Today I’m happy to share great advice from author Kaira Rouda. She’s a marketing pro and author with some simple yet essential reminders about author branding and being who you are. Being real. Thank you, Kaira, it’s something we need to hear again and again!
Please welcome Kaira to WFW!
Be you. Be real. Know yourself and your brand and the rest will follow.
By Kaira Rouda
During my 20-plus years in the marketing world I learned quite a few truisms that apply whether you’re in an owner of a carpet cleaning business or selling real estate or selling books. For people to believe in you and your brand, it has to stand for something real. Something genuine. It needs to stem from the real you. I never imagined my first book would be a nonfiction business book for women entrepreneurs. But that’s how life worked out and Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs (Wiley) was published. Suddenly I was touring the country, speaking to huge gatherings of women – sometimes in the thousands – which was of course, for a shy writer, the most horrible of situations. I was on national television, terrified and usually with big hair. But I grew. I grew into what I wrote. Because what I wrote is true and I continue to receive amazing notes from women thanking me for inspiring them to start their own businesses.
And as I read each note, or made another speech, I realized something else. I wasn’t being true to my own brand, my own dreams. You see, my own Real You chart wasn’t included in the book for a reason. I hadn’t lived it yet.
But I am now. After years of rejections, five different agents, numerous publisher committees, so many extenuating circumstances, and six plus manuscripts, I decided to go for it. That was in 2010. And when Here, Home, Hope, my debut novel was published by Greenleaf Book Group, the real me began to shine.
The most important thing I’ve learned in my author journey thus far – and as I noted it has been quite a long one, long before Here, Home, Hope appeared – is that this industry is, was and always will be fickle. That now, more than ever, it is fraught with change, confusion and consolidation. Ironically, there are so many parallels to the real estate industry in the year 2000, an industry I spent 10 years in.
Because of this holistic industry change driven by the internet, you must, as a writer, stay true to yourself. You need to know your personal brand and your writing brand and stick to it. I’m not talking genre as many successful authors today publish cross-genre with success. What I’m talking about is focusing on what you want to write, what feels right to you. It really doesn’t matter if “she” hit it big with a self-pubbed eBook, or a two-book big publisher deal. What matters is what you’re doing right now, and taking the time to define your personal brand. (If you need help with that, I have a bunch of information on my website and of course, in my book Real You Incorporated. If you haven’t done a personal brand audit in awhile, it might be time.)
Focusing on other people’s success, trying to figure out another author’s strategies or position, or harvesting other authors’ contacts and connections will backfire in the end because the truth will out. The world is transparent these days and you must be real. In what you write, in how you interact – personally and virtually.
And please do remember, especially if you are riding high on a new contract or a finished manuscript, an enthusiastic agent or a bestseller list, you were once where so many others are now. And you could be there again. Humility and kindness are such wonderful attributes and I personally find them in abundance in this writing community. Be sure you’re adding your kindness when you are riding high – as you’ll need it sometime in the future when the inevitable low comes. It will. But that’s Ok, too.
Because if you’ve been true to your personal brand, written what you know in the best way you can, and genuinely positioned yourself within this amazing writers community, well then, my friend, we’ll all be there for you when you need it.
Enjoy this exciting time in the publishing industry, and remember to be real.
My latest novel, In the Mirror is the story of Jennifer Benson, a woman who seems to have it all. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her disease the same way she tackled her life – head on. But while she’s busy fighting for a cure, running her business, planning a party, staying connected with her kids, and trying to keep her sanity, she ignores her own intuition and warnings from others and reignites an old relationship best left behind.
If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? And how would you say no to the one who got away?
Kaira Rouda is an award-winning entrepreneur and author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror, and the short story, A Mother’s Day. She lives in Southern California with her husband and kids and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on Twitter, @KairaRouda, and on Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books. And of course, on Pinterest! For more about Kaira and her books, please visit her website KairaRouda.com.