The starting point for understanding, and building, your online author identity is to first understand its role within social media.
The goal of creating your author identity is to appeal to, and attract, like-minded readers.
Many writers often approach marketing by believing that they must ‘convert’ readers.
This is not true.
There are already more than enough readers out there who will love your book. As an author, your problem is not converting readers, it is finding the ones that already exist but haven’t yet found your book.
This means the role of your identity is to attract these like-minded readers
So, with this in mind, what is an identity?
In the context of social media marketing, identity is a makeup of the following:
If you can constantly and clearly express these five key elements, then you will start to attract readers that connect and relate to your identity.
Everyone has values, even the worst of people.
Your values will be in your writing, hidden between the lines providing an underlying message. Your views and opinions on the way the world works will be hidden in plain sight.
For example, if you believe that gender equality is important, then you’ll create characters that match this world view. The opposite is also true.
Study your writing. Think about yourself and what values you want to portray.
What are you trying to say to the world? What themes pop up repeatedly in your work? What’s important to you?
This is the first important step to using social media to increase book sales. Clear values. Analyze yourself and your books and come up with a list of the things that matter.
Don’t create values you won’t stick to; they must be consistent. You only need two or three. The two or three things that set you apart and define you and your work.
It might be equality, but it might be truthfulness or honesty or bravery or even something as simple as being kind.
Write them down. These are the cornerstones of everything you will be doing from this point forward.
Once you have decided these values incorporate them into everything you do on social media.
What’s your mission?
Think about what you are trying to achieve as a writer. Are you trying to inspire? Share knowledge? Support someone? Or just be the average, welcoming person.
Your mission shouldn’t be world peace or flying to Mars. Your mission must be truthful to you and your book.
Your mission must also connect with your values.
Whatever it is, be consistent with it.
For example, if your values are care and support then one mission might be to set up a charity. If your values are spreading knowledge, then perhaps you start a podcast. If your value is to inspire others, then join a mentoring scheme.
If you’re a wisdom type figure, one mission could be to create a project with a university or develop free online courses. Think about your purpose as a writer and create missions to achieve this.
Your mission should not only match your vision but should also be realistic. It must be something you can work towards and, in the process, discuss with your readership.
Remember, you are attracting people that think like you, that have the same values as you, they’ll also be supportive of your mission, after all, it will be the kind of thing they’d love to do.
Your message is a combination of your values and missions.
Messages should be consistent throughout all of your creations whether it be a simple Twitter post or 1000-page novel. Your message will remain consistent are you grow and develop as a writer.
The Internet has changed the world of writing. Gone are the days where readers can’t connect with their authors. Readers have developed an expectation. They can smell liars from a mile away.
Create a consistent message and stick to it. This way you will develop a loyal, lifelong readership.
The role you play within communities is vital to your identity. A role combines your values, missions, and messages into a persona.
Let me explain myself.
You may be an advocate, teacher, specialist, carer. These are all roles. Often you may take on a couple, but everyone has a role. Sometimes subconsciously, people adopt roles to fit their values, missions, and messages. Other times it is a conscious effort.
Everyone has a role.
If your value is kindness, you might take on the role of providing support. A value of spreading knowledge might lead you to be a mentor and offer advice.
The key to making you stand out is consistency. Make it so obvious what you are that no one dares suggest otherwise.
Fear is the opposite of one’s values and messages.
If you value consistency your fear would be being inconsistency. If you value kindness, your fear is unkindness. If you value knowledge your fear is ignorance.
Your fears and your reader's fears are often the same. This gives you important insight. If you know your fears, then you will know the fears of your readers. This means that you can avoid doing things that will alienate your readers.
If you value kindness and fear unkindness, then getting involved in buying someone on social media may backfire.
The aim of creating an online author identity is to provide a clear message that will attract like-minded readers.
You are not trying to convince people to buy your book, you are trying to find the people that are already out there who will love your book. If you can create a truthful online identity, this will act as a beacon to people of a similar mindset and attract them to your social media accounts.
If you are consistent and honest, over time, followers will convert to readers and, eventually, superfans.