Louise Harnby on self-publishing, marketing strategies and why branding matters – MAF157


My guest on the show this week is Louise Harnby.

If you’ve got a novel in you and you’re looking to get it published, Louise has some great advice to give. We also talk about how she’s built her personal brand and about how she markets her business.

Welcome to episode 157 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Louise Harnby on self-publishing, marketing strategies and why branding matters - MAF157

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • The importance of sharing your story in your own voice
  • Why self-published authors deserve professional editing services
  • How Louise got into content marketing
  • Why brand identity is essential
  • Why marketing advice should be given in plain language
  • What’s gone well and what hasn’t as she’s built her personal brand

Who is Louise Harnby?

Louise started out working in-house for an academic publishing house in the 90s. After she had a child, she decided to reassess her work-life balance and set up her own copyediting and proofreading business.

Today, she helps self-publishing authors to prepare their fiction books for market. A passionate advocate for storytelling, she found herself disagreeing with ‘literary snobs’ who say writers need a mainstream publisher, as she believes everyone should be able to share their words.

Summary of our chat

Writing is a great way of bringing clarity to your thoughts – to consolidate and structure them. When you create your own words, you know they’ve got your heart and voice in them. Writers sometimes worry that an editor will take that away. But Louise’s job let the voice of the author speak.

A writer may have a great idea for a book. But there a big enough market may not exist for the publisher to bother with it. However, the writer should still go through the same stages of production. That’s where people like Louise come in.  To smooth and correct the text so readers enjoy the story.

Louise loves marketing and found content marketing by accident. She didn’t read up on it. Her blog, created to answer frequently asked questions and save time, started showing up in search results. She realised that adding value and giving away advice for free was helping her to show up in search.

To attract independent authors, Louise realised she needed a strong brand identity. She found much advice telling her what she should have but not how to create it. And the advice was full of jargon. Defining her identity has led to more enquiries from her target market.

The language used to talk about marketing from an academic point of view can make people feel excluded. It’s valuable to learn from people who speak in plain language and speak to you in a way you understand. Otherwise, you’re made to feel different or not cool enough for marketing.

Louise learned a valuable lesson about segmenting mailing lists when she had subscribers getting the same messages twice. A problem she quickly fixed. She says that becoming more efficient with marketing saves time.  And it’s important you are authentic with your content and to give people the best advice.

The one thing she’d like listeners to take away

If you feel like you’re running around like a headless chicken when it comes to marketing, invest some of your budget on pro marketing and advice. This means you can make strategies and not worry about what to do.

A marketing campaign or product Louise loves

Louise thinks chatbots are the most exciting development. She’s used them in her own business. And explains that although they’re high-tech, you don’t have to be techy to use them. They’re easy to create and you can build an effective marketing campaign in no time.

Recommended books

Louise couldn’t pick just one book!

Write to be Published, by Nicola Morgan, is a comprehensive guide on how to write a book that’s readable and publishable, whether fiction or non-fiction.

She also recommends Sticky Marketing, by Grant Leboff, which looks at building trust and engagement.

Finally, Andrew and Pete’s The Hippo Campus, which talks about standing out and getting noticed in a crowded market.

Links and contact details

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