Book Marketing: Branding Yourself As an Author

John Marion Francis, Romance Writer and Market Research Analyst, discusses his marketing plan:

For politicians and celebrities, Facebook is a gold mine for public consumption; it’s not so true for authors or up coming authors. Facebook is one of those tools you need to have on your internet radar. It helps more for when people google you aka search the net.

In comparison, I have more readers and fans from Myspace and AuthorsDen per month. Part of my marketing plan that for now all of my romance short stories are free and open to the public. All of them.

I’m a market research analyst specializing in consumer marketing and the first rule of marketing a unknown product is to “give it away first”. When I stepped out onto the public viewing stage of writing I knew going in that:

1 – Nobody knows who I am
2 – Nobody has read my work
3 – I don’t have anything published anywhere
4 – I don’t a following
5 – I don’t have an agent or publisher
6 – I don’t have a brand name


My plan and strategy requires two things:

1 – Branding

I researched how the Big Guns do it. I noticed that their name became their brand and that it is the Main Header on the book cover. Everything that they produced, newsletters, blogs, press releases, websites, web meta tags, etc. is branded. Branding aka Logo; is key to successful marketing of any product. Without it, no one will connect to your product. Seeing this, I created a Brand Name — John Marion Francis (my pen name).

Everything I produce (author website, weblinks, Blog Spots, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) bares my brand John Marion Francis. I always close with my branded signature ~Jonathan~. I also branded Romance Short Story Reading, Romance Short Story Store, Romance Online Reading, all of these domains I own.

My book covers (I create my own) follow the same design concept as the Big Guns (name branded at the top or bottom boldly). The key is to be consistant once you have settled on a brand name. Changing it constantly will put you at the back of the line every time and you’ll have to start all over again. Once people recognize and connect with your brand, then the product content is next.

2 – Product — My main product is Free Romance Short Stories

If you do not specialize then people will not find you among the masses. As in previous discussions in the Suspense/Thriller Writers group on Facebook, “Finding your voice”, “Character building”, “Backstory” to name a few, the message is clear: having a “unique” niche gives you the competitive edge. Mine is 1) – I’m a male romance author. 2) – All of my Romance Short Stories are free. My style is modern contemporary romance. My main characters are 95% woman-based. They deal with everyday romance issues in settings of “today’s modern woman”. I shape my characters and story based on everyday observations of people and the emails from my readers with their reviews and opinions of current stories. I always release Preview Chapters of all WIPs. Based on responses from my readers, I know which one to go with first and how to shape the story.

Another unique marketing approach is to let my readers “ghost write” part of a story aka Reader-to-Writer relationship building. I take story request from my readers and write their story for them. This thrills them to no end, so the marketing rule of one-to-many and many-to-one becomes viral marketing. They email and tell their friends “I’m in a story, come read my story!” and the page hit counter begins to zoom.


The main thrust of my marketing strategy is based on Free Romance Short Stories. Without giving away the farm, I can continue a direct connection to my readers while developing a customer base. When I complete my first novella and or book for public sale, I’ll already have a fan base to support the release.

Well, I’ve taken up a lot of time on this subject so I’ll stop here. I hope this insight works for you.

Twitter: How to Use It to Promote You and Your Books

John Marion Francis, Romance Writer and Market Research Analyst, explains how he uses Twitter as part of his book marketing plan:

Twitter, if you haven’t discovered by now, is another powerful marketing tool and a way to gain more readers. How many people visit and use Twitter? Over 5 million visitors in September 2008!

So what is Twitter? Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. That’s right; your post can only be 140 characters each. There is no limit to how many times you can post.

How does it work?

Updates (your twitter post) are displayed on your profile page and delivered to other Twitter users who have signed up to receive them aka Followers. You can restrict delivery to those in your circle (Followers) or make it Open to anyone on the Twitter network. Followers can receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as TwitterFon (iPhone feed) and even Facebook!

So, is it worth the time?

Here are just a few of the giants that use it. Large Businesses such as Cisco Systems, Jet Blue, Sun Microsystems and Whole Foods Market use Twitter to provide product or service information.

Several 2008 U.S. presidential campaigns used Twitter as a publicity mechanism, including that of Democratic Party nominee and eventual winner Barack Obama.

Using Twitter To Market Your Book

Unlike other users that setup Twitter profiles like a “personal communication tool”, I setup my Twitter like a micro story blogger. I post my short stories in Tweet Post Packets (post). I only post one current ongoing short story at a time. This way the reader can read the story from beginning to end or keep up with the story post. I gain readers by them “Following” me. This is done when a Twitter user wants to keep track of my story post. They simply click on my profile and click “Follow”. Now every time I post a chapter, they automatically receive it.

I post full chapters at a time which could be about 10-20 post. This is important because the posts are delivered to them one after another (synchronized) which allows the Followers to read the entire chapter(s). Here is my Twitter link so you can see what I mean:

Think of Twitter like the new service and device that Amazon has called Kindle Kindle as some of you may know is an e-book service by Amazon coupled with its digital e-book reader called Kindle ($359.00).

The advantage of Twitter as a micro story blogger is that anyone can access it from any internet connection, iPhone, PDA, Blackberry, RSS, or SMS enabled phone for free. You can also put your website link in your main profile which is an active hotlink to your website as well as weblinks in your post. I put a link to the short story at the end to drive more readers to my website.

Well, I hope I answered most of your questions and gave you another potent tool to market yourself and your books! Feel free to contact me if you have questions.