Ah, the freedom of Self-Pub, gotta love it right? You can write as many books, covering as many angles as your full heart desires. Romance, Sci-Fi, Historical, Biography, not even the sky is the limit. But what makes your Romance novel stand out from the rest? What makes your History book the best? Self-Publishing is not like other businesses. It is not a jewelry store, a brightly lit collection of possibilities. A host of shiny things that pretty much sell themselves. It is not a restaurant, a place where menus lay open for people to see and to choose. When I walk into Burger King I know exactly what I want and how I want it and I know what I am getting. I already know what to expect from the food. But book publishing is different from other businesses because there is a lot to learn and there is a lot to do.
I think the most challenging aspect of Self-Publishing is being able to prove to your target audience that your book is worth buying. Especially as a new author. It is critical at this point that we show ourselves to be set-apart from the rest. That we garner the kind of trust in our readers that we have in Burger King. That when people pick up one of our books they know they are about to have it their way. That was corny, but the point is that they know that the journey in which they are about to embark on is a good one. Have you ever picked up a book and did not have to question if it would be a good one? That is because, like your favorite restaurant, you are familiar with the taste of the authors’ words and the way they move around in your mind when you read them.
What is an Author Brand? As a Self-Publisher, it is not something that immediately comes to mind. In the midst of writing and editing and book cover design, branding is the least of our worries. Of course we think about it (eventually), but when we set out to write a book Author Branding is not at the top of our list of priorities. It is a term that is heard among literary agents and blah blah blah. We are Self-Publishers after all. We make and break our own rules. But, being a Self-Published Author does not mean you live on Mars. You are, after all, part of the world and in the business of publishing. It doesn’t really matter if you publish traditionally or if you self-publish, we can all benefit from learning more about the business, which is constantly changing.
Author branding in short is basically how you want to be known as an author. The good thing is that many of us have already begun a form of Author Branding by establishing our perspectives and personalities as we blog.
“Serious writers who want to succeed as authors should include branding in their early success planning. A strong brand helps an author in the same ways it helps a company. It gives you name recognition and helps you sell your products—your books.” – Nina Amir
I know, Branding sounds like a lot of work. Makes me think about large corporations and blah blah blah. But, the good news is that little ole me can establish a form of branding without hurting my brain with talk from branding experts and people with more degrees than hairs on my head. Below are six simple branding tips for authors as suggested by Nina:
Here’s how you start: Think about how you want to be known as a writer. To determine this, consider:
• the types of writing you want to do
• the subjects about which you want to write
• the types of stories you want to tell
• the themes you want to cover in your work
• the ways in which you want to serve your readers
• the clients or customers you want to attract
• the spin-off books (sequels or series) you would like to publish
• your values
• your interests
• your passion
• your purpose
Does something stand out? Is there one quality, topic or aspect you’d like to highlight so that you become known for it? If so, this is a good place to start. You then can create logos, taglines and websites that feature and highlight this concept so you become known for it. This becomes your brand.
I like using myself as an example because no one likes to hear about the adventures of invisible people. I am flesh and bone and person so here goes. I suck at branding myself in the name area. I know what is required to establish myself across the web and yet I continue to move away from it (hey, maybe that is my brand, ha!). My Author Website, my blog, and my social networking sites pretty much have different names. I know, that sucks, but that’s me. I’m A House of Poetry, A Literary Korner, and a PBS Blog, it doesn’t get any more different than that. I am the brand far as I’m concerned, so like, whatever.
You can either be special like me or you can use this tip:
• Use your brand statement across all your social networks.
Use the same title, tag line, photo and colors, etc., across all your social networks, as well as in articles, videos, and guest post, and always provide a link “home.” This helps you get you known quickly and easily and is another way to strengthen your brand once you’ve developed it. And tie everything you do back to your author website.
Yea, sure. I’ll think about it.