Why Building an Author Brand is Essential for Every Aspiring and Established AuthorMay 16, 2023
Aspiring and established authors are competing in an increasingly crowded marketplace, making it hard to stand out from the crowd.
Without a strong brand, you risk being lost in the shuffle. You need to be seen as an authority in your field if you want readers to take notice of your work. But how do you create a unique author brand that will help you reach more of your core readership?
In this blog post, we'll explore what it takes to build a successful author brand and offer practical advice on how authors can create their own unique brands and grow their readership with the right brand strategy.
We'll discuss developing content for your author's website, staying active on social media platforms, and engaging with your ideal audience! With our tips and tricks, any author can develop a strong author brand that will help them stand out from the competition!
As an author, having a compelling brand story is essential to standing out in the crowded book market. Having a well-defined brand can help you develop a reputation as an expert and authority in your field, while also helping to attract readership and build relationships with them.
The strongest author brands should combine both content creation as well as staying active on social media platforms. In this blog post, we’ll explore why building an author brand is so important for aspiring or established authors, how it can be achieved through strategic planning and practical advice on how authors can create their own unique brands that will grow their readership base.
What is an author brand and why do you need one
An author brand is essentially like your author logo. It’s a way to showcase who you are and what you believe in as an author but at a deeper level. Think of it like a representation of how you want to be perceived when someone "meets" you for the first time, whether that is in person, on social media, your website, or in the most impactful way, through word of mouth.
Having a well-defined brand helps aspiring or established authors develop a reputation as an expert and authority in their field, attract readers, and build relationships with them with the ultimate goal of solving a specific problem with their brand identity.
Your author brand will tell the world who you are and what problem you solve. It tells the world what kinds of books you write. Great author branding will inform you how to market yourself and your books because it clearly defines your ideal reader.
Furthermore, it has a high influence on your book sales, especially if you plan on writing more than one book, and what you create beyond the book for readers to make a meaningful connection with you.
What does it take to create an author brand?
Creating a strong author brand is all about strategic planning, or in other words, getting clear on what you want to create and the plan to accomplish it. It requires careful consideration of who you want to be seen as, what content you want to create, and what problems you are solving for the right audience.
The most important part of your brand to develop is that you can be seen as an expert who can solve a specific problem. That creates an association between you, your brand, and your expertise which will cause people to recommend connecting with you and your books.
How to create an author brand that stands out
Jeff Bezo’s once said, “A brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” So, what do you want people to say about you?
Being active in building your author brand is essential for any author, aspiring or established. If you are passive in building your brand you will still "build" a brand but it may not be the powerful brand that you want.
Begin by looking at the three types of branding that lay the foundation for everything else you will do.
Types of Branding
Psychological branding is a type of author branding that focuses on creating an emotional connection between the author and their readers. This type of author branding can be achieved through content that is emotionally resonant, inspiring, and relatable.
Think about industry influencers that you admire and what makes their brand unique. Think about what established author brand resonates with you and pause to think about why that is on a psychological level.
Strategic branding focuses on creating a clear author identity that can be easily identified and remembered by readers. This piece of author branding is closely related to psychological branding because it reflects messaging that is carefully crafted to tell your author story.
Psychological branding is about the reader and their perceptions of you and strategic branding is about you as the author.
Physical branding is a type of author branding that focuses on creating a recognizable brand through the use of visuals. It includes elements like author photos, author logos, author websites, and other visuals that will help readers recognize your author brand quickly.
We would argue that it's more important to have items such as your brand message, brand expectations, and brand elements than to have a logo and color branding that is perfect. It's all important but colors, font, a style guide, a professional headshot, book covers, and marketing material will change but the messaging goes deeper and is harder to change.
Where to Start
Define Your Target Audience
The first step is to define your audience, which you may have already done but think about it from the psychological branding level. Clearly identify what problem you are solving for your readers. Next, determine where these people hang out and how they make purchasing decisions.
In a sense, you're working to get into your reader's minds and visualize the "perfect person" who would be your ultimate fan. You can't expect to get this perfect but getting a close enough example will build the foundation of your brand.
Clarify Your AuthorBrand Type
There are lots of different author brands but most of them can be bucketed into three types of brands. Personal, Book, and Company.
- Personal Brand - A personal brand is where your ideal readers think of you first more than your books. Some examples include J.K Rowling, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Harper Lee, Brene Brown, Tony Robins, and Stephen Covey.
