Just as you weave a plot and organize information in a book, you weave your author brand. You are the main character in your author story. What will you tell your readers to change their hearts and minds to get to know, like, and trust you? What is the journey for the reader? What is the destination? Here are 6 points to help you develop a successful author brand.
Be authentic. How do you view yourself? More importantly, how do others view you? Philip Martin of Blue Zoo Writers encourages writers to ask friends and others to answer that question. Are you loving, practical, and earthy or driven, particular, and classy? Would you rather curl up with a good book or go for a night on the town? Pizza or escargot? Big city or small town? Blue jeans or glitter? All of those answers add up to the authentic you. Readers like writers who are true to themselves. They can smell a fake a mile away. Be aware of how you communicate who you are in your writing, speaking, and training.
Your voice should remain consistent across your books and media. If you write humor, your website, blog, and social media posts should be funny. If you are an expert, give expert advice and analysis. People are more likely to follow, really follow, someone who gives them what they want a majority of the time. An occasional cat posting won’t turn away readers, but your readers want to know what they are in for. I’m not reading Mario Batali for parenting advice, although I love his Bolognese sauce.
Do you want to be known as preeminent storyteller, an expert in your field, a trusted publishing resource, or someone who helps writers succeed, or is it something else? Your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media should reflect your angle and make it clear who you are. In a guest post on The Book Designer blog, Nina Amir writes about consistency across social media platform as a way of establishing your brand. Where you appear is also important. A mix of traditional media, social media, and personal appearances help define who you are.
Who is your target audience? Think about a specific person who walks into a bookstore or searches Amazon for your book. What is his or her name? Do they have kids? Where do they hang out? Who do they talk to? How much money do they make? Once you know who buys your book or reads your blog, you have a better idea how to reach them, what motivates them, and how to target your marketing and promotion just for them. Find a picture online or in a magazine and post it on your computer to remind yourself who you are targeting.
YOUR READERS’ EXPERIENCE
What do you want your readers to experience as a result of reading your book or post on social media? Do you want your readers delighted, entertained, scared to death, or just reaching for your next book? Do you want to challenge your readers, teach your readers, or engage them on social media as a result of your book? Set the stage in your book description. Paint a picture of their journey and give them bread crumbs leading to the next destination. Create book club discussion questions or post follow up questions, activities, or additional information on your blog or website to enhance the reading experience.
YOUR CONNECTION WITH THE READER
Building an author brand is more than just letting people know who you are or even reading your work. It is about establishing an emotional connection. Theresa Meyers, of Blue Moon Communications, calls it Velcro. It is about what you say, how you say it, and who you say it to on a consistent basis. It is how you make a person feel as a result of reading your words that creates that connection and makes them come back for more. Apple created a tribe of loyal followers through emotional branding. Use your authentic self, authentic voice, and authentic purpose to connect a person’s heart and you have got yourself a loyal fan.
What do you want to be known for?