Think “brand” and we often conjure up images of Coca Cola products or soap. But an author brand is just as vital to your marketing efforts, and your author branding begins even before you publish your first book.
Here, a primer on building your author brand. We encourage you to spend some quality time considering your unique branding possibilities. You and your brand will spend a great deal of time together as you build your career.
1. Identify Your Author Brand
As an author, YOU are your brand, and your books are each products within that brand. Examples include Stephen King, Hugh Howey, JK Rowling and more. You hear their names and a certain “type” of book comes to mind, right? That’s branding, pure and simple.
So, you may not have multiple books out there yet, you may not have the first one out. But you have an idea (or should) of how you’d like to be defined as an author. Write down a list of descriptive terms you’d like readers to use about you and your work, whether that’s master of legal thrillers or the new voice of southern gothic. Visualize what you want readers to think of when they think of your book(s).
2. Be TRUE to Your Author Brand
“But I’m unique, I can’t BE Coca Cola.” No one’s asking you to, and some authors don’t fit neatly into a category or genre. That’s fine, 7-Up did pretty okay branding itself as the “Un-Cola.” Just take a look at today’s savvy men and women entrepreneurs; they’re redefining a generation of genius. “Geeks” who used to be portrayed in mass media with pocket protectors and thick glasses, now are the “cool kids.”
No matter how shy you are or how obscure you may believe your brand to be (just as Apple once was!), there really is a tribe of readers out there looking for the very brand you can provide them.
3. Build Your Author Brand
Once you determine what you want your author brand to be, you can begin building that brand. Think consistency. This will include how you talk about yourself and your work, how your author website looks, the types of events you choose to participate in, and of course your overall demeanor. As media trainer and brand message developer Brenda McClain points out, “Don’t forget the 90% factor. Studies show your words account for just 10% impact. The rest is in how you deliver your message, the value of your passion, genuineness, sincerity and likeability.”
“But I’m an introvert, I can’t talk about myself.” Well, maybe that’s part of your brand as well. (And in fact, we know two successful authors who are self-confessed introverts and talk about THAT, too.)
But brand building doesn’t have to be about telling everyone everything about you. You’re sharing what’s uniquely yours to communicate the VALUE you offer to your readers. If you write self-help books, your readers will want the latest, greatest ways to improve their lives with your words. If you write women’s fiction, fans of women’s fiction deserve to know there’s a storyteller around in their favorite genre.
4. Share Your Author Brand
Now comes the fun: sharing your brand all across your author platform. You’ll begin with your author website. Then, you’ll want to make sure you keep your branding consistent across your social media, your press releases, your review pitches, your media appearances and at events.
You’ll find that by keeping your message consistent and authentic and putting it out there as often as possible, readers will come to know you as exactly the author you set out to be!
Have a way you’ve defined your author brand you want to share with fellow authors? Please do with your comment below!
More Resources: Excellent Articles on Author Branding
- Huffington Post – Why Every Writer Needs An Author Brand
- 6 Branding Tips for Writers and Authors
- The Secret to a Powerful Author Brand
AND… Download this gem from Hubspot!
Finally, enjoy this video, Powerful Author Branding!