Get Published Now! The secret of Author Branding
I’m coming out of the closet. I am an author marketer and branding specialist.
My business didn’t start out that way. I intended to help authors write their stories and their books. But one thing led to another and now, I help authors get to market. This means not only helping them write and publish, but also market their books. And developing their brand is a key component to marketing.
You may think that a brand is something only to do with products and companies. But actually, branding is now a concern for entrepreneurs and authors, alike. If you understand how to create your brand, and implement it consistently over time, you will create more value for your audience and hence more sales.
We will start the brand inquiry with this article.
What is a Brand?
A brand is a promise.
For an author and speaker, your brand is a promise to your readers and listeners.
To discover and uncover your brand, I invite you to explore you, your author self, and your book through a series of questions.
There is no right answer to creating your brand. Only what is right for you. If you fake it, we will know.
Based on information by professional branding specialist, Jenn Stark, (see resources below), I’ve created three categories: Your Core Brand, Your Functional Personal Brand, and Your Shadow Brand.
Your Core Brand
This brand is for you, and communicated to you by you. No one else dictates it, though others may influence it. However, you get to decide what this is. Knowing your core brand forms the basis for the second level of branding, Your Functional Personal Brand.
1. What do you tell yourself about yourself?
2. What is your taste in music? In food? In travel? In the kinds of places you call home?
3. What are your goals for the next 3 years? (Examples: travel to Paris, speak to a national writer’s conference, get my fantasy novel published)
Your Functional Personal Brand
As an author, you have an author brand. You may also be a speaker or run a business, or both. Each of those roles has a brand. Answer this set of questions for each aspect you’d like to brand.
1. What motivates you to bring your message to the world?
2. What is your message to the world – in this book project, and overall?
3. List 5-10 adjectives that best describe you as it pertains to your message of your book.
4. What are your strengths as a communicator/teacher/coach/speaker in your topic area?
5. How do you want to be known? What words do you want people to associate with you?
6. When you imagine yourself in front of a room talking about your message, how do you see yourself dressed? How are you relating to your listeners?
7. What do you see as your promise to your readers and listeners?
8. What kind of emotional connection do you want to create with your audience?
9. What experience do you want them to have as a result of encountering you or your message?
10. What action would you like them to take?
11. What result would you like them to have?
12. What makes you different from your competitors?
13. What value above all others do you want to communicate through your work?
14. How do you want people to remember you and your message long after you have left the room, or after they have stopped reading your book?
15. If you could have anyone you wanted write a back cover blurb, who would that be? And what would your readers feel about that person?
16. How do you want to be perceived as an author?
17. Who do you admire and want to emulate as a brand? Creat screen shots of the sites you like and don’t like. You can use them as a model as you develop your brand.
18. What are some of the messages you absolutely want your audience to know? State them as phrases or sentences.
We all have messages emanating from us all the time, some unintentional. Our shadow side is often there to keep us safe. As much as we are able, it serves us to become aware of our Shadow Brand so that we may choose differently.
What is it that you absolutely don’t want to communicate to your audience? This could be an unintended vibe, or negative trait.
Once you have answered all these questions, let the information sit. Come back a day or two later with fresh eyes. Cull through the information, noticing themes, words, and phrases that stand out. I suggest cutting and pasting them into a different document. Now, see if you can distill you Core Brand and your Author Brand into one phrase or list of adjectives.
In my last article, Get Published Now: Sell Some D*mn Books, I gave some examples, reposted here:
- Romance author Stephanie Tyler’: “Romantic suspense starring strong military heroes.” (http://stephanietyler.com/)
- Childrens and YA author Michael P. Spradlin: “Action. Drama. Humor. And stuff blows up.” (http://michaelpspradlin.com/)
- Mystery author Michael Connelly: crime journalist turns crime novelist inspired by Raymond Chandler. (http://michaelconnelly.com/index.html)
- Nonfiction author Malcolm Gladwell, Outlier, Blink and The Tipping Point, and now, What the Dog Saw (2009): Outlier Canadian journalist turns his cogent eye on the world. (http://www.malcolmgladwell.com/)
Post your author brand below and I’ll post my reflections, comments, and probing questions. By posting you’ll be testing the market. That’s the next phase: testing the market. And the subject of another post!
I’m grateful to these sites and blogs, bloggers and authors. Their information aided in the writing of this article.
http://www.knowyourbrand.com : Communications and Branding for Organizations, Authors & Entrepreneurs; site and blog by Jenn Stark
“Getting Your Brand On” http://wow-womenonwriting.com/32-FE2-AuthorBranding.html : Cathy C. Hall’s interview with author, Shelli Johannes-Wells
“Pre-Natal Care for Your Book by Lynn Sarafinn: http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/2009/10/pre-natal-care-for-your-book-by-lynn.html (This blog created was by Tony Eldridge: http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/)
Malle Vallik’s Blog about publishing, Harlequin, social media & entertainment: http://mallevallik.wordpress.com/tag/author-brand/
“How To Discover and Build Your Author Brand, article at the Creative Penn, by Joanna Penn: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/08/03/how-to-discover-and-build-your-author-brand/
PS. Last Note
Perhaps you don’t feel ready to consider branding. Then start with considering if publishing is right for you by reading my article, “Getting Published is Easy: 8 Things You Need to Know.
“This article was originally published in The National Networker Newsletter (http://www.TheNationalNetworker.com) , and is reprinted with permission. This article may not be reproduced in whole or part without including the name of this author and an acknowledgement of the fact the article was originally published in The National Networker Newsletter (http://www.TheNationalNetworker.com). Any other use of this material is unauthorized and is a violation of law.”