How to Build Your Author Brand Through Online Events – by Emma Hall

How to Build Your Author Brand Through Online Events – by Emma Hall

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As many fiction writers know, book sales make up only a portion of a writer’s income. Festivals, conferences, and library appearances are valuable tools for additional revenue, and to promote titles. However, lockdowns and restrictions have made these writers’ events more challenging. Many writers are unable to fly around the country to go to the usual calendar of large-scale occasions, and localized events have been postponed or cancelled.

Running your own event online can offer the same advantages of appearing at live events, with the added bonus of reaching a wider audience, and connecting with your readers without the need to travel. Additionally, online events are often preferred by people with busy work lives or family schedules, who can more easily fit a virtual talk or workshop into their day.

What kind of event can you host online?
Most writers’ events can easily be adapted for a virtual format. Although promotion of a new title is the most important type of event for any writer, there are many other kinds of appearances that you can arrange between new releases.

– Workshops – writers’ workshops are widely popular and well attended by aspiring wordsmiths. As an author, you have exceptional guidance and insights to offer into the craft of writing. You can offer a workshop into writing fiction, non-fiction, biography, or whatever you have expertise in.

– Panels – panel discussions are a mainstay at writers’ festivals, but there’s no reason why you need to wait to be invited to one. If you have a strong author network, bring together a group to discuss a theme common to your work. Themes should be topical and offer lots of room for discussion.

– Business of writing – if you work professionally as a writer, you can offer your insights into the writing life for an online audience. Tips and advice regarding getting published, working with editors, and pitching ideas are all very popular with audiences.

How can you market your event?
It is imperative that you have good marketing strategies in place to make your online event a success. As the event is taking place online, having a strong internet presence is important. Begin by developing a thorough understanding of your event and what value it will offer to the attendees. Think about your target audience and consider the best way to deliver your event to them.

Once you have a clear proposition, develop a brief event outline that you can use for marketing. This should clearly demonstrate what the event involves, what it will provide to attendees, and why they should attend. Including some biographical information to show your credentials is a good idea.

You can then use this event outline to market the event through whatever channels you have available. Social media is an easy place to start, and you can even invest in some sponsored ads if you have the budget to do so. If you have a mailing list, sending out information and reminders about the event will result in interest from your existing fan base. Your personal author website is another option.

How can you monetize your event?
The best way to make money from hosting your own online event is to sell tickets. This will require a ticketing system, which you will need to pay for. You can also consider special offers, such as early bird tickets or bonus extras. Authors may want to further incentivize by offering a free copy of your book with each ticket sold. This builds your readership as well as gaining more attendees to your event.

Another option is to find event sponsors. Approach relevant brands to sponsor the event in exchange for you offering them some visibility with your audience. This is especially relevant for non-fiction authors in specific areas. Remember, it’s not necessary to monetize your online event – your objectives might be exposure and building your author brand instead.

What technology should you use?
In the past eighteen months, we have all become more adept at using virtual platforms and video conferencing. There are many options available for presenting to a wide audience. When considering these, some factors to think about include how easy it is to distribute access details, if you have functionality such as sharing your screen or a chat box for questions, and how secure your online event will be to prevent unwanted attendees.

When getting ready to present, make sure you have a reliable internet connection and a good microphone. Using headphones often helps to prevent feedback or outdoor sounds. Choose a platform you are comfortable using and always test your technology beforehand.

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Emma Hall is a young emerging writer living in Melbourne, Australia. Her short fiction has been published in several journals and anthologies, including PENinsula Journal, Litro Magazine, Short and Twisted Anthology and The Wire’s Dream Magazine. Emma is a professional freelance writer and communications consultant, with extensive experience writing articles for print and online publications. She is currently seeking representation for her first novel. Emma writes about books, writing and more at emmahallwrites.com

 

Fall 2020 24 Hour Short Story Contest


 



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