I swear, I’ll get around to finishing that marketing plan post. I actually have 3 others (all promotions) written, for the next 3 weeks. And then, the world went to hell – or was always in hell and things just got brought to the surface – and well. Here we are. I’m doing a slightly different blog post.
I talked about author brand before, how certain authors build their brand not on the books they release but around themselves. Around the things they do, the food they eat, their kittens, etc. Basically, it’s a similar strategy (to some extent) that certain celebrities offer.
This is a very valid tactic, so let’s talk about some things that go into it…
Between Covid 19 and the recent protests, there’s a lot of reasons and opportunities to donate and do so publicly. This can align you with certain causes and can provide a lot of great press. In some ways, the press and the return from doing this can easily outstrip your donation (especially since you’ll get a % of the donation back).
Here’s an example of a celebrity couple who do this very well.
On the opposite side, we have Keanu Reeves who often and regularly donates, but almost never says anything about it himself.
That’s the business case for doing such donations.
Moral Choices & Privacy
Of course, outside of the realm of publicity, there’s the question of moral choices. Do you tell people about this? Do you think you should? Is charity done in front of others charity or just self-aggrandizement?
I lean towards the last, that acts like that should be quiet.
But… there is a danger of things like that.
It can make you look complicit, it can make you look like you don’t care enough. Which, can be a danger in these times. Especially on certain media (Twitter is particularly bad for that). If you build your author brand around your personality, around the things people see, then you also open yourself out to questions like that.
And even if you don’t, you do open yourself, just… less.
On top of that, if you’re running your author business as a business, there will be times when you have to make moral choices.
I’m going to use a personal example here, because this will go public due to the publishing company I run now (and frankly, want to be clear to those authors I might pick up).
I stopped using Facebook Ads recently. Not because I couldn’t get an ROI (last time I checked, I easily passed over a 100% directly attributable sales increases to my ad use); but because I made a personal choice that I no longer wanted to spend money on that company.
That has significant impact. Not only on Grayson (who I informed about this choice and let him decide what he wanted to do); but on my personal business/income.
Whether you publicize such choices, such decisions is generally dependent on your author brand and how you feel about publicizing such information. Again, most of the time (especially at our sizes); you aren’t going to see much PR good from this. Though, you can, if you align your brand in that way.
Personally, I might reverse the decision if there are changes. I might not. If I do, it’ll probably be something that the authors who I sign will know about, since it affects them. But that’s a personal moral / privacy / brand choice.
The Personal Side
I talk about these things often in terms of an academic / business sense. This is something you do for X purpose, to get PR / to get sales / etc.
But, in many cases, a lot of these choices are personal. A lot of these decisions stem from your personal beliefs, your morals. And how you want your brand, your reputation to be seen. How much you care about that.
It’s a very personal choice, as such decisions affect your bottomline as an author. Even if I couch these terms in business terms, where you draw the line is often not a business decision but an emotional one.
It just helps to consider the ramifications on your business before you make those decisions.
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