I could fill an entire series of books with the mistakes I’ve made over the years. I made some of my worst mistakes in eBook Branding. It’s all part of being in business. We try to do everything right then BAM! We screw up.
Here’re a few mistakes I’ve made over the years:
I wrote that we taught “marital arts” instead of “martial arts” (parents asked what kind of marriage skills I was teaching their children!)
I told a group of kids we were going to play the “testicle” game instead of the “tentacle” game (again, parents wondered exactly what I was trying to do)
And I once forwarded a confidential email from my department head to everyone in my address book. That one was hard to live down…
We all make mistakes and I’ve survived most of mine. But when it comes to branding, mistakes can be deadly, especially when you’re trying to build yourself as an authority in your field. In Your DIY Roadmap for Building Expertise and Authority, I shared:
“Create something new that shows your talents or take on an important issue. It’s important that your signature product is unique and innovative. This is where you take a risk and try something new. Take a look at the current experts in your field. I doubt they achieved the title of “thought leader” by doing the same-old thing. So be original, daring, and bold.”
An eBook is a perfect way to start building your brand’s credibility. Except when your end product doesn’t scream professional. Here are a few eBook deadly branding mistakes that can easily be avoided if you know what to look for.
Predictable Ebook Cover Design
Ever heard the saying never judge a book by it’s cover?
Of course, you’re going to judge a book by it’s cover! There are millions of eBooks out there! In 6 Ebook Cover Design Tips to Make Your eBooks Stand Out in the Crowd, Selz’s Kristen DeCosta explains:
“Just like there are cliches in writing, there are images that are cliches as well. It’s a concept that’s a little difficult to describe, but chances are you would be able to pick out a cliched image if you saw one. These images scream “stock photo” and are overused to the point of becoming familiar in a bad way.”
Let’s say you’re a new age blogger and wrote about mindfulness. This eBook cover is exactly what you would expect. A little sun, water, rocks, and nature. There is nothing original on this cover.
Now here’s an example from the same genre. Except this one is unique and eye-catching. It still has elements of nature but is done in a much different way.
Your #1 rule of thumb if when trying to build your own brand is to make sure your brand isn’t like everyone else's.
You Tried to Be Your Own Editor
I love to read. It was just like Christmas when I got my first Kindle and started downloading free eBooks. Until I actually tried to read the free eBooks and then I realized that sometimes you get what you pay for.
Every single writer on the planet needs an editor. Writing an eBook isn’t the same thing as writing a blog post. Although having a post proofread is always a great idea, people understand that blogs are more relaxed than published books. Here’s a review from an author on Amazon:
Your brand is going to be hurt if you have “dozens of typos where a word is left out”. It’s sloppy and an easy fix.
Get an editor.
Your Title is Blah
We have a ton of tools that help bloggers write engaging titles. There are thousands of articles out there that show exactly how to craft the perfect title. But very little on how to create an amazing book title.
One of my favorite writers, Jeff Goins, believes that choosing a title is the most important marketing decision you’ll make. In adds that:
“A book title needs to dare readers to pick up the book. That’s its one and only job — to get someone who’s never heard of you to consider spending $25 on a book they’ve never heard of before. So, err on the side of saying something controversial or unbelievable.”
One of the best examples of this is Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek. I heard about this book when it first came out and I laughed. As if!, I thought to myself. That title kept creeping into my mind over and over. What if I could work less? It’s probably worth $13 to figure it out. Of course, I ended up buying the book and became an instant fan. I don’t work 4-hour weeks, but I’ve learned some tricks I still use today. The title worked perfectly.
Spend a lot of time on choosing a title. Don’t rush it and get some input from people you trust. Make sure it delivers on your goal to improve your authority and scrap any title that seems tired, boring or blah.
DIY Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Get Help
Unless you’re independently wealthy and can hire a PR firm, you’re probably going to be winging most of your brand building. And that’s okay. Millions of people have build credible, valuable and popular personal brands on a tight budget. It just takes the right plan and input from the right people.
Ask a trusted friend to give you honest feedback. Tell them you don’t want heaps of praise but someone to point out any flaws before you publish. You’ll never be perfect and you’ll always make mistakes, but you can avoid rookie errors if you always get a second opinion.