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The Thing that So Many Authors Forget

When it comes to marketing and growing your author brand, there’s something really, really important that you need to keep in mind. It’s something that I think a lot of writers and authors forget. And that is…
 
An author brand is a personal brand.
 
Your author brand is not like having a name brand that represents a group or a company of people. Your author brand is YOU.
 
Which is why if you want to grow your following and actually have a readership and sell more books, you need to do you. You have to do things your way. You have to say what you really think. You have to be who you really are. You have to document your life for your audience.
 
And screw the “rules” or what anyone else thinks.
 
The whole point of a personal brand is for you to be yourself and grow your audience and following by letting people into your world.
 
That’s all I do, every single day. I just show up as me and write from my heart whatever comes out.
 
No, my blog posts don’t always follow the “rules” of blog posts, like having subtitles to break up the text. I know the rules and principles of blogging because I spent years of my life studying them and following them.
 
But now I do things my way. Because at the end of the day, I don’t want to follow a formula. I don’t want to do things how everyone else is doing them. And I believe that I don’t have to.
 
I believe that I can do things my way and just be me and the right people will find me and resonate with me and want to be part of my community and work with me.
 
Now this was a belief I had to create, obviously. As the belief I used to have was that I had to follow a formula or the “rules” of online marketing and if I didn’t do that I couldn’t be successful. But it’s actually been the opposite.
 
When I started to show up fully as myself and do me and unleash the from-the-heart messages I deliver on a daily basis to my community, that’s when things started to take off for me. That’s when I started making more book sales and more money. That’s when my business became consistent.
 
And not a minute before.
 
Why?
 
Because before I started doing that, I was playing by the rules and trying to do things using a formula and planning stuff out to the most minute detail instead of just operating from intuition and flow.
 
Don’t get me wrong–the formulas work and the principles and rules work. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow them (except in the case of storytelling principles; those you do have to follow).
 
Yes, it might take a little longer for you to get where you want to go, but you’ll eventually get there knowing that you were 100 percent yourself and didn’t compromise or sell your soul in the name of other people’s opinions about what you should be doing.
 
These are just the things I believe about creating success on your terms. And my ideal readers are people who agree and have these same beliefs (or want to have them).
 
That’s why an author brand is a personal brand–because the reader wants to get to know the author and decide if they like them as a person or not before they’ll trust them enough to buy anything from them. The Know-Like-Trust factor is the foundation of successful online marketing.
 
And you build that Know-Like-Trust factor by showing up every single day, being who you are and unleashing the ideas, stories and messages that you feel inside you.
 
So don’t be afraid to say what you think and do what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to throw the rules out the window (again–except in the case of storytelling principles!!) and live on your terms, doing things how you want to do them.
 
When you show up as you and unleash what’s inside, the right people will always find you. Like moths to the light. You call them in when you allow yourself to shine bright as exactly who you are.
 
Dream life or bust,
 
 
#DreamLifeOrBust #DailyThinkDifferent
 

P.S. If you’re a blogger who is ready to create your first eBook, you’re gonna love my workshop that’s happening this Saturday, April 29 at Noon EDT. It’s called Blog to Book and it’s a 2-hour virtual workshop where I’ll be walking you step-by-step through the process I use to turn the content on my blog into eBooks that I sell on Amazon.

 
And you won’t just be sitting there listening to me talk about how to do it. You’ll actually start putting together your book right during the live workshop!
 
I know this is short notice… I meant to tell you about this workshop last week but with traveling and all it totally slipped my mind. So if you can’t make it live, don’t worry! Sign up anyhow and you’ll get the recording immediately after the live workshop is finished so you can put your book together in your own time.
 

The Idea Is You… It’s Not Separate From You

As a multi-passionate writer, creator and entrepreneur, I find myself bursting at the seams with ideas for things I want to do and create. It’s almost annoying at times, because I know I’ll never have the capacity for EVERYTHING.
 
Or so I thought.
 
But then last week I began a journey called “be consistent, do what matters and put first things first.” And it shifted everything for me.
 
To be fair, I’ve started this journey before. About a year ago, and about five years ago, when I quit my day job to become a full-time writer, creator and entrepreneur. But somehow something always got in the way and I’d stop.
 
Excuses. Life chaos. The old BS stories I’d been telling myself about what was true for me.
 
And I have a tendency to overcomplicate things, because I used to believe that it had to be perfect or things had to be fancy and have a lot of bells and whistles or they weren’t valuable enough.
 
