Become a Fan to Build Your Brand

06/28/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In my previous post, "Authors, Work with Your Competitors" I spoke about aligning yourself with other authors who are in the same genre as a way to increase your visibility. The premise is that you already share the same audience so why not cross promote each other for maximum exposure.

As promised, I wanted to share some tangible ways you can find supportive and valuable allies for your brand. This is networking on a whole new level.

Make a wish list of people with whom you want to partner. Figure out who the leaders are in your industry. Pick people who you respect and whose content you would genuinely recommend.

Start a conversation long before you write your first book or intend to reach out for their support. It can be as simple as sending your ideal partners a personalized card in the mail telling them what a fan you are, which of their books you really enjoyed, why you liked them and the difference it has made in your life.

Build traction by going to their speaking engagements and events so that you can meet them in person whenever possible. Get to know them and be generous and genuine with your praise.

Engage on Facebook. By joining the fan pages of your fellow authors you can support them and yourself by posting comments on their updates and walls.

Be proactive on Twitter. I always check out who is retweeting me or mentioning my account in their tweets. It is a great way to find good people to follow or friend because they are making positive comments about something I have said or written.

Visit the websites of your ideal partners and begin to comment on their blogs and they will start to take notice of you and your brand. Make sure you do so in a way that is authentic and not for the sole purpose of linking back to your site. I have a writing colleague who wanted to align herself with particular authors as potential clients so she decided to gain visibility by commenting on their blogs. What she found out was that they blogged very infrequently. This gave her the idea to develop an entire blogging service for her existing clients as well as those who were on her wish list. Her inspiration came from her desire to connect and to fill the need of her clients.

If you consistently do these strategies for a while (it does not happen overnight) it will be much easier to make a request for an endorsement of your brand because your allies are familiar with you.

Two to three times a week I am asked to endorse books. I don't endorse anything I have not read in its entirety and I don't have a lot of time to read everything that comes my way. My filter is to pay attention to the ones whose names I recognize because they have shown up in my social media world or they have emailed me or introduced themselves somewhere. It's great when they make it a point to remind me where we have previously met.

When I first started working with Jack Canfield there was a book that came out that was similar to my book, Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul. It was titled, Chocolate for a Woman's Soul. It came out soon after his Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul became number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. I saw that Jack had endorsed the book. When I asked him why he would endorse a book that was a replica of his own, his response was "Why wouldn't I endorse it? It's a good book and it makes me feel good to support other authors." I was taught by the best that we live in an abundant universe.

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: />