Workshop 20: Author Branding
Establishing an author brand is simple. Just think cattle branding.
In the old west, a rancher’s brand indicated, “That’s my cow.” In the same way, your brand establishes who you are and what you write.
“Your brand is not a tagline. It is not a color. It is not a photo. It is not a logo,” said Morgan Doremus (right), the website editor and multimedia coordinator for RT Book Reviews magazine. “These are all elements that help build your brand. Your brand is the feeling a reader gets when they see your books or hear your name.”
During her ACFW workshop, Doremus said it’s never too early or too late to build your brand. “Your brand is a promise to your reader … what you promise to give (them). You can start before you’re published, or you can be published and still not have a brand. Your promise to your reader evolves.”
How do you discover your brand?
Doremus suggests examining your core values—defining who you are as a writer. Ask your editor, your critique group, your family and friends for input. Consider both your writer’s voice (humorous? reflective?), as well as themes you write about, such as hope or grief. Ask questions on writers’ loops. It also helps to look at other authors’ websites to see how they established themselves.
Make good use of your brand
Use your brand to appeal to your readers’ senses. Interviews, workshops, and book trailers act as verbal reinforcements of your brand. Visual ways to convey your brand include websites, book covers, and professional photos. All are clues to who you are.
“Don’t visually confuse your audience,” Doremus said. Someone who writes suspense à la Ted Dekker shouldn’t have a soft, pastel-colored professional photo.
What’s the benefit of an author brand? Besides knowing who you are as a writer, establishing a definitive “this is me” reputation helps publishers and publicists. They will think of you when there’s a specific project, opportunity, or interview, Doremus said.