How to Communicate Your Author Brand Effectively
It has become imperative, especially in recent years with the rise of self-publishing, that every author works on his or her own author brand. Yes, this made a lot of writers wring their hands through their hair, because all of a sudden, your profession just got the words ‘marketing specialist’ on your list of necessary skills to be successful, right along with ‘writing well’ and ‘creative storytelling.’
But, sooner or later, we all have to grit our teeth and acquire the skill – or at least learn as much as we can. Promoting and communicating your author brand across platforms is only one step. It is actually the final step in building your author brand because first you need to define your brand and build it, piece by piece.
You might think to yourself that you don’t need it. You are not interested in building your own image as an author, and you might believe that the world will recognize just how awesome your writing truly is and that will be your brand by reputation. You would be right – that was true, maybe five to ten years ago. Now, things are different, and you better be on top of them. There are millions of writers in the world, and you are not merely a needle in a haystack. You might be found if someone spends hours of looking, but otherwise, you might be left at the bottom of the pile. So, let’s start building and promoting your author brand.
1. Find a symbol, trait, or a theme.
A symbol, trait, or a theme – it appears simple, doesn’t it? Your symbol can depend on the genre you are writing in, and if you’re writing nonfiction, it almost seems self-explanatory. But, when you think a bit more about it, you will realize that every author has a symbol. Something that they are associated with. It can be magic, Young Adult Contemporary Romance, it can be cooking or even traveling. Your symbol, of course, begins with your writing, but it doesn’t end there. Let’s say you’re really writing Young Adult romance. When you dig a level deeper, you realize your books are not just about romantic attachments between teenagers. These teenagers may have issues to overcome. They need to come of age. They have other traits. Also, your second book will be a mystery thriller. The two don’t really mix well, do they? So, what can you do?
The easiest, and most commonly used method in this case, is creating a pseudonym. You can use one for writing young adult romance, another for your adult mystery novels, because one will always influence the other. If your readers ‘meet’ you through your young adult novel, they might not pick up your adult mystery novel. Many readers read a lot of books from different genres, of course, but a lot of them also stick to one or two genres. On the other hand, let’s say an adult mystery reader wants to pick up your book, but sees that you’re also writing young adult romance. They might get the impression that the adult mystery book will not be as serious as they expect, and not give your book a chance. That’s what’s branding is all about. It lets your readers know what to expect. Best of all, you can choose how you want the readers to know you.
2. Choose suitable platforms
When it comes to platforms for communicating your brand, first thing you need to ask yourself is: What platform is suitable for an author?
Well, a billboard would hardly do the trick, would it? A televised ad? Not so much.
A book trailer, on the other hand, beautifully shot and posted on YouTube, simultaneously shared across all your social media platforms is a different thing entirely. And that’s just one medium. You can have virtual and real book tours (although, you better attempt these if you have a major publisher standing behind you, or you have a significant amount of worldwide fans). But, you can do local readings at a café, for example.
3. Create suitable content
As we mentioned above, you can create a book trailer for an upcoming book. You can do countdowns to a cover reveal. However, you need to constantly create content that is suitable to your author brand. For example, are you a writer who shares a lot of information about writing and your life in general with your readers? If yes, than running a blog with posts every few days is a good idea. If no, then your posts will need to be more limited to content for your own books, both published and upcoming ones. However, do keep in mind that authors who do share with their readers, ask them for their opinion, and generally communicate more through their own websites and social media profiles get a lot more attention.
4. Adjust everything to fit your brand
Your book covers, the font and style used when making them, the blurb of your books, and your biography and profile picture. They all need to be used to generate a picture of who you are as a writer. As previously stated, you need something that makes you recognizable. Associate yourself with an idea, an image, or a theme, and go with it. We can look at your goal through an example. What comes to mind when someone says ‘contemporary horror novels?’ Inarguably, the name Stephen King comes to mind. When someone says wizard, for example, everyone things of JK Rowling. Both JKR and Stephen King have associated themselves with these themes, and today, they are easily recognized.
You will have to do this the hard way, but it can be done. After you’ve chosen your theme, make sure that every message you send out – every blog post, every social media tidbit, fits this theme. Make sure your website is in line – the colors, the font, the layout – fits with the theme. Do not deviate, and soon, many of your readers will be able to recognize you easily, and, as long as you keep up the good work, you will gain a lot more readers down the road.
Image credit: Pixabay