While I don’t think an author should go back to school for a marketing degree, I do think it is important for an author to understand some simple marketing concepts because every author will have to spend some time promoting their work.
A Brand, in terms of promotion is developing a persona of sorts…You need this persona so people know what to expect when they read things by you; they want to know what they are getting.
You should also develop a brand so you send a clear and consistent message about who you are and what you write. Here’s a simple example: Say you are promoting your book on Facebook and through a blog. If your Facebook page looks modern with artsy pictures and bright colors, but your blog uses antique colors and classical pictures, your fans will think they are following two different people. Your brand is how you present yourself to the world, and you want that presentation to be consistent so you don’t risk confusing your followers.
An author’s brand may well be tied to his/her genre, but there are so many more ways you can communicate a brand. For example you can brand yourself by your covers or fonts (think Harry Potter) when you print your books. You can brand yourself with the colors you use and the style of images you use in your promotion (for example, one of my author/clients has written about surviving breast cancer so pink is a color in her brand). I have another author/client who has a tagline that reads, “Writing Supernatural Fiction for All Ages”; that is his brand–it tells his reader’s what to expect.
Branding yourself as an author is a good way to confirm your credibility, longevity and more, it helps readers find you and it helps create reader loyalty. When you use “branding” in your communication, you reinforce who you are to your readers and they will easily recognize you in the loud world of marketing.
You can discover aspects of your brand–the way you set yourself apart from every other author–by answering a few questions like:
- What are my books about: what qualities do they have? What themes run through them?
- What is my goal as a writer? Do I aspire to write 50 books in this genre, or will I write books in many genres?
- What message does my writing send to the world?
- Is there a color or an image that represents what I write?
- Is there a powerful sentence that represents what I do? Where can I use that? (hint: in your email, your blog and social media!)
The answers to these questions will begin to build your brand. The next step is to fold your answers into your marketing message, your online presence and even in your books where appropriate.
Your turn: What aspects of branding are confusing to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!