Write of Way #13 – The Importance of Author Branding
When it comes to author branding, I personally prefer a simple design seared onto the hindquarters. I’ve found this makes the branding process less painful for my authors and much easier to read in the long-term.
I…I apologize for that. But hey, if you didn’t come here expecting puns, well, you didn’t come prepared.
Ahem. To the point.
Every author has a brand, whether they mean to or not.
You could think of author brands like a bit of food in your teeth on a first date. They’re noticeable, unforgettable, and they highlight what makes you uniquely you.
In hindsight, this was a terrible analogy.
Let’s start again (after a fresh tooth brushing, perhaps).
Virtually every successful author has a brand they cultivate. For some it’s intentional. For others, it’s just a product of who they are. Whether intentional or not, an author’s brand is a large factor in determining how they are perceived by their fans and potential fans.
Fantasy author and self-proclaimed “angriest man alive,” Sam Sykes can occasionally be found bombarding Twitter with obnoxious cries of “Buy my book!” But this doesn’t deter his fans who continue to eat up all his fiction.
Lord of all things grimdark, righteously elected (via trial by withering sarcasm), Joe Abercrombie can routinely be found meting out what at first appear to be self-serving and disingenuous statements. And yet, his fans love it.
Both of these authors may, at first, seem off-putting. Who wants Sam Sykes going all “Here’s Johnny!” on them to buy his book? As well, it seems contradictory that an author can be so blatantly invested in their own financial gain as Joe Abercrombie and not turn into a modern-day Scrooge. And yet, it works. But why?
It works because that’s their brand. Both of these are rather extreme examples, but they drive the point home. Sykes and Abercrombie are playing up their personalities to create brands that are half-hyperbolical and half-genuine. It’s a potent mix and one I’ve personally fallen in love with.
But it isn’t the only option.
Your brand doesn’t have to be a caricature or hyperbolical version of your personality. Your author brand can also just be you being you.
Fannypack enthusiast and all-around badass author, Delilah S. Dawson does exactly this. Her Twitter feed is the definition of “keeping it real.” Her followers get to know her on a more personal level. They see the ups and downs of writing, publishing, and even just living life.
Your author brand can be like any of these examples. But it also doesn’t have to be.
In fact, when it comes to creating your own brand, your options are nearly limitless. They’re as unique as you are. After all, you are the writer, you are the product, and the brand should start with you.
Your brand can be whatever you want it to be (within reason, I suppose. Shouting profanities while littering probably doesn’t qualify as “branding”).
I could write an entirely separate blog post on how to reinforce and promote your brand, but marketing professionals everywhere have pretty much said all there is to say on that topic. Instead, I’ll simply say this:
- Find a unique brand that fits you and appeals to your audience.
- Be consistent.
That’s pretty much it. Follow those two rules and soon you’ll be rolling in riches with more book deals than you could possibly have dreamed one step closer to achieving your authorial success.
Branding yourself as an author doesn’t need to be some expensive, laborious endeavor. If my experience working in marketing has taught me anything, it’s that the best branding is genuine. There are a million and a half writers out there, but only one of them is you. That’s your strongest asset. Use it.
As always, I love to hear your thoughts. What is your approach to branding? Have you considered doing so before? Any tips or tricks you use?