Lisa Edwards runs her own independent publishing consultancy, Redwood Tree Publishing. She has twenty years’ experience in the publishing industry, primarily in children’s books, where she has managed brands such as Horrible Histories, The Golden Compass, The Hunger Games, Tom Gates and Stick Man. She is currently developing and leading a training course for trade commissioning editors at The Publishing Training Centre.
As the one-year anniversary of my blog hoves into view, I’ve realised that what I’ve been doing all this time is publishing myself.
I haven’t been self-publishing, as to me that means something different – the act of distributing a single novel, short story or work of non fiction online is very different to publishing a series of micro-works via a website.
I’ve come to view my individual blog posts as my ‘books’, which are part of my ‘imprints’, and I manage them as I would manage a list. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, it might help you to think about publishing yourself in the same way.
Your imprints and brand values
I have two imprints on my list, one personal, one professional. Under my first, Because I Can, I am writing for fortysomething single women about an independent lifestyle.
As a publisher of an imprint, you know that you have to remain consistent in terms of content, writing style and ‘brand’ values. It’s a good idea to return to your brand-value checklist frequently to ensure that you’re sticking to them.
Here are mine:
When it came to writing about books and publishing, I knew I needed to create a new imprint to allow me to present myself more professionally. Some of the core values remain the same, as does the authorial voice, but Redwoods Writes needed to be a completely different brand.
Again, consistency is key – my Facebook page, website, and business cards all convey the same visual message. Thinking of yourself as a brand every time you write anything is incredibly helpful, even if you feel awkward about considering yourself in that way.
It’s important for an author to be accessible to their audience and maintain an online presence that compliments their work. I believe in 360-degree authenticity so my Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads feeds can be viewed on both my WordPress websites. I want people to know that the real me is in the world in the moment – observing, capturing and writing about it all.
When I started blogging, I quickly found that the most-viewed, most-commented on posts were the ones I’d tied in with a particular news story or event. If you’ve got something to say about a current topic, write it quickly and get it out there. I try to meet ‘hashtag’ deadlines such as the Ice Bucket Challenge. There was only so long that this story was going to be trending.
I ‘market’ my publishing via Huffington Post, WordPress, my Facebook page, and my Twitter account. If you want to achieve ticker-tape coverage, retweet and ‘like’ your own posts throughout the day to ensure maximum visibility.
If you work in publishing, you have a head start in the blogosphere. You know how to publish a book, promote and publicise an author, and the importance of a consistent voice and message. Simply apply the rules to yourself.