- Book Brand - A book brand is where people think of your book before you as an author. A few examples are The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Lord of the Flies, Atomic Habits, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Where the Crawdads Sing
- Company Brand - A company brand is where your books are associated with a larger company. Typically this would be for consultants, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs. This would include companies like Gallup, Arbinger Institute, FranklinCovey, or McKinsey.
- Combination - As you may have noticed from the list above there is cross-over. Some of the authors who have been around for a long time are known for both their books and as authors and therefore have created a deeper connection over time with their audience. You may want to reach that status at some point.
Generally speaking, authors who write fiction lead with a book brand and the author brand comes later. Nonfiction authors tend to lead with their author name as they are an already established authority in the field.
Engage with your Audience
The third step is to engage with your audience by deciding what's unique about your author brand. You've done the research on your audience, you know who you are as an author, and now it's time to start connecting with that audience.
Ask yourself, "How am I different than authors who are already present in my space?"
Whatever you decide make sure you are true to yourself and it's something you will be motivated to keep using to engage with your audience. It's tempting to look at other writers and want to build it like they have but it's not you. You are unique, different, and have something valuable to author.
One author who does this well is Neil Gaiman. He has built a tremendous author brand through his active presence on social media, author website, and newsletter. He regularly shares updates on his work in progress and interacts with readers who comment on his posts.
Executing on Building Your Author Brand
The final step is to execute building your author brand. You may build it and people may or may not come. If you don't build it at all then nobody will come so take action because this is the fun part.
A few practical steps to get started with building your brand are:
- Determine Your Author Branding Vision
- Write down the psychological and strategic factors of your brand.
- Design the physical representations of your brand
- Spread the word through Social Media
- Tweak and adjust based on how your audience reacts
Why it's important to be consistent with your branding
Being consistent with your brand is what will set you apart from other authors in your space. By writing content and staying active on social media that aligns with your brand identity, readers will come to recognize you as an expert in your field and a trustworthy source of information.
We all have habits and routines. Breaking into the routines of your target readers is accomplished by having predictable and expected days and times when you publish your content, post on social media, or send out a video.
Not all of your content needs to have the same exact schedule — that may get dull and boring for you and your readers — but having that routine will keep you "fresh" in your reader's minds and when that moment comes when they have a problem you can solve, who do you think will pop into their mind?
How to use social media to build your author brand
Social media can be a powerful tool for authors to build their author brand and reach more readers. Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Facebook allow authors to connect with their readers in real time by sharing updates, announcements, insights, and other relevant information.
It doesn't matter if you are a traditionally published or self-published author you need to build out your social media profiles to attract new readers.
Social Media Posts
First and foremost, authors should be active in promoting their author brand on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Many authors will only pick one platform and that's totally acceptable. This consistent engagement will allow them to reach a wider audience and build relationships with readers.
In addition to traditional posts, authors can use these platforms to run giveaways or host virtual author events, which can help drive awareness of their author brand.
Authors should also leverage the power of influencers by reaching out to bloggers or other popular figures in their genre who have engaged audiences that could be interested in their work. By connecting with influencers and having them promote your author brand, you can access new readership without having to pay for expensive marketing campaigns.
Networking with other authors is a critical element of author branding. Not only does it provide access to new contacts and resources that can aid in author promotion, but it also gives authors the opportunity to collaborate on projects, learn from each other’s experiences, and exchange advice on how best to promote each author's work.
Finally, it’s important for authors to stay active in online book communities like Goodreads or LibraryThing by interacting with readers who have similar interests as them or those who may be interested in discovering something new about their author brand.
Participating in discussions related to books provides an opportunity for authors to engage directly with potential readers while also providing valuable feedback on their work – providing a platform for authors to learn from reader opinions while continuing to refine and strengthen their author brands over time.
Tips for maintaining your author brand over time
Once authors have created their author brand, it is important to maintain it over time. This requires staying consistent with content, which means producing high-quality material that reflects the author's voice, values, and writing style.
The best tip we can give you is to make it a habit. Set aside uncompromisable time each day, even if it's only for 10 minutes, to work on your author brand. You'll be accomplishing more than just building your author brand. You'll be doing book marketing, audience building, coming up with ideas for more books, and becoming a better writer.
Building an author brand is essential for any author looking to stand out from the crowd and become a respected authority in their genre. Understand and build the foundation of your brand and use it to connect with your target audience.
Although it takes time and effort, maintaining your author brand over time through consistent content creation and engagement on social media platforms can pay off dividends by providing you with invaluable feedback from readers as well as increasing trust among potential customers.
With these tips in mind, there's no limit to what you can achieve!
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