So when I’d get an idea for something I wanted to create, I’d go crazy complicating everything about it so that it ended up feeling like this huge, overwhelming project and then instead of taking action on it, I’d set it aside.
 
For example, at the end of last year I had a Divine Download for a daily email called the Daily Think Different. And it would be a daily email for writers, authors, entrepreneurs and creators that motivated, inspired, educated and empowered you to think different.
 
I bought a domain name for it. I wrote up a whole page of notes on how I’d set the new site up where people could go sign up to get the daily email. And that’d be another thing to add to my writing task list for the day (at this point I’m writing between 5k-7k words a day). And I was excited about it.
 
I think about it all the time. I feel it’s something I’m meant to be contributing to the world. I know that my calling and my purpose in the world is to inspire, motivate, educate and empower writers and creators to change the way they think and challenge what they believe is possible.
 
But months went by and I still didn’t take action on it.
 
And then two weeks ago I met an entrepreneur in one of the groups I’m in who helped me make a huge shift. She had posted in the group talking about how she wanted to start getting up early every day. And I commented back that I wanted the same thing, but never thought I could make it happen because I’m a night owl.
 
She commented back—want to help hold each other accountable to getting up early? I felt like it was a nudge from the Universe to jump into the challenge.
 
So we agreed to check in with each other first thing in the A.M. to say what time we got up. And just knowing I had to check in with her and tell her the time I got up, made me get up early, even when I didn’t want to.
 
And since I was already getting up early, I decided that i would also challenge myself to be consistent, do what matters and put first things first—before I let the rest of the world in.
 
Every morning I’d get up, send her a message to confirm the time I got up, and then I’d do my journaling and mindset practice, write my blog post and work on my novel. I did this every single day for five days.
 
And then the weekend showed up and I had a choice—I could do what I usually do, which is skip the weekends, or I could just keep going and accept that when you’re creating a new habit, you don’t get to take days off.
 
So I kept it up over the weekend. By Monday morning I was feeling AMAZING! Not only had I been consistent all week on doing what matters and putting first things first, and feeling insanely free and productive in the process, but I discovered something… I was already writing my daily think different emails! I just wasn’t calling them that.
 
For so long I thought the Daily Think Different emails had to be something outside of the stuff I was already doing and I had to keep it separate from my Jennifer Blanchard brand. But here’s the thing—you can’t separate yourself from the idea. Because you and the idea are one.
 
So when you’re multi-passionate, like I am, there’s no way for you to keep everything separate and still be able to juggle it all.
 
Being multi-passionate and allowing yourself to indulge in doing it all requires you to be able to juggle a lot of things all at once. Totally doable for a multi-passionate person, by the way.
 
You just need to stop trying to separate yourself from it.
 

You are the brand. You and all the things that come with you, including your thoughts, feelings, opinions, likes, dislikes, preferences, non-negotiables, and multiple passions, talents and interests.

 
Trying to separate it will just stress you out.
 
When I first started out online, I had a blog called Procrastinating Writers. Back then I was seriously struggling with doing the writing. It was a losing battle, but I was fighting it and I kept going. Years later, I created InkyBites, a site that focused on creative wellness. And then years later I realized that I if I wanted to be a successful author, at some point I’d have to brand under my own name.
 
So I launched JenniferBlanchard.net (‘cause someone else already had the dot-com, damn it). And I was trying to run three sites at once. Trying to balance and juggle all three brands, creating content for each one and promoting it on social media and I was failing epically. (I eventually merged all of the brands and content into my Jennifer Blanchard brand.)
 
Which is why when I get amazing Divine Downloads like my Daily Think Different emails, I get excited and want to take action… but then I often don’t. Because I still default to thinking that it has to be kept separate from my personal brand.
 
But here’s the thing—I’m me. Which means everything that I create, every idea I have, everything I write…that’s all me too.
 
I’m the multi-passionate writer, high-achieving, big-dreamer and believer in magic who I’ve always been. And my words are my legacy.
 
So it doesn’t make sense to separate it. (And let’s be real–it’s not really possible to separate it.)
 
But it wasn’t until I started doing what matters and putting first things first that I got clarity on that fact. This new habit made me realize if I don’t separate things and just let it all be me and be a part of my personal brand, I really CAN do all the things I want to be doing.
 
Doing what matters and putting first things first freed up so much of my time and mind space to focus on the other things I want to be doing (and am doing).
 
