brand persona apple

Mac’s brand may be defined by slick technology, sexy packaging and hands-on stores; its persona was later               addressed best through this famous ad campaign, showing a Mac as your fun, cool, trendy, reliable friend.

The publishing business can be a difficult one to navigate — particularly when you, as an artist and author, simply want to have as few barriers between your work and the world as possible. Alas, writing and publishing is undeniably a business, and making the best of it is an essential step for success.

Part of the work is tackling the seemingly never-ending job of marketing. When going about marketing, a key difference to understand is the difference between brand and persona:

Brand and Persona: Different Facets of Your Identity

Simply put, both brand and persona are tools by which you manage and deliver your identity to various external groups — readers, other authors, publication companies, the media, etc. And while both can help you accomplish goals such as promoting your work, brand and persona have more relevant differences for your purposes than similarities.

Author Persona: For More Intimate Applications

Most dictionaries define persona as a public voice or face one adopts to communicate to the public. But such definitions suggest that the persona is something separate you adopt and present as yourself. However, it may be more helpful to think of your author persona as the result of you magnifying certain aspects of your personality you wish to channel to your audience. While your persona is not a carbon copy of you, it should feature enough of you to feel natural to both you and your audience.

Your persona may be a more confident, more outgoing and more open version of you – which works well for communicating with readers, book club members, and the like. Your persona is more you, and is better suited for more intimate communications that can still be marketing messages; they just seem to be personal communications.

By showing your human side, you can appeal to those looking to connect with your work in a personal way. You should strive to make your persona approachable and pleasant, and show that you care about your readers. And while you can still promote your work, make sure you still sound human.

Brand: The Business Side

Building your brand reflects a more traditional marketing feel, as you are still trying to relate with audiences but the atmosphere is less intimate. Here, you’re not necessarily trying to showcase your personality as much as you are trying to evoke a reaction and provide an expectation to the publisher or potential reader with whom you’re communicating.

Brand communications should be more polished and professional — they are more business, and less personality. Think of your brand as the name or logo that acts as a shortcut to communicate what makes your work stand out.

So tell us – how are you promoting your own brand and author persona?

Our thanks to Cheryl Williams for this guest post. Cheryl Williams is the Managing Editor of content produced for

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4 thoughts on “Brand vs. Your Author Persona: The Difference

  • September 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I loved the confirmation of my own journey to figure out how to balance the two…

  • August 27, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Shari, thank you for inviting Cheryl Williams to write a guest post for Where Writers Win. From now on I will think more about my writer persona. I will associate it with who I am as a person, my personal nature, and my personality.

    As for brand, Susan Gunelius explains it very well in her book, Harry Potter as a Global Business Phenomenon. Reviews of it can be found at

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