Why Ignoring Your Author Brand is Career Suicide

Have you heard the term branding? Does it make you want to reach for the remote and turn the channel? If so, you’re not alone. Author branding has a lot of writers confused. It did me.Why Ignoring Your Author Brand is Career Suicide

I first thought author branding was something your publisher did for you when your first books came out. Then, I thought it was a cool author tag line or slogan. And while part of both the previous statements are true, they’re not your author brand.

Knowing your author brand will help you promote yourself before, during, and after your book releases. Your author tag line is what evolves from your brand, not the other way around.

What is an author brand? An author brand is the unique combination of personality and passion you bring to products or services based on your actual or potential abilities. Your author brand won’t look like anyone else’s, because no one else has your insights and perspective to offer to the world.

Why do I need an author brand? Knowing your author brand lets readers, agents, and publishers know immediately what they’re going to receive from you and your writing. In this fast paced world, people won’t take the time to dig through the many books, websites, and blogs to find what they’re looking for. If it isn’t apparent immediately, they’ll move on.

Think about your favorite authors. You know exactly what you’re going to get from their books. It’s the reason you purchase their newest release, read their newsletters, and like their Facebook pages. They deliver on the promise of their brands.

But, I don’t need to develop my author brand until I have a book contract. Wrong. You’re already branding if you have a website, blog, or are on social media sites. Every post, tweet, and blog post is a reflection of you and your brand, even if you don’t know it.  It’s important to understand your brand from the moment you declare yourself a writer.

Your brand will help you develop your website, book proposals, manuscripts, articles, and newsletter. It will help you focus and go deeper in order to reach your audience better. It’s something you should embrace and not put off a minute longer.

Your brand will also aid you when creating visual images for your website and social media pages. For example, my author tagline (developed from my brand), is Inspiring Your Faith and Pioneer Roots. I created this image for my author Facebook page this past week. Branded Facebook Cover for Melissa K. Norris

Do you see how the pioneer roots is enhanced not only in the images, but also ties into the title and cover of my non-fiction book, Pioneering Today? The cabin picture also works for the historical fiction portion of my writing. Your brand should be an umbrella for all you do.

Developing your author brand isn’t something we can completely cover in one blog post, but don’t worry. I’m not giving you this admonishment and leaving you alone. My agency sister and business partner, Janalyn Voigt, and I have created a FREE author branding workbook to walk you through the steps. You can snag your copy at TriLink Social Media Mentors.

What are some of your favorite authors? Can you identify what their brand is, or the promise they always make with their work? What is unique about you and your writing?

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13 thoughts on “Why Ignoring Your Author Brand is Career Suicide

  1. Thanks for the post, Melissa. I downloaded the branding book. This branding thing has been tough for me, and with my memoir coming out, I realize I need to get a handle on it, that and my elevator pitch. Yeah, I’m doing things backwards :).

  2. Good stuff, Melissa! Branding is a process and I’m working to get a handle on it. Appreciate the post.

  3. Melissa, I’ve watched YOUR brand develop and grow stronger just over the past year. I think this is an AMAZING post–love how you clarified it’s not just about the tagline–it’s the overall takeaway of ourSELVES. Much to chew on here. Sharing this all over the place!

    • Heather, thank you. It can be easy to loose ourselves when trying to figure out this whole writing thing, but it’s what will help us stand out. 🙂 Happy chewing. lol

  4. Of course, the other benefit of building an author brand before publishing is all of the excellent writers you get to meet…because they’re usually your first followers. I’m still working on my first novel but I’ve been blogging for 2 years or so. The stuff I’ve learned and the encouragement I’ve received from other writers has been monumental.

    • Sonia, engaging with other writers is wonderful. No one understands writers like other’s who’ve been bit by the bug. But, understanding your author brand fully will enable you to build your audience with readers, even before publishing. So it’s a win/win! 🙂

  5. Love your new fb author page image, Melissa. I love the idea of creating visual images to illustrating your brand on your website and social media. And thanks to you and Janalyn for the FREE author branding workbook!

    • Thanks, Karen and you’re welcome! It’s fun to use images beings as writers we’re used to using words. 🙂 It gives another outlet for creativity. I hope you enjoy the book and honing your author brand.

    • I should pop in and say you’re welcome, too, Karen. Melissa and I are happy for the opportunity to help others. Best wishes.

  6. Melissa, this is one of the clearest explanations I’ve read about author branding. Thanks for sharing it! I’ve found that once you understand what your brand is, it really does make all the other marketing tasks simpler, which is such a boon for a busy writer.

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