And that clarity forced me to see that what I want to do and the impact I want to have on the world, extends far beyond just writing about writing.
 

Sure, I’ll always write about writing because I’m a writer and it’s in me to do that. But now I’m allowing myself to let out that other side of me. That side of me who wants to see others succeed. That wants to inspire, motivate, educate and empower others to live their dream lives and know that anything is possible when you believe it is and and change your thinking around it.

 
THAT is what I’m here to do. Everything else that I do is secondary to that.
 
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to create and live my dream life and I’m going to be the writer and author I want to be. And I’m going to write about it and share my thoughts on it and share the things I learn, and inspire and motivate and empower you to create you own version of your dream life where you get paid to do what you love to do (write, create).
 
Now this isn’t unlike most of what I’m already doing. It’s just now I’ll be doing it with a vision and even more purpose and intention than before. (Purpose and intention are big for me.)
 
Over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing some changes in my branding and website. I’ve got a new tagline (Dream Life Or Bust), I’m doing daily emails/blog posts and I have a new approach to the business that I’m creating.
 
I’m finally giving myself permission to fully be the writer and author I see myself as. To act like and think like and BE that writer and author RIGHT NOW. Even though I know some people may not like it.
 
Because there’s no point in waiting. Or trying to separate yourself from it. You are who you are.
 
The truth is, you’ll never be ready to go after your dreams or your dream life. You’ll never be ready to make the leap, invest in the course, step into the work you desire to do in the world, or write that book. You’ll never be ready.
 
And if you wait ’till you’re ready, it will be too late.
 
So that’s why you have to just jump, right now, into creating your dream life and creating yourself as the writer and author you want to be. Because tomorrow is never guaranteed. All you ever really have is right now.
 

And right now, you get to decide if you want to keep being who you’ve been being. Or if you want to be who you know you really are and who you know you’re capable of being, if only you gave yourself permission to play full out, trust that what you feel inside is real, and go after all your dreams.

 
Going forward, I’m choosing the latter.

Share With Us

If you gave yourself permission to play full out in your writing life… what would you do? Share in the comments. 
 
P.S. If you also want to choose the latter (fully being the writer and author you want to be), here’s an opportunity for you to step into that identity right now AND get your book written and published…join my Write and Publish Your Nonfiction eBook in 10 Days workshop. We’re hitting the ground running on Day 1 and will be writing, revising, prepping and publishing our eBooks over the course of the 10 days.
 
Jim Turnbo III, author of “Brainhacks: 10 Simple Strategies to Keep Your Mind Strong For A Lifetime”  had this to say about his journey in the workshop:
 
“I’ve been sitting on this “Brainhacks” book for the last 16 months. It was slowly hacking away at my brain. Never thought I would finish it. Too many thought processes to go here. But I finished it! The information is so valuable it would be a shame to let it sit tucked away. Thanks to Jennifer, I got the kick I needed to get it done. Getting a good quality book published ready for people to digest is very hard. Only a few will do it. But if you come into this class with an unstoppable attitude, failure becomes obsolete. The price of the class will easily pay for itself. I will use the 10 days template for all my nonfiction writing.”
 
If you’re ready to give up the excuses, get out of your head and get into action, this is the workshop for you.
 

What’s A Writing Empire and Why Do You Need One?

I love that phrase: writing empire. It sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?

Having an empire that you created with your writing at the center of everything.

Usually when you think of an “empire,” you imagine someone like Martha Stewart or Kim Kardashian or some other celebrity brand. But writers can have empires too.

Remember the other day when I talked about diversifying? That’s what building an empire is. It’s finding ways to diversify in your writing life so that you’ve got streams of income coming in from different things.

Freelance. Copywriting. Nonfiction books. Novels. Workshops. Virtual events. Live events. Digital products. Writing services. Coaching services. Editing.

There are tons of ways for you to diversify and build your writing empire. And here’s the best part: you get to create it however you want it.

If you hate doing live stuff, you can be 100% virtual. If you love live events, you can build those into your brand. Whatever you love to do, that’s what you should focus on and build your writing empire around.

I love teaching, I love writing, I love speaking, so that’s what I’m building my writing empire around. I have books, digital products, live virtual workshops, live events (more live events coming in 2017!), coaching, writing and self-publishing services.

The other thing about an empire is that it’s also a legacy. It’s the legacy of the person who it’s built around.

An empire will live on long after you do.

