I don’t know exactly how I missed this brilliant talk by Simon Sinek of several years ago. But for authors who are struggling to find more readers, his 18-minute presentation may contain the most valuable marketing and branding advice that I’ve yet encountered:
Watch it several times. Take notes. Think about what he’s saying and how it applies to you.
After you have done that, then study bestselling fantasy author Michael J. Sullivan’s PowerPoint presentation on branding, which he delivered at the Writer’s Digest annual conference in New York City in early August 2014. Michael builds on what Sinek says, applying it directly to authors.
Trust me: If you grasp the principles discussed in these two presentations, they could change your entire attitude and approach about marketing — and vastly improve the results you are getting. For me, the presentations have definitely caused me to reconsider my approach to “finding my target audience,” and you should keep that in mind as you consider my past tips on that topic.
UPDATE: After I posted about this on the KBoards Writers Cafe discussion site, somebody asked me what was my own “Why.” Here is what I just wrote in response:
All my life, since I watched “The Lone Ranger” and read Batman comics as a little kid in the Fifties and Sixties, I have been committed to the moral concept of justice. (My “Why.”)
When I began to write nonfiction, that was the underlying principle in just about everything I wrote about, throughout a career as an essayist, investigative journalist, reviewer, blogger, and columnist. Now it has become the central theme of my fiction-writing, too. (My “How.”)
I have built the Dylan Hunter Thrillers series on that principle: Like me, the hero is motivated by a passion for justice, and cannot walk away from the sight of injustice against those he likes or loves. That’s why he has become a vigilante — why I refer to him as “the new face of justice” — and why I refer to myself as “The Vigilante Author.” (My “What.”)
So, I think I’m “branded.”