Author’s need more than good writing to build a brand, they need to establish an emotional connection with readers. Usually, this vital step is implemented before readers have had a chance to read your books.

How you distinguish yourself from other authors or genres and how readers interpret and perceive your efforts can be the difference between a fabulous brand and a fizzled one.

Effective branding is the foundation of the development of audience-building efforts and a successful author platform. An author who can tap into what the audience wants and create a profound reader experience will earn a devoted fan base.

A great author brand happens by design, not be accident!

You can’t gain any acclaim as an author without branding. Readers will always assess, judge, and evaluate what you’re doing. Readers will interpret the relevance, the value you offer and work by what you unintentionally and intentionally share.

From blog posts, social media updates and articles to the newest release, author collaborations, or podcasts, all you do contributes to a bigger picture of what you can offer and who you are. As your visibility and sphere of influence increase, the number of readers who have a chance to form an impression about you increases with your efforts. This is inevitable. Whether you keep building a personal brand or not, it must happen. Since you cannot avoid it, why not deliberate in shaping its direction?

An author brand doesn’t have to feel restrictive, packaged or cheesy. If you remain purposeful during brand planning from the beginning – even before publishing a book – you can frame your work so it satisfies both you and future readers.

When there are many options for readers, your author brand is an essential component to why readers will choose your book, or not. If you manage to elicit an emotional reaction in your audience, you will stand out from the crowd and gain recognition from the audience. You will also earn their trust and loyalty.

Your brand determines the strength of your readership. Its impact is measured by the devotion and ardor of your supporters and fans. A good author brand derives quality to book buyers. This means more influence, more authority, and premium pricing. When the perceived value of the personal brand increases, brand equity rises. Good authors manage and shape the reader’s perception by ensuring that they control the message. That’s why authors need to design a powerful brand, drawing readers into the experience as soon as they come in contact and keep them even after they buy.

How to build a successful author brand

Most writers don’t struggle with the concept of branding, but do struggle with its application. How do you build an author brand?

With the tech advances that assist in increasing access and reach, as well as the expansive growth of social media, businesses are able to attract the attention of their audience. Even the smallest businesses with the smallest budgets can receive attention in an impactful way – through brand storytelling.

Marketers have been sharing their brand stories for many years through in-person brand experience and advertising, but writing those brand stories as an effective online content can be a difficult task. This is because great brand storytellers know the critical elements of fiction writing. Few marketers have been trained to master these skills. You can possess the skills and use it to grow your brand. You will add the right branding fundamentals (explained below) and an emotional, intriguing and well-crafted brand story to expertly build a meaningful and memorable author brand.

Branding fundamentals

When building a compelling author brand, you should concentrate on brand awareness and brand identity. There won’t be any point in promoting and marketing a brand that you haven’t crystallized. The first step would be to clearly define the brand purpose and identity. When you have done that, it’s time to confidently promote. You will have what you need to grow – your brand.

1.    Brand purpose and identity

You have to pull together the in-person, written and visual brand elements that support your brand story, personal objectives for your writing career and the desires and needs of your readers. For you need to make an impact, you have to make it how you communicate the message to the readers and not just what you say.

Please note that there is a difference between genre and brand. Don’t overinvest in the look of a specific genre and styling. You should ensure that it fits with the brand story and strategy in the long term.

If you have already established your author brand, you can use the following to review and refine what you have. Brands keep changing, so you need an audit of the current brand strategy to ensure that you are still on track.

Brand Identity checklist

•    Brand colors – pick 2 or 3 main colors. You can use hex codes to get the exact brand color

•    Main logo – font based or graphics

•    Brand font – one body or main font and accent font

•    Brand tagline – a highly concise mission statement

•    Brand style elements – icons, patterns, graphics or other style elements

•    Blog/website – functions as author headquarters. Does the contact page, about page, sales/book page, navigation menu, blog categories, blog posts, and website design convey an accurate and consistent brand message?

•    Set up your social media accounts with one brand design – similar URLs/handles and a consistent platform description and profile photo.

•    Social media image and graphics templates – URL/logo watermark, Facebook and Twitter covers

•    Additional and professional headshot – it should be consistent across social media profiles, for use on about page and within media kit.

•    Business cards – old school, but effective

•    Blog post image templates – quality images that show a cohesive brand style

•    Email – email subscription template

•    Other visuals – photography, book covers, illustrations, quote graphics, illustrations, video and book artwork.

•    Professional email account and domain name

2.    Brand awareness

After you have clearly defined your brand story, the next step is to develop a plan to promote and solidify the brand in the eyes of the audience. How will you show the values, feelings and unique qualities that you want to be attributed to your writing and you? How will you grab the attention of a reader or pique their interest? Which type of person would be interested in your writing? Who should know about your book? When can they be found? What are the competencies of the other authors in your niche or genre? What are they doing? How can you position your work and yourself differently? There are several aspects to creating more awareness for your author brand.

i.    Goals and objectives

Identify your goals and objectives. What you create or write needs to be bring you closer to the goals. You should know where you want to take your readers, and then create objectives and goals for the content that will move them to action.

ii.    Promotion

Content strategy – the publishing plan of action for a blog, books, social media, video, audio, and email list. Take advantage of each platform’s strengths to share aspects of your brand story.

Brand style guide – Create a brand style guide that includes your specific brand colors, elements, fonts, imagery style, and patterns so that your marketing materials are at your fingertips and are consistent.

Ideal reader persona – by creating an ideal reader persona, you establish a framework to concentrate your efforts for reaching and connecting with readers.

Digital media kit – this is a marketing package for your books that makes it simple for media to feature your work and you.

Lead magnet – create an irresistible email opt-in incentive that builds your email list

Street team – the best way to promote your work is by the word-of-mouth. Therefore, nurture the growing legion of raving supporters and fans with extra benefits and perks.

Collaboration – build a network and join forces with industry influencers and other authors.

iii.    Growth

As the brand evolves, you should gauge the reader’s interest and ask for their feedback and input. Keep building your brand equity by continuously refining, re-evaluating and growing your brand reputation. You can consider additional audiences and markets, additional books you can write or additional platforms you can develop.

Sub-brands that target different pockets of readers and multiple genres with types of imagery, distinct colors, different promises, logos, and different positioning are a possibility as you keep growing your author brand with time.

Just remember that before you adopt sub-brands, you should ensure that your offerings don’t conflict with each other. For instance, writing children’s book and erotica books. You need to decide if you can afford the time and creative costs required to create and maintain every sub-brand.

What will it mean to build a powerful author brand?

A good author brand acts as a guidepost by which you gauge and position objectives, goals and activities. From the audience perspective, an author brand accentuates your writing experience and develops a memorable encounter the reader will be seeking over and over again. If done right, a great author brand will develop your reputation as an author and assure your marketing success.

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