So really think about that for a second. What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to be known for changing the way writers think. For showing writers what’s possible when you set your mind to it. For being a living example of the power of combining practical physical actions with energetic mindset actions.

That is my legacy–the one I’m creating.

These are all things you’ve gotta think about if you want to be an authorpreneur. Not just a writer who publishes a couple books, but someone who builds a business around being who you are and doing what you love.

That is the true power of taking control of your writing destiny.

And you can absolutely do it. It’s yours to create, exactly as you want it.

For some examples of legacy and what a writing empire looks like, check out:

Robert McKee
Larry Brooks
Joanna Penn

These are writers who have diversified. They’ve found what they’re awesome at and they’ve built a business around those things.

If you want to make a living as a writer, this is the best way to do it. Yes, you could just write books, but you’re limiting so many things when you do that, including growth, reaching additional audiences and, of course, the money you can make.

Diversifying is where it’s at. And while you’re at it, you may as well build an empire and create a legacy that lives on.

And speaking of empire… I wanted to introduce you to my new 1-1 coaching program:

Build Your Writing Empire

This program is your springboard to making a living as a writer.

For 6 weeks we will work together to:

Map out your writing empire, including all the things you love to do
Start setting up and implementing the systems and structures you need to support your empire (including an author website, if you don’t already have one)
Overhaul your writing life so you’re aligned with and set up for the success you want to create
Get your nonfiction eBook written and published (at least one, but possibly more than one, if you’re up for it)
Grow your following
Sell more books

You will walk away with a published nonfiction eBook, a blueprint for your writing empire–including what to focus on and in what order–and feeling confident and ready to continue growing your audience and your author brand.

With this program you get:

> Six 1-1 calls with me via phone or Skype (up to 60 mins each)
> Unlimited email support between calls
> Feedback, edits, guidance on everything you create while in the program, including your eBook

And as a BONUS, you get a FREE 1-YEAR MEMBERSHIP in the Bestselling Author Mastermind group (a $348+ value). [This is extra-awesome because I’m going to soon be announcing some major changes to BAM that include giving the group access to pretty much everything I’ve created (and the price is going up).]

This program is PERFECT for you if you:

> Have lots of ideas for books you want to write and just need help getting started/organized/productive/etc
> Want to build a writing empire and legacy with your author brand
> Are someone who takes action and follows through
> Are ready to get your damn writing career off the ground
> Want to finally get your first (or next) nonfiction eBook written and published

This program is for writers who are action takers and willing to put in the work.

Program investment: $997 (payment plans available)

Interested? Email me or send me a PM on Facebook.

How To Create Your Visual Author Brand

I’m in the process of reworking my author brand right now, and so I had a photoshoot yesterday with my good friend who is an amazing photographer. And as I’ve been thinking about how to communicate my message through visuals, I decided to break down the process for you.

Because when it comes to creating an author brand, you have to represent it in both words and pictures.

So here’s a breakdown of what I do to create my author brand through visuals:

1. Choose Your Words

You’ll want to choose 3-5 words that represent who you are and what you stand for.

Here are the words I chose for my brand:

  • Badass
  • Magical
  • Free

Those words absolutely represent me, what I believe in and what I stand for.

What words represent you? 

2. Think About Your Author Message

Your author message is the core thread that ties everything together–yourself, your books, your products/services, your content. Your author message is essentially what you believe the world most needs to know/hear.

All authors need a message, fiction and nonfiction included.

An example: my author message is “you can create anything you set your mind to.” This is a deeper-layer message from the one I had prior, which is “take control of your writing destiny.” Both represent me, my brand and what I stand for.

What do you stand for? What do you believe? What message do you feel the world most needs to hear? 

3. Brainstorm Visuals

Now that you know the words and your message, you’re going to use to represent your author brand, you can brainstorm ideas for how to show them visually.

So when I think about how to show my words visually, here are some examples of what I come up with:

  • Outfits that make me feel and look like a badass, such as ripped jeans and a shirt with studs (badass)
  • Sparkles, on my shoes and shirt (’cause sparkles look like “magic” to me)
  • Writing on my laptop in the middle of nature (freedom)

And then, of course, the location where you shoot your photos also plays into creating the visual brand.

How can you visually represent your brand? Brainstorm some ideas in your journal. 

4. Choose Your Props

Props are a big part of communicating through visuals. If you see a picture of a guy holding a guitar, there’s a pretty good chance he’s a musician, right? The guitar communicates the message of “musician.”

