Sunday, June 9, 2013

How Authors Build Brand

Using social media post updating, blog posts, news releases and social commenting gives my writing online exposure. 

Sunny Nash's First Newspaper Column "Yesterdays" Knight-Ridder Bryan-College Station Eagle
Sunny Nash's First Newspaper Column
"Yesterdays" Knight-Ridder
Bryan-College Station Eagle
My syndicated newspaper columns in Knight-Ridder and Hearst newspapers gave birth to my book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s. My first column, Yesterdays, led to an offer from Hearst's Houston Chronicle to contribute on a regular basis to the column, State Lines, in the Sunday edition, Texas Magazine

Before the online viewer read my content, the newspaper reader read my stories.

In the 1990s, in Hearst and Knight-Ridder newspapersI wrote stories about my childhood with Bigmama, my part-Comanche grandmother, my parents, relatives, friends, teachers and the impact of Jim Crow laws on our housing, ability to get jobs, education, entertainment, health care and civil rights. By writing about my life in my newspaper columns, I began to build brand, which has led to my career as a content writer on online subjects that I choose.

Civil rights were real issues in the daily lives of African Americans, but the denial of these civil liberties did not prevent us from building strong values, work ethics and educational goals. Any degree of happiness within our black families and communities was and remains a difficult concept for some modern readers to understand.  But there was happiness and those are the stories that launched my career as a professional writer and published author.

I began to build band by writing about the fears, hopes and dreams of my family. 

Rosa Parks Booking Photo Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks Booking Photo
In my newspaper content writing, I expanded my personal account of events surrounding my childhood to include the civil rights issues that affected my family, such as the 1954 Brown v the Board of Education, 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King; 1960 Woolworth Sit-ins; 1961 Freedom Riders; and countless other known and unknown activities across the nation. My little stories became a window into which many American mainstream readers could observe civil rights issues from slavery, through Jim Crow and black codes, the Civil Rights Movement, school desegregation, busing and the development of race relations in America.

Readers responded in letters and let me know they regarded my content as valuable to their understanding of race relations in America. 

With each article I wrote and published, I built brand.

With reader interest growing, media exposure and fan mail mounting from national distribution, a managing editor at Texas A&M University Press, Mary Lenn Dixon, approached me about creating a manuscript of selected articles for review and publication into a book. What a break! Of course, I agreed. The book, Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s, was born and so was my career as a published author and now a content writer producing blog posts on my favorite online subjects. 

Sunny Nash  Book Signing & Sam Washington
& Sam Washington
Photo: Carolyn Smith Watts
Bigmama Didn’t Shop At Woolworth’s was selected as a resource for understanding U.S. race relations by the Association of American University Presses. As a result, some authorities consider me a leading author on race relations, quoting me in articles and reference books, and including my work in anthologies. All of these honors count when it comes to a book promotion, which should include appearances to speak and sign books as well as social media post updating.

Build brand with post updating and blog posts on your favorite online subjects.

Today, instead of writing a column, I am an author and a blogger. Print newspapers and other printed periodicals are rare these days, due to the Internet customer viewing content online. Many of my favorite hangouts, bookstores, are out of business. I do miss the old days. But not so much that I let the romantic memory of them keep me in the dark ages.

Growing professionally means changing with the times. And the times, they are a-changing! It did not take me long to realize that  blog posts could serve the same purpose as a newspaper column when it comes to collecting and organizing your writing. In fact, there are online publishers that can convert your blog posts and into a book or eBook.

With an Internet connection, you can place your talent and skills along side others for little or no money. There is online competition, I admit. Online competitors vie for online customer dollars. Remember, the best online marketing strategies MUST include engaging writing for the human reader as well as the search engines. No amount of sophisticated technology can replace strong writing skills. And poor writing cannot be hidden behind behind a wall of special effects and production music.

The written word in the form of a film script is still the secret to the hit movie. Like a hit movie, your advertising text needs to have a good story line to fill theater seats. Authors can learn a few tricks from successful movies using YouTube video ads to market big movies. Go to Youtube and find a movie trailer for any new cinema release. Movie trailers, playing now as a YouTube video ad, are produced especially for the Internet. Publishers and authors are doing the same thing. I am even trying my hand at this online marketing device. 

To build brand using a YouTube video link to your book trailer would be to use still images, a voice over, background music and video. This method may take some professional assistance. However, the impact may be greater if executed properly.

