Last week I discussed knowing your target audience and began the series of the “Authorship Commandments”. This week I will talk about branding yourself. Rest assured, there are no red-hot irons and screaming involved ;).
Branding is nothing new, and has been around a long time. However, it is more common in the business community, and it is relatively new in the author community. Author branding has come about due to the Publishing Revolution. It was either not done at all or the publisher did it for you.
Before I go further, authors must realize that they are a business when they produce their first book. He/she functions like a business. Embrace the concept, don’t run from it!
Branding is a bit more advanced than knowing who your target audience is. This more or less applies to the marketing stage of the publishing process. It’s what sets authors apart and provides content and identity for that author in social media and in the blogosphere.
The brand is broken down into a set of keywords and ideas. Some of the brand will constitute the genre(s) the author writes in and maybe the age group, but it can’t stop there. Particular interests, experiences, or something else about the author themselves make up the brand. It is up to the author to find out what that is. You can find people to help you determine your brand, but no one is going to come out in say your brand is X, Y, and Z. It’s still up to you. After you determine what it is, then you can subdivide it a bit and maybe bud off a little. At first, just keep it simple.
I Found My Brand, So Now What?!
After you found out what your brand is, start painting the virtual wall with it. Let it become your identity. People will know you for *blank*. Write and construct your blog(s) around it. Pin stuff around your brand on your Pinterest boards, etc, etc. This is important to do when you begin “getting out there” or preferably before.
From My Experience
When I entered into the publishing world I had never heard of branding. Most of the knowledge I had accrued was old and outdated or just plain bogus from a bad source. I had to purge and find the “right” information. Before I knew anything about branding itself I had some ideas of how to set myself apart from other authors or some ideas that I would use for interview material, etc. I knew that my life in the backwoods and love of nature would be a piece of my author identity–little did I know this was the beginning of branding.
After discovering this thing called branding I began to build on it and find other ways to go deeper. You know when you have reached your brand. Then it seems like it takes control of your marketing life and content seems to flow out of your ears!
Since I named my other blog “Backwoodsauthor” I am becoming known as “The Backwoodsauthor”. People will let you know if they like your branding or not, and it’s great when someone tells you, “Hey! That’s cool!”
So in short branding was pretty much learned on the fly with a little guidance on how to use it. It goes along the lines of “finding yourself” in life