Here are the props I’ve picked out for my photoshoot:

  • My dog, Weiland (’cause he’s my brand mascot)
  • MacBook
  • Moleskine
  • Kindle
  • Stack of my books

Those props will easily communicate “writer” and “author.”

What props can you use to communicate who you are? 

5. Hire A Good Photographer

Be sure to hire a good photographer who actually knows what they’re doing. A good photographer will be able to come up with a whole bunch of ideas for how to communicate your words through the pictures.

You can find a good photographer by:

  • Asking around
  • Asking someone you know whose work is awesome
  • Checking out portfolios
  • Looking for photographer-for-hire ads on Craig’s List or other service-based websites
  • Googling “photographer” plus “your city”

A good photographer will be the icing on the cake.

Share With Us

What words represent your author brand? Share in the comments. 

Are you ready to UNLEASH the power of Manifestation Marketing so you can EXPLODE your fanbase and SELL MORE books? I’ve got something super awesome coming… get on the interest list so you’re the first to know when I announce it. 

Why It’s A Good Idea to Have One Website, Even When You Do Multiple Things

Hear me out on this one. Because I know up front it seems like it makes total sense to keep all of your creative work and projects separate from each other by having different websites. The books with the books. The artwork with the artwork. The whatever with the other whatevers.

Logically it does makes sense. Keep everything separate and contained in one place, so that it’s nice and neat and no one gets confused.

Here are the arguments I often hear for having multiple websites:

  • People will get confused if I have multiple projects on one site
  • People will get distracted
  • Readers don’t want to see information about your writing services and writers don’t want to see information about your books, etc.
  • It will be harder to get people interested in what I’m doing/interested in following me if I have too much stuff on one site that doesn’t go together

And, yes, all of those arguments are totally valid. Having multiple websites, one for each project or focus you have, is the traditional way of thinking about marketing.

But there’s a better and much more effective way to think about it: the Digital Age way.

In the Digital Age, there is power in being YOU. There is no one else in the world exactly like you–there never has been and there never will be.

Being you makes you unique, automatically.

So rather than try to separate or compartmentalize all the different things that make up who you are and what you do (which is the traditional way of doing it), put them all together with YOU as the thing that ties it all together.

I’m better with examples… so here’s a quick graphic I drew up to illustrate what I’m talking about:

FullSizeRender-4

The black-marker drawing is the old way of thinking, that everything you do has to be separate from each other. The blue-marker drawing is the new way of thinking about it.

I call it the “Authorpreneur Brand.” What that means is, you as the writer/author are the “umbrella” that everything else falls under. Think of it like a celebrity brand. A celebrity has her movies and her music, her makeup line and her haircare line, etc. But all of it fits on the same website because the thing that brings it all together is her as the celebrity.

Yes, you can also have separate websites if you prefer, to let people find out more or go deeper. But you can still use one website as the “home base” for all of that (and then just connect your main website to all the sub-sites).

One of the bigger arguments I hear for having multiple sites is that people will get confused or readers don’t want to see your writing services and vice versa. But here’s the truth: by being you, you will attract your ideal audience, and your ideal audience will buy into YOU, not into what you do.

Meaning, people who love you and love who you are and who resonate on a deep level with you, will want to know everything that you’re doing. They’ll want to follow all of the stuff you have going on. (And the rest of them don’t matter!).

Makes it a lot easier for them to do that when you have one website, right?

So that’s my reason for recommending you have one main website for everything you do as an authorpreneur.

I’ve done the multiple website thing. I used to totally believe that you had to keep it all separate. So I had a website focused on motivation and inspiration for writers called Procrastinating Writers; and I had a website focused on creative wellness and the writing life called InkyBites; and then I had a website for my author brand and coaching services called JenniferBlanchard.net.

Problem was, I was spread so freaking thin trying to keep up with all these sites that I wasn’t being effective in any one area. I was making very little impact. And I’m here to make an impact on the writing world.

In order to do that, I had to suck all those other brands up into one brand: Jennifer Blanchard. Me, as the authorpreneur, at the center of everything.

So many of us writers are multipotentialites, meaning we’re passionate about multiple things, not just writing. And it’s totally OK for us to be this way. But it does make marketing a bit more challenging.

One way to make it easier on yourself is to find a way to make yourself the brand and build everything else from that.

Share With Us

How can you pull together all of your interests and passions under YOU as the brand? 

Ready to launch your author platform? Join my FREE 5-day challenge and launch your author platform this week! Full details here