Creating Your Author Platform: Your Name is Your Brand
Authors’ names are their brands, and satisfied readers exercise brand loyalty. They shop for titles by author name, and when they come across a real find, they recommend it to friends. Those friends do the same, and the chain continues. But a book is more than a cover or jacket. It is the embodiment of a human voice to which the reader seeks connection. Thus, loyal readers attend book signings, subscribe to newsletters, and use Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or LinkedIn to make contact with favorite authors. The deeper the social connection between reader and author, the more likely the reader will act as the author’s sales agent.
In creating your author platform and establishing your name as your brand, you want to be consistent and constant. If your name is Bob Anderson, your personal email will be firstname.lastname@example.org; administrative email will be email@example.com; your website will be www.bobanderson.com; your blogsite will be www.bobanderson.com/blog; your twitter account will be @BobAnderson; and your Google + and Facebook Fan Page will be, drumroll please, Bob Anderson.
Do not use the title of your book. Do not use any catchy taglines or slogans. Use your name. But first check that your name is available as a domain and as a company registered to do business in the U.S. Since there is more than one Bob Anderson, you must use a legal and customary variation of your name to make it distinct: Bob Anderson, Ph.D., Robert Anderson, Bob Q. Anderson, Bobby Anderson, R. S. Anderson. To determine the availability of this name to do business, you must conduct two online searches.
One: Google search your (author) name. You want to be the only one with links to this name. If that is the case, move on to the second search. If not, determine whether anyone using your name is conducting business in that name. If not, move to the second search. If there is someone with your name doing business as a company (another author, S-corp, LLC, etc.), then do a new search with a different version of your author name (middle initial, title) until you find the entire first page of Google search results with links to you and your work only. While searching yourself, take note of how many links there are to you, and remove any links that fail to represent you as a professional. Googling yourself is not an exercise in vanity: it is like checking your credit report to make sure there are no errors, broken links, or images/information you do not want available online.
Two: GoDaddy.com is a domain search engine. Go to this website to determine if the domain name you have selected is available for your author name: BobAnderson.com [no spaces]. You only want a dot.com suffix (no “.me,” “.net,” “.org,” “.us,” “.biz”). You don’t have to buy your domain name from GoDaddy.com.; you only need to search it to determine if the domain name is available for purchase.
Baby Step 1 is finished when you have chosen an author name to use across all your social media platforms. Use your name consistently and constantly in all circumstances. Congratulations. You are now branded.
Maxim #1: You are your name.
Maxim #2: Your name is your brand.