As an author, it’s important to learn how to protect your brand when the need arises. Most authors won’t have to worry about the loss of their content, negative publicity or any other event that can spell damage to your author brand. There will be a few authors who will face one or more of these nightmares.
This article is to make sure that you don’t become one of them.
Dark Side of Author Brands: Exposure Isn’t Always a Good Thing
The goal of most authors when publishing their book online is exposure. They want as many people to see their book as possible. Ordinarily, this is a good thing, but there are also people out there will turn that exposure into a bad thing.
One of the most obvious examples is stealing your content. While the probability of having your book stolen is low, the possibility is out there. There are people who will steal your content to sell on another site. (This happened to an author I worked with.) They may also change a part of the book (such as the title or the gender of the characters) and sell it under a different name. This happened to Becky McGraw.
Another nightmare for an author is dealing with negative comments in response to their work. In most circumstances, readers will explain themselves when they leave a negative comment or review. They might say that they didn’t like a certain aspect of the book’s content. In those situations, all you need to do is swallow your pride and learn from their criticism (if it is helpful).
On the other hand, negative comments can go too far. Some comments on an author’s book page personally attacked the author or the book’s content. For example, a whistleblower might see personal comments from people at the company they reported about. Authors (and sometimes readers) might also intentionally post negative reviews to drive people away from an author and toward the author of their choice. More aggressive tactics may be needed to deal with these situations.
These situations aren’t pleasant to deal with but knowing that they can happen, but dealing with them early can save a lot of legal and financial headaches later
Marketing Defence: The 3-Level Defense System for Protecting Your Brand
As the sports saying goes, the best defence is offence. For authors, this means being alert to any potential threats to your brand that might need your attention. One simple way of doing this is setting up the 3-level defence system mentioned below:
Level 1: Detect Keep tabs on the different elements that make up your brand. This includes your book title, your name, and any other unique concepts related to your book. A simple Google alert should do the trick. (That’s how I caught a person attempting to sell an author’s book.) Additional things you might want to include social media alerts (to monitor your reputation), your web pages (to watch for spam), your review pages, and your sales reports (to check for any sudden changes in book sales)
Level 2: Gather evidence Once you find something that requires your attention, you need to dig in a little further. What is the threat? Is it a bad review, plagiarism, etc? Can you figure out who is behind it? Collect all the data that you might need to prove your case.
Level 3: Fight Back Once you find a threat that needs to be addressed, your next step is to figure out what the appropriate response will be. This can vary widely. For s simple negative review, you might be OK with ignoring it unless there are specific issues that you want to discuss. In other cases, legal action might be required. Don’t make any hasty moves despite your feelings. Check all your options and make the decision based on your situation.
What to Do if You Need More Help
Determining the type of options you have to defend your brand depends on where the threat happened and what damage could happen. For example, if you receive negative reviews that crossed the line on your Amazon sales page, you can report that to Amazon. If those reviews came on your own author website, you can delete or block them yourself. You might also need to report these incidents to the police or other authorities if they cross the line of hate speech or physical threats.
Taking Charge of Your Brand
Having an author brand should be a wonderful experience, but it is also a risk. Taking time to understand how you will deal with the potential negative side of this risk will help you better appreciate the positive side. Enjoy your brand, but also be sure that you protect your author’s brand.