Bigmama Didn't Shop  at Woolworth's by Sunny Nash
Bigmama Didn't Shop
at Woolworth's
Photograph your book cover
Import high-quality images of the book cover
Record voice over
Find free background music
Edit elements together
Upload to YouTube

If you are still hesitant about producing a video and creating a YouTube channel, there are books, courses and study guides to teach you video production techniques. These educational resources also teach you how to make the best use of your equipment when shooting your video. Editing and rendering in the proper format for your YouTube channel are also covered.

Another aspect of a book promotion is through your YouTube channel, where, on the dashboard, there is a share button allowing you to share a YouTube video link with your social media followers. When you share your YouTube video link on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media, ask your social media followers to share the YouTube video link of your book trailer with their connections.

Build brand using your YouTube channel featuring your book trailer.

If you don't have a YouTube channel, start previewing videos others are producing to build brand and then sign up for a YouTube account. You already know how to construct and tell stories. Turn those stories into online content. The best way to start producing book trailers and other YouTube video ads for a book promotion is to get started. You can do it. Remember, YouTube is a social media community connected to other social media networks. Go ahead. Get them talking about your book. Below is one of my book trailers.

Custom Search civil rights history and anything else.

To create a book promotion, begin with post updating to get the online viewer reading about you and your book. The online viewer becomes your online customer. Giving an online viewer an understanding of what you have to offer also leads to public speaking engagements, placing you in front of live audiences that will spend cash for your book and buy other products you sell online. 

Start to build brand for your ideas and your book. FaceBook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections or other social media contacts can be your initial online viewer. 

Selling books online has changed how we conduct a book promotion campaign.

I use social media to help in marketing my traditionally published book, Bigmama Didn't Shop at Woolworth's (Texas A&M University Press), about life with my grandmother. When the book was first released the publishing industry was just beginning to adjust to the new digital age. Now that the adjustment seems to have been made, I have become a content writer for attracting the Internet customer. Now on Amazon in both Kindle digital reader format and in print versions, my book reaches my target audience easier than ever. 

You probably have prestigious literary contributions and awards that you can incorporate into social media promotions and a press release. Look through your old portfolio and find something you can use in promotional copy. Even old stuff can be dusted off and paraded out for a new look. Social media connections will get a closer look at you for a greater appreciation for what you have to offer.

In addition to holding valuable marketing material, that old portfolio may hold valuable ideas you may have forgotten about or had not considered before as material to build brand. In reviewing my old portfolio, I found enough resources to write a book about one of my favorite historical subjects--Rosa Parks, the real women behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I wonder how social media would have affected Rosa Parks, Jim Crow laws  and the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks and similar online subjects are ideal for a history buff like me. 

Start today to build brand with a news release in the third person. Pretend you are writing about someone you greatly admire. Establish a YouTube channel. Just start! 

Custom Search anything here!

    Bigmama Didn’t Shop  At Woolworth’s  Sunny Nash

Hard Cover

Amazon Kindle
Sunny Nash author of bigmama didn't shop at woolworth's

Sunny Nash is an author, producer, photographer and leading writer on U.S. race relations. 

Sunny Nash writes books, blogs, articles and reviews, and produces media and images on U.S. history and contemporary American topics, ranging from Jim Crow laws to social media networking. Sunny Nash is the author of Bigmama Didn't Shop At Woolworth's (Texas A&M University Press), about life with her part-Comanche grandmother during the Civil Rights Movement.

Sunny Nash’s book is recognized by the Association of American University Presses as essential for understanding U.S. race relations. Nash's book is also listed in the Bibliographic Guide for black studies at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York; and recommended for Native American collections by the Miami-Dade Public Library System in Florida. Nash uses her book to write articles and blogs on race relations in America through topics relating to her life--from music, film, early radio and television, entertainment, social media, Internet technology, publishing, journalism, sports, education, employment, the military, fashion, performing arts, literature, women's issues, adolescence and childhood, equal rights, social and political movements--past and present—to today's post-racism. homepage

© 2015 Sunny Nash. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 
~Thank You~

Sunny Nash – Race Relations in America


  1. I really like your blog. The online market has no doubt boomed over the past couple of years and since technology keeps improving everyday, it's important to efficiently get your name out there in order to not become just another fish in the sea. Seo services are vital weapons in this competitive business world and they can help you make a name for yourself out there in cyberspace.

  2. You are certainly right in your estimation of the new technology's impact on publishing, marketing and journalism. In many ways, technology makes things easier. However, as you said, technology increases competition among practitioners. And the game is changing quickly and must be studied constantly to stay informed. Thank you for your comment.


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