish it for the sake of publishing. No. I want someone to actually read the darn thing. And not just my best friends who think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. 


No. I want the world to read it.



So, similar to that ancient quote, I submit to you, dear reader, “If a writer writes a book, is that book really so amazing if no one reads it?”


My point is, most writers aren’t writing for the sake of writing. They’re writing to influence. They’re writing to share ideas. Their writing to make an impact.


How can an author impact the world if said world doesn’t know their work exists? 


And that, is when the most important component of being a successful writer comes in to play: Marketing.


A decade ago, when I started this journey, I knew one thing: I needed a website. Websites are the digital equivalent of home ownership. What digital real-estate do you own? If someone wants to virtually stop by and see you, where do they go? And when they arrive, what will they find?


I’m the chic and cute type, so that meant my website was going to reflect this vibe. I got my professional pictures done. I picked some cool colors that matched my ambiance. I put up some stellar copy that introduced my books, and I was off to the races!


But back then, even with my shiny degree in marketing, I didn’t know much about market research, or brand colors, stories, or even having a professional logo made. But you know what? Not many do when they start in entrepreneurship. The thing is, you have to start somewhere. The key isn’t perfection, its progress.


When you’re a creative entrepreneur you’re playing double duty. Entrepreneurs are already donning a multitude of hats. They’re the bookkeepers, the salesperson and the operations manager. Yet, when you're a creative,  you’re kneading your blood, sweat and tears into the product you’re selling. And then, guess what? When you’re a writer, this can take years. Years of crafting that stellar story while not getting paid. Years of investing in your work, in yourself, hoping against all odds that one day there will be a return on your investment. And finally, when the manuscript is complete, and the vision is published, aside from your own hand patting your own back, there is no sound. There is only a great story that no one but you (and your besties of course) knows exists. So, now it’s time to expend even more energy to let the world know you're an awesome storyteller. 


Now it’s time to create your brand.


Photography Credit: Photographer Steven Jackson, Alien Eyez Photos

 

In 2022, I got serious about my career in writing and I knew that seriousness needed to reflect in a rebranding. I took fresh new photos and headshots, launched a new website and went hard after social media. I had already hit up events and built my email list and kept up with my blog as a part-time entrepreneur, but now it was time to go deeper. Instead of blogging willy-nilly whenever the mood hit, I scoped out my marketing analytics. When were my readers reading? That was the time frame I needed to blog. That’s when I started pre-scheduling my blog posts and releasing them at the times my readers were more prone to reading. I already had my social media accounts but now they weren’t just used to post for pleasure. Social media became a part of my daily job responsibility. I knew I needed to make people feel as if I was everywhere. What better way to do that than social media? Clearly I couldn’t be at everything, but I needed to be posting enough content to make people feel like I was. I also needed people to know me, like me and trust me. These are three key factors of marketing. 


Consistency is also key. If people see that you’re constantly showing up in the same stream, with the same message and it's three years later, they’re going to know this person is serious. And guess what? They will want to invest in a sure thing.



The thing about marketing is that it’s broken down into its own components of promotion and branding. Going hard after social media and my email list were ways I advanced in promoting. I also learned that the basis of branding is storytelling. I love storytelling in all its forms, whether it's with words, pictures or videos. Now, the technical side of marketing is not my forte. But guess what? It doesn't have to be. Anything you can’t do yourself, there are others you can hire to do for you. In fact, if you want to grow, you should be hiring others! No successful person in any industry is a one-man/woman show. And even if you don’t have the funds to hire, bartering is its own reward if you find upright, trustworthy folks who have something to gain from you too. For me to take my brand to the next level, I hired I.T marketing professionals who crafted logos, fonts, and colors for my author brand, debut novel and hybrid publishing company. I have several businesses and each has their own message, therefore need their own specialized brand to relay said message. I also hired social media content experts who were gracious enough to train me in addition to getting a few of my posts to go viral. 


Whew. Honestly there is so much hustle involved with marketing that most will need to seek assistance in order for their book to receive the desired visibility. Between vendor events, interviews, podcasts, guest blogs, email marketing, social media and more, marketing is its own full time job! But, what I can say as a tried and true testimonial, is that even if you do the bulk of it yourself, you will see growth. You will see elevation. And eventually, people will know your book is out there.


Bio:

 

Nicole D. Miller is a 4x’s self-published author, blogger, and novelist. She takes immense pleasure in crafting stories that intertwine Black culture and faith and looks forward to producing edifying works that will impact her community. She is a freelance writer and covers positive stories of hope in Cleveland. Additionally, she owns ND Miller Publishing, a hybrid publishing company where she specializes in assisting debut authors with manifesting their book dreams. In her spare time, she loves shopping, time with friends, anything 90s R&B, and a good glass of red wine. To learn more, you can visit nicoledmiller.com or email her at nicoledmiller1983@gmail.com.



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