RWA National: Putting the Real You into Your Author Brand

Kaira Rouda has spent most of her professional career in business, marketing, and advertising. The founder of the real estate magazine Real Living, she considers herself a woman entrepreneur, especially now that she’s a full-time writer. She has published four titles with Tule Publishing, with more in the pipeline.

In this workshop, Kaira focused on the principles found in her independently-published business book Turn Your Passion into Profit, which she has adapted for writers. To Kaira’s thinking, presenting yourself as real/genuine is vital; there’s too much out there for people not to find out, which damages trust in your author brand.

With 600,ooo to 1 million books published every years in the United States, how do you make your work stand out? By being real.

Kaira’s Real You chart is designed to help you walk through the process of identifying YOU/YOUR PASSIONS/YOUR BRAND. All of these relate to each other. The idea is to define these qualities in order for you to craft an authentic presence. In the workshop, she focused on the center three rings of the Real You Chart.

Some quick notes from the session:

  • Who are  your heroes? Four people who have had an impact on your–three or four attributes those people embody/why you admire them will give you an idea about what you value. Attributes that overlap in your heroes are qualities you aspire to yourself yourself.
  • What are your passions? You have to find what connects with others. Readers connect you as a person, not just because you want to sell your books. You are a person who does and loves X, not just someone who’s trying to sell a book.
  • When you share your passions as well as your stories, that’s when you make true and lasting connections. Consider sports, hobbies, people, causes, and more. (not necessarily politics)
  • If your brand is only about sales, your brand is going to bore people.
  • The whole chart is your personal keywords. They need to be in the bio, the ones the tweet about.
  • Snarks: People who try to undermine you, your passion, your brand. Surround yourself with real people who know you and what’s important to you.
  • Malcolm Gladwell: Nigglers (I read your book but you left out a comman in…); narcissists (I could have done that so much better”) and Scolds (“You should stick to business posts.”) – types of reviews that will happen. Your readers will help illuminate your personality as well.
  • Your brand/tagline is how you’re being perceived in the outside world
  • Make a mood board–remond yourself of who you are. Take time to nurutre yourself, or you just become book machine.
  • You have a great story to tell. It’s not all perfect, but it’s yours. It’s important that people know it and understand who you really are. Not just tactics and promos.

Kaira’s Real You for Authors: 8 Essentials for Women Writers and the accompanying chart are available for download at her website.

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