PUBLISHED APRIL 2016
by Jeniffer Thompson, Founder, Monkey C Media
When we think of brands, we usually think of large corporate entities. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Nike have strong brands that represent an experience as well as a promise. We trust brands because we know what to expect; that Starbucks latté will be the same no matter where in the world you are. Consumers come to depend on this promise.
Branding is about professionalism, instilling trust, providing value, and making good on a promise. That’s why a strong personal brand is so critical to an author’s success. And your brand is not just for your audience, it’s for you, too. It helps you understand your own value, stay on point with your audience, and connect with them on a meaningful level.
What Is an Author Brand and Do You Need One?
An author brand is the combination of your personal style, online presence, messaging, writing style, visuals, authority, expectations, reputation, and actions. It is everything that makes you desirable, memorable, and unique. If you build your brand correctly, all of these elements will equal a positive experience that keeps your fan base coming back and encourages fans to tell their friends about you.
You need an author brand if you’re serious about selling books and ready to treat your writing like a business. For indie publishers and authors, a brand helps you get noticed amidst so much competition. But it takes commitment, time, and talent to build.
Build a Brand
Who are you? How do you want people to describe your work? What experience or feeling do you want your customers to have when they interact with your brand? What makes you unique?
Identifying your uniqueness and value is challenging. You have to ask yourself penetrating questions.
- Define your niche. What is your area of expertise?
- Why are you passionate about your topic?
- What problem do you solve? Why are you qualified to help others solve a problem?
Who is your audience? Ask others how you have helped them or what benefit they get from reading your books. You might be surprised by what you discover. Collect data to see what they need and how you can help them further. I’m a big fan of straight up stalking both your audience and your competition. What can you learn from the people already steeped in your niche? Then think about how this relates to your goals.
Next, take a critical look at your own personal style. Do you have a look, a logo, a color, a typeface that you use on your business card and all of your marketing collateral? Do you have a fun icon or prop that relates to your book and brand? What can you do to improve your look and streamline the experience your audience has with your brand?
Asses your online identity. What comes up when you do a search for your name? Does your brand go beyond your website? Do you have a custom email signature? Is your look, bio, and messaging consistent across all of your online profiles on the social and industry sites you belong to?
Measure Your Success
As you create an experience for your audience and develop a relationship with them, you will understand more clearly what they expect and how you can deliver on your promise. As you build relationships, you build authority and visibility. A brand doesn’t happen overnight, and interestingly enough, many successful authors don’t even realize they have a brand, but I guarantee their readers do.
Jeniffer Thompson is a publishing consultant and author-branding expert. She is the founder and principal at Monkey C Media, a leading book services firm specializing in book design, author websites, and Internet marketing strategy. Read her smarty author tips blog at jenifferthompson.com and learn more about her company at monkeycmedia.com.