The concept of an author brand may be foreign to you. It may sound strange, as if you were some product to be marketed. In a way, that’s true. You, as an author, are a promise to your readers: you offer them something they can only get from you. Marketing your book is obvious: you want people to buy it. Marketing yourself, however, can be a little more difficult: you want people to come back for more.
So, what is an author brand?
An author brand is what your readers will come to expect from you. It’s a personality and a promise. Think of it like this: when you read something by Stephen King, you’re expecting to be scared. When your readers read something by you, they should be able to tell that it’s by you, whether it’s by your tone, point of view, or theme. This is not to say that you must write the same things over and over again in order to be recognized. You just need to employ a feeling that your readers will perceive as uniquely you. It’s all about continuity.
How do you find your author brand?
Finding your author brand is all about knowing who you are, both as a person and as an author. First, you must decide what you want to write: nonfiction, fiction? If fiction, what genre? Once you know this, your author brand will definitely become a bit clearer. Find your own spot within what you’ve chosen to write, and put your personality into your work. As you carve out a place for your writing, your author brand will begin to show itself.
How do you communicate your brand to your readers?
This isn’t as hard as it sounds—communicate with your readers! This means going above and beyond just writing books for them. Sure, that’s where they’ll first encounter you, but a good author brand creates a following. Make sure your social media channels embody your author brand. Use Twitter and Facebook to talk to your readers, allowing your voice to come through more than just your stories. A good example of successful author branding on social media comes from J.K. Rowling. Obviously widely known for her revolutionary Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling takes that magic and transforms it to fit to her personality on Twitter. Not only does she frequently tweet about Harry Potter and its spin-off series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but she also infuses her interactions with fans with magic, inspiration, and kindness. Take for example, her heartfelt message for those having a difficult time over the holidays.
Will an author brand hold you back?
While an author brand stems from your chosen genre, that doesn’t mean you must stay within that genre forever. Let’s use J.K. Rowling as an example again. Though she will always be known as the creator of Harry Potter, she won’t let that pigeonhole her. Since Harry Potter ended, she’s written several more books (two under her pen name, Robert Galbraith), screenplays, and news articles.
Being a writer means constantly challenging yourself to achieve more, to write more, and to create more. If you remember our blog post a couple weeks ago, one of our New Year’s resolutions is to challenge ourselves, as writers, to step out of our comfort zone. It’s okay to try something new, be it a new genre or a new type of character, so long as you keep your individual and recognizable voice.
It may take some time to create an author brand, but in the end, it will be worth it when your following grows and your fans turn to you for that undeniably unique voice.