What is author branding? Author branding is presenting yourself in such a way that when readers think of you they associate a feeling, a message, a book with you. A type of book, a style of writing that, like your fingerprint, is you. Even if you write in different genres, the essence of how you write will always be yours.
Today’s popular authors have a style of writing and message unique to them no matter what they write about. Their readers come to know, love, and trust their writing.
Have you ever fallen in love with a book and, immediately upon finishing it, wanted another one just like it? That’s the power of branding.
Developing your author brand is important if you want to sell a lot of books this year, more next year, and a lot more the year after that. Write each book and blog post with the goal of building your audience rather than start from scratch each time. Link your books, your writing, your social media efforts, your public speaking, and website to a core message as a single brand. By having a consistent brand and a unified message you raise your chances of becoming a successful author.
With all that said, let’s get started building and identifying your brand.
Step 1: Ask yourself this question: Are you a writer of fiction or nonfiction?
Step 2: If nonfiction, is it inspirational, technical, historical, or business? If it’s fiction, is it mystery, science fiction, romance, or historical? Is it thrilling like Stephen King or quiet like Jan Karon’s Mitford series?
Step 3: What would you like your readers to experience with your books? Escape for a bit or rev up their motors and start a new project?
Step 4: How can you build upon that experience outside of your books? For instance, if you were a writer of children’s stories, you would have your website appeal to children and parents. If you have a business book, you might complement your book by what you blog about.
Step 5: Write a mission statement for your brand as an author. (If done well this will take some time and effort.) Once you have it, print it out and put it plainly where you can see it often.
Step 6: Keep everything you do, write, or speak about focused on your mission. If you can keep that one thought in the front of your mind, your brand will deepen daily with little effort.
Step 7: Unite your efforts by referring to your mission statement with your website, business card, email signature, social media bios, article writing, and blogging.
Step 8: Write a good bio and put it on your website. Center it around your mission statement. Make sure you explain what has inspired your writing. What makes your writing unique and offers a perspective that’s different from other authors in your genre?
Step 9: Think of one word that exemplifies your writing. Honesty, passion, frightening, encouraging, thrilling, fun, danger, peaceful, comforting, etc. Associate it now with a color. Start using that color consistently and it will become part of your brand.
Step 10: Visualize your brand as an image. Think of McDonald’s golden arches, Apple’s logo of an apple with a bite out of it, or the roaring lion of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. It could be something fun, simple, or dramatic. You don’t have to actually print or use your logo, but having an image that ties in with your brand is a powerful mental trick for staying brand centered.
In the beginning you may think it’s over the top to brand yourself as an author, that it’s something to do only when you’ve made it. But every author who pulls away from the herd has developed his or her brand in some way, a brand that causes people to recognize and remember them.