The Author Brand

Your brand is not just your name, or the title of your book. It is everything about you. Authors must be experts in their craft and industry, along with understanding their genre and target audience. Like any other company, YOU are the brand!

I used to think that meeting an editor at a publishing company, or meeting a literary agent would lead to my big break. That could not have been farther from the truth. My big break came by hiring an agency that fully understands how to market and brand my name.

If you are struggling with book sales, or reaching your ideal audience, start thinking in terms of becoming a brand. A long time ago when I first started doing this, I was broke. But I invested just a little money each month into my branding and marketing campaign. At first, there were slight changes. After about six months, I had a nice jolt upward. After a year, I was on my way.

If you become a brand name, doors will open and opportunities will be abundant.

Here is the simple version of branding, since going in detail could be its own book.

Create Your Brand

  • Understand everything about the publishing industry and your target audience. Take a good look at your genre. Why do certain books sell? (And do not say because they have the money to market all over the world and place their books in the stores.) Books in your genre sell for a reason. Look at this objectively and you will have the secret to selling millions of books yourself.
  • As an author, what do you want? Why is that goal important to you? Do not answer these questions lightly. Disappointments and setbacks will destroy your motivation and dissolve your brand. If you know where you are going and refuse to let setbacks get in your way, then your brand will formulate in front of your eyes.
  • What makes you different from any other author in your genre? If you and ten other authors have a table of books, why will the customer choose you over the other nine? Your first reaction might be, “I’m a better writer and have great stories.” That will not work. You need to dig deep inside and discover what makes you different.

Convey your Brand

  • What is your message to the readers? Remember that you have created a brand, based on the research of the publishing industry, your target audience, your goals, and the one thing that makes you different. Your message should reflect those key points.
  • Stay on your path. It is true that adjustments will have to be made during your journey, but your message should be firm and your confidence unshakeable. Conveying your enthusiasm will attract readers.
  • Your marketing campaign should be developed, based on your research. There are two main areas that you will need to build your brand: Print Marketing and Internet Marketing.
  • Your author campaign message will be conveyed using in-person events, handouts, (Bookmarks, flyers, business cards) social media, web site, and blogs.

Connect with your Brand

Now that you have created and conveyed your brand, it is time to connect with readers and sell those books. Your efforts should be rewarded.

After doing the above, think about what you have in your corner:

  • Publishing industry knowledge.
  • Target audience knowledge.
  • Understanding why certain books sell.
  • You know exactly where you want to be in the next year, five years, and beyond.
  • Your goals are important and your confidence unshakeable.
  • You are different than any other author in your genre and you can prove it.
  • You have a message that interests your readers.
  • Adjustments are needed, but your message remains firm.
  • You are attending events, shaking hands, networking, handing out bookmarks, flyers, and business cards. People are starting to take notice.
  • You are posting comments on several social media sights based on your readers needs and your message is being conveyed on your web site and blogs.

I’m sure you are doing some of these things already, but if you are not selling books, then something is missing from your branding campaign. Here is a list of the most common mistakes by authors:

  • Lack of industry research. 100% of authors fail when they do not understand their target audience. The best example is young adult authors trying to sell their books to high school and middle school students.
  • The author is not writing books, based on their knowledge of the reader. If you want to make money as an author, you have to write for others, not yourself. I’m sorry, but that is the hard truth.
  • The message is more about the author than the reader. To become a brand name, the reader must be the message, not the personal life of the author. You may want to sell millions of books, but what does that have to do with the reader, other than the fact you need their money?
  • There is a bump in the road and the author does not know how to deal with it.
  • The author’s message is not reaching enough people. Paper marketing and Internet marketing are not producing results. The biggest reason for that is because you have the wrong message. The second biggest reason is that you have the wrong campaign. This happens when “Creating your brand” is not done properly.
  • Time/Money is invested in publishing, rather than marketing/branding. If you have spent more money on publishing than your marketing campaign, your sales will be low.

The marketing/branding agency that I hired is my author lifeline. I do not have to guess when it comes to branding my name. They are the experts and I let them do their job. I listen and trust their ideas.

Find a marketing/branding agency that can help your career. Ask these questions:

  • How much do you cost and can I make payments?
  • Do you have clients that are authors or publishers?
  • Do you design book covers?
  • Can I see the web sites that you have designed?
  • Can you give me an example of an Internet Marketing Campaign, designed for an author?
  • Do have an illustrator in your agency?
  • Can you publish my book to use as a selling/marketing tool?
  • List all the paper marketing you provide and how that will relate to my campaign.
  • How will you enhance my social media presence?
  • Describe SEO and tell me how it works? (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Will you assist with my content writing, especially for my web site?
  • What are you looking for in a client?

These days, finding the right branding agency is more important than finding a publisher. For example, authors that sell thousands of eBooks have created a brand name.

Ron Knight  

If you are having trouble locating a decent branding agency, research Brand Eleven Eleven: 

Ron Knight

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