Monday, February 8, 2016

What Exactly Is Your Author Brand?

We hear a lot about how authors must establish their brand, build a platform, and network their way to book sales.  But how does a writer go about launching his or her brand?

Whether you work at it or not, as a writer, you have a brand.  If you have a non-existent brand, well, that’s your brand.  Keep in mind that branding is done both by you and others.  If you don’t want others defining your brand, assert yourself to establish your public image.

Your brand exists everywhere, including:

·         Social Media
·         Digital Media
·         Traditional Media

It’s your persona and how people perceive you. It’s your resume and professional accomplishments. It’s your personal life and what you have experienced.  It’s your voice and what you say publicly.  It’s your name and all that attaches to you, from your faith and geographic location to your sex, sexuality, ethnicity, whom you associate with, what you read, how you carry yourself, what you consume, what you wear, who you vote for or root for on the field, what you eat, where you travel to, and on and on and on.  Of course some things take priority and are weighted more heavily, but people begin to form an opinion of you and that becomes your brand.

Authors may in fact feel they have multiple brands. For some, they want to be known in multiple genres.  For others, they think there’s a wall between being a writer and anything else they’ve done.  The truth is everything mixes together, like a soup, to form your brand.

Here are some strategies to mull over:

·         You have a brand no matter what you do about it, so how active will you be to craft that brand?

·         You never stop growing your brand.  There’s never a time when you stop branding.  You may change strategies but it’s not a strategy to do nothing for long.

·         No brand is perfect so don’t expect people to just love you and be free of criticism.

·         You can learn from huge brands out there but realize that you are nowhere near what they’ve become.  So don’t expect to shadow what they do and then get the same results.

·         Be protective of your brand.  Think about what you say, write, or do and how it can impact how those you need to impress, win over, or retain will come to view you.

·         Look for differentiation from competing brands. Being just like everyone else is not good enough.

So how do you begin to establish a brand?

1.      Determine who you want to be and how you want people to see you.

2.      Determine what your core message is and be consistent each time you communicate it.

3.      Think about your style or persona – are you the funny guy or the serious intellect; are you the victim or the comeback kid; will you be the liberal, conservative or centrist; are you going to play up your background story, your job title or some other unique feature; will you be Trump brash or Apple creative or some other type? 

4.      Remember that you express your brand in all that you do or say, so it begins with what you say on social media, in your profiles, in a press release, on your website, on a business card, on your book jacket, etc.

5.      Review your brand periodically to determine if anything needs to be changed.

You shouldn’t have to search too far to figure out what your brand is – it is you.  It’s what you’ve been, what you are now, and who you want to be. Stick with the foundation that you built and look to grow it.  But if you feel you need a makeover or want to completely re-brand yourself, it’s not too late.  But it will be an uphill battle.

No one wants to feel limited in what they could accomplish.  If you are losing money in the stock market you may be one trade away from turning a profit.  If you are in a hole in a sporting contest you could be one rally away from victory.  Maybe you want to lose weight or get extra training in a neglected part of your career.  Wherever you stand on the spectrum of success – or branding -- you can still surge much further.

Take a look at your current brand and ask:

·         Which areas am I weak in that need attention?
·         What public perceptions about me are unfair?
·         What strengths can I lean on to compensate for what I lack?
·         What cosmetic changes can be made to improve my image, from my clothes and hairstyle to how my website looks?
·         What do people in my space or area of expertise, do or say that I can equal or excel at?
·         How can I focus on a single idea, service, product, event, or message that will give me an edge over others?

So many people have successfully launched a brand and many have been able to re-brand themselves when it was necessary.  It’s exciting to be you today.  You can determine your brand and become more than you’ve ever been. Nothing should stop you.  You may have barriers, challenges, and conflicts to navigate around, but you can establish the brand that you want and take it as far as you wish.

 2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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