Blogger: Mary Keeley
We all have our favorite brands, from toothpaste to cars, and we recognize their packaging when we see them. Almost automatically, subconsciously, our brains send quick reminders of the reasons we prefer them to other similar products. This is the way your author brand should work for your growing audience.
Define Your Brand
Your author brand is you. The books you write reflect you and therefore your brand. Genre selection and your voice, personality, passion, and writing style are elements that define your unique brand because you are unique. This distinction sets your books apart from those by every other author, so this explains why it’s so important to capture the one-and-only you factors.
Therefore, ask your critique partners or mentors for their perspectives on you, including your values and strengths that show up in your writing. Others often see qualities we miss in ourselves. One of my clients, a popular blogger, also created a survey for her followers to fill out, providing perhaps the most valuable feedback because it came from her readers. If you are just beginning or are still unsure you have clearly nailed down your brand, your answers to the following questions will give you insight.
- Have I chosen the genre that best suits my interests and passions, or am I going for what is currently popular? Genre popularity is cyclical, so choosing by that standard alone is a mistake and won’t result in your best writing if it’s the wrong fit for you.
- Who are the readers I want to attract? How can I communicate my brand so that is touches their deepest needs and desires? How can I give back to them?
- Nonfiction writers: What topics am I most passionate about? How can I convey my message in my unique writing style?
- Fiction writers: What kinds of stories do I want to write? What values do I want to express in the characters I create?
Readers who enjoy one of your books for the first time go on to become loyal readers when you continually deliver those qualities they like and expect in your books. Your brand provides boundaries that prevent you from straying.
Refine Your Brand
Next, address three primary areas you need to refine for successful brand recognition.
- Quality and relevance of your work. Not much needs to be added about this that hasn’t been said many times before on this blog. You can’t build a successful brand without great craft and content that people want to read…and continue reading.
- Emotional connection. The more your readers and potential readers are able to relate to you and establish an emotional connection with you, the faster your name will be recognized and your brand will be discovered and grow. People will want to read your books when they feel they know you and like you. The tricky thing about this is to maintain an appropriate balance between personal sharing and maintaining a professional author image.
- Consistency EVERYWHERE. Always write and speak through the lens of your brand. This includes your marketing plan on your proposals; throughout your social media presence; on your website and blog; in your marketing and publicity campaign and advertising; and your personal appearances at book signings, radio, online, and print interviews.
Tag Your Brand
Finally, create your tagline. Its purpose is to point to what is unique about your brand within your genre in a few identifying words that will be easy for readers to remember. For example, Apple has used several taglines over the years. The most common one is “Think different.” One of my favorites is “Beauty outside. Beast inside.” However, the ever-present Apple logo provides the consistency. You can update your tagline, too, as you update the relevance of your books to the changes in culture and in the world, but your brand does not change.
Are you struggling with any part of defining your brand? Tell us the best feedback you’ve received that helped you identify it.
Define, refine, and tag your author brand. These tips will help you. Click to Tweet.