Real You for AUTHORS


Whether you are traditionally, independently or not yet published, whether you’re a new author or a seasoned pro, there is a truth in publishing today you cannot ignore. In order to be successful you have to build your author brand. The good news is, for a brand to truly, deeply resonate with customers, it has to be based on something genuine – yourself. Being successful in this business, as with any other entrepreneurial pursuit, is all about being the real you.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
— Maya Angelou

When I wrote Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs (Wiley) I was summarizing and encapsulating all of the insight I’d gleaned from more than 20 years in the marketing world focusing on entrepreneurial businesses, and most especially, on women defining their roles and businesses. Helping women step into their power, as I would say in speeches around the country. My dream always had been to become a novelist. In 2011, my new career became a reality with the publication of Here, Home, Hope, my first contemporary women’s fiction title.

To promote Here, Home, Hope, I had a launch party in my hometown, did a twenty-two state, cross-country bookstore tour, had an extensive blog tour and the novel even appeared in Women’s Wear Daily as a favorite summer read. Impressive for a first release, I suppose, but the problem was, I was defining myself through one title, one book, and the tactics surrounding the promotion of that book. Don’t get me wrong, that’s important. But to sustain a business, in this industry or any other, you have to fully define your personal brand and then use it as a competitive advantage to ensure your long-term success.

I know, it sounds daunting and you’d rather be writing. Or, if you’re inclined to think about marketing, you’ll execute sales promotions like booking a 99-cent site for one of your eBooks or posting a giveaway on your Facebook author page. Those are just tactics, though, and usually will do more harm than good to your overall author brand if you haven’t defined yourself. That’s why I’ve created an eight-step process and the Real You Chart that helps you capture the most essential elements of your writing business: you and your passions, brand, positioning, culture, customers/readers, and gifts.

The premise of the Real You process is that if you can discover and love your personal brand, you can express it as a true differentiator in the ever-more cluttered publishing world. The first three steps are about finding it within you. The last five steps are defining your competitive advantage. Once completed and defined, you’ll reveal your personal author brand.