Marketing NonfictionAbstract: Like every other product, even nonfiction writing requires strategic branding. Here we enlist mistakes which should be avoided when you are branding your work.

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The technological world of today has made the process of book writing much easier. For instance, authors have the liberty of ‘self-publishing’ along with the facility of ‘print-on-demand’. Such quick facilities encourage new writers to pen their thoughts, without any worry of getting their work published. However, the point to keep in mind is to create such a writing – which actually is appreciated by the readers. This implies that your book should not just stay on the shelf of your close friends, family or colleagues – rather it should have the quality of reaching out to everyone. For helping authors emerge successful in writing and branding their book, I present a list of mistakes they ought to avoid.

Not Defining a Market for your Writing
A major mistake which writers make is that they start writing, without actually thinking about which audience they are targeting. It is highly significant that they know which particular section of the society would most likely read their book. For instance, they should ask themselves: Is this book appropriate for school children? Can teenagers relate to what I say in this book? Or, is this writing only suited for a mature audience?

People of today are not willing to read obscure writings. If you are writing one, then you are going in the wrong direction. Always research that, the topic you are writing on, has a potential market – where it will sell. Pro writers usually conduct their surveys through online forums, Facebook, blogs and chat rooms for discovering valuable ideas and a defined market for their nonfiction writing.

Once you have defined your area and topic, the next step is to read about what other similar writings are available on the subject matter. This step scares some writers, as they feel that by reading other people’s similar ideas – they start feeling that it would be redundant to write something on the same topic. However, experts say that this is effective because it helps the writer to read and explore which niche has remained unexplored by past writers. From the perspective of branding, this new gap – filled by the new book – could prove to be a selling point.

Writers often start worrying too much about their potential competitors in the market. This leads them astray from their actual objective. The valid approach is to avoid copying your competitors’ strategies – at all costs. If your marketing strategies are uniquely customer-oriented, the audience would automatically come to you for sure.

Ignoring the fact that Non Fiction Book Writing is a Business

Like all other new businesses, Writing is also a business venture. It involves all the major business endeavors, which a writer undertakes to make his/her product successful in the world. Once a book is written, the writer has to plan for its budgeting. Then, he/she might also need to write a book proposal to be sent to prospective publishers. Furthermore, the writer would require formulating an official website dedicated to his/her new book. Hence, all of it overlaps with business. Therefore, a writer is expected to be aware of how all these business strategies work correctly.

Dreaming To Become Rich Overnight

Another mistake which majority new writers make – is dreaming of becoming rich, instantly. This is an entirely false assumption. Writers should know that the success of any business requires time, patience and investment. Business experts suggest that any new writer should always set some cash aside for ‘self-publishing’ purposes. This fact implies that if no publishing house agrees to publish the book, then the author should have a ‘plan B’ which is to get his/her work self-published.

Presentation Matters

Furthermore, like any business product, the look of the book should not be ignored. The designing of the cover should be done by a professional designer. Bland designs never grab attention. People literally judge books by their covers. It takes about one to two minutes for them to decide whether they want to keep that book or want to let it stay on the store shelf. Hence, professionals suggest that an innovative cover is extremely necessary – if a writer is seriously interested in earning money out of the published product.

Not Utilizing your Branding Sources Properly 

Amateur writers might expect that only one medium of branding would make their work popular. This is an incorrect supposition. Branding experts have seen that writers often prefer to promote their book through social media platforms as it is easy to access and use. However, professionals say that an all-round social strategy should be formulated. In this framework, the writer should include his/her social visits to various literary events and meeting people face-to-face.

Wrong Self-Image

Writers should never come across as too-literary to understand. If a writer consistently presents his/her image as a person with complicated ideas – either through his/her status updates or twitter feed – he is bound to lose audience. On the contrary, the writer should consistently try to relate ideas which are easy to understand. This would help developing a positive face of his/her personality and this would, ultimately, aid in selling his nonfiction writing.

Inactive Social Presence 

For being a public figure, you always need to actively interact with the audience. If a person simply blacks out for a week or so – then the audience will slowly lose interest in his/her presence on their social media. Hence, specialists recommend that for branding one’s products, the writer needs to actively post interesting and innovative things, at least once a day, for keeping the audience entertained.

Ignoring Book Launching Ceremonies

If you think that Book Launch ceremonies are a waste of time – then you are wrong. Writers arrange several book launches in different cities and areas for building a reputation with the audience, with the face-to-face interaction. Invitations for this ceremony are sent to all notable people of that area or city – becoming a source of publicity for the work. In this ceremony, the author reads excerpts from his/her book – which can entice the audience to immediately purchase the product. Furthermore, this event invites personal signing of books by the author – which is considered a big privilege for the fans. For this reason, the audience feels tempted to buy the book at that spot – because they know that they might not get a chance of getting signatures of the author on their copy, if they purchase it later.

Ignoring the Quality of the Branding Content

Certain writers have been observed to be self-obsessed. They continue to talk about themselves, whenever they are branding their work. This gets overboard for the audience. Fans often need attention and acknowledgement. Hence, it seems really attractive (for fans) if their favorite writer shares something valuable with them. This can be a material reward or it can even be a good piece of advice.

Discussing One’s Own Writing/Book All the Time

A crucial mistake to avoid is to redundantly speak about your writing. If a writer consistently inserts his/her book into every post or interview of his/her – then it becomes quite repetitively boring for the audience. The viewers might feel that the writer has nothing substantial to talk about, besides his/her book – which they might already have heard enough of! Hence, writers should keep on improvising what they are going to discuss on public forums.

Bland Titles

Nonfiction writing generally attracts less audience as compared to fiction. Hence, branding strategies become all the more significant in this scenario. Specialists recommend that the author should be extremely careful even while picking a name for his/her nonfiction book. Furthermore, they believe that the title, of any writing, becomes the identity of that work. If the title is too bland, it will not attract readers at all. The title should be catchy enough to even attract the fiction lovers towards it.

If an author is not emphasizing on the benefits of reading his/her work, then it would not grab attention. Business communication specialists always stress on explaining the ‘audience benefit’ in any form of branding. Moreover, the reasons should be logical enough to convince the audience to buy the product. For example, the writer can build upon the uniqueness of his/her work than the past writers. This point of difference – from previous works – could prove to be a beneficial branding tactic.

Once a writer’s initial work becomes successful, he/she starts thinking of expanding on it. In such a scenario, professionals suggest that the author should take a deep breath, calmly analyze the situation and should not allow the success to get into his/her head. He/she should only plan for a new writing, when he/she actually has an original idea for it.

The important thing is to never lose the passion for your writing. Even if your first work does not shine, tell yourself that it’s okay. Embrace the mistakes and move ahead with a fresh idea for a new nonfiction writing of yours. Thus, if a new writer of nonfiction writing avoids these aforementioned errors, then he/she is bound to become a successful entrepreneur in the field of writing. I would like to wish good luck and send my best wishes to all the budding writers out there!

Happy writing everyone!

Bethany WyattAuthor’s Bio: The author of this article is Kaye Curran. She is a successful technical writer, currently residing in Ann Arbor MI. She is an ardent reader and loves music. She is a regular contributor to Essay Inc, where she heads the Technical writing department.