We’re back with another post in our Author Resources series! Being an author is hard, and being an indie author who does it all alone is even harder, so let us guide you through it!
This week, we’re going to start diving into marketing… but not for your book! Nope, we’re starting with how to market yourself as an author and build your personal author brand. We’ll be breaking down this super broad topic into several posts, but throughout the next few posts, we’ll be covering:
- Building your author branding
- Using social media as an author
- Creating a strong author website
- Developing a media kit
- Starting your author newsletter
Now, let’s get started with building your author brand! In short, this is your promise to readers from you as an author, and encompasses all you stand for as an author! Readers want consistency, they want to know what they can expect from you as an author, hence, a brand!
SO, WHAT THE HECK IS A BRAND?
There’s so much that goes into this topic, but let’s first start by defining what a brand is. Basically, it’s how people see you and your personality.
More in depth though, it’s your consistent promise to readers about what they’re going to get from you and from your books!
Even if you never put any effort to establishing a formal brand for yourself, your readers will make one for you. Thus, wouldn’t it be better to control your own brand, rather than having one thrust upon you?
There are a lot of things that go into making a brand, so let’s go through them all. For author branding specifically, these include:
- Design of your marketing (including website, logos, social media posts, book covers, and other marketing materials)
- Fonts, colors, and imagery used
- Writing style
- Content (the types of things you write about)
- Author bio (including headshots and bios)
HOW TO FIGURE OUT YOUR BRAND
You want your author branding to reflect you as a person, but more importantly, you as an author. Avoid making your brand fit with the book you’re currently writing or promoting.
That’s a book brand, and we’ll get into that later.
We’re focusing on marketing you right now.
To really delve into yourself and figure out how you want your brand to look, let’s go through some questions you can ask yourself:
- Why do people read your books?
- How do you want to be known as an author?
- What colors do you associate with yourself? What vibe do you have as an author?
- How are you different from other authors in your genre?
- How would people describe you and your collective work?
- What messages are you trying to convey with your work?
- What inspires you as an author? Why do you write?
- What do you want your readers to feel when they pick up a book by you?
If you’re already an established author, some of this may come a bit easier to you. But if you’re brand spanking new, this might take some time to develop. And you might change your brand later, that’s okay. We’ll cover re-branding later, but for now, just get something down!
Nothing is permanent, you can always change it.
Okay, now that you’ve done some soul searching on what you want your brand to mean, let’s talk about how to actually create that. There’s something called Brand Identity, and basically, it means those recognizable pieces that you think of when you say your name.
So, what brand identity elements do you need to decide on/create:
- Stylistic elements
- Social Media
- Business cards or other printed marketing materials
- Other visuals
- Email address
CREATING BRAND AWARENESS
We’re almost done with this one folks, I promise. This last section is about building your brand awareness. You do that through consistency and clearly defined branding elements. There are three main elements to building your brand awareness with future readers:
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Everything you do needs to have these goals and objectives in mind. So sit down with a notebook, and write out 3-4 goals and objectives you have for yourself. They can be as broad or specific as you want, but everything you do needs to have at least one of these in mind.
You need to be visible to have people be aware of you and your brand.
Build out a content strategy across all the different platforms you use and make it all fit together to share aspects of you and your brand.
Create a style guide with all the details of your brand, including your logo, tagline fonts, and colors.
Define your ideal audience. As an author, this means identifying your ideal reader.
We’ll get more into that in a later post, but just start to think about it: who do you want reading your books?
Build a media kit. We’ll also be walking you through how to do this in a later post, but just start thinking about this too. Develop a strong lead magnet to get people to visit your website and sign up for your newsletter. Is it a free bonus scene? Free artwork of your characters? Make it worth their while to sign up. Build a street team! This is a group of people who genuinely love your work and will promote it for you.
Remember earlier when I said it’s okay to change your brand? This is where that comes in. As you grow, your brand and your target audience may change, and you have to change things up along with it! That’s okay! It’s normal!
You can also start reaching out to other groups or markets, develop sub-brands to target even more specific audiences, and just continue to tap into all the different realms you can put yourself in to.
Okay, now that we’ve gone through all of that, you have an overarching idea of what it means to build an author brand! Stick with us, and in the next few weeks, we’ll take you through elements of this post and help you build out your brand and gather everything you need!
If you have questions, please drop me a comment below or send me an email! I’d love to chat with you.