Today, I’m thrilled to host Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.com. If you don’t know Dave and his website, you’re missing out on a wealth of self-publishing knowledge! In this article, he discusses the elements of an author brand and how to design a unique brand that fits you. This is an aspect of publishing I’m still working on, so I’m super excited to read his tips! Over to Dave …
What Is An Author Brand?
At first glance, the concept of an author brand may seem strange or out of place. After all, doesn’t an author’s work speak for itself? Shouldn’t an author be judged by that alone?
The first thing to realize about author branding is that every author has a brand, whether they choose to deliberately develop it or not. The brand an author has is simply the way they are perceived by those who encounter them.
It is natural that readers form an opinion and an impression about writers whose work they come across. The impression formed is influenced by the choice of words the writer uses to describe their life and their work, the type of images they use when promoting their books, and the design and feel of their website, blog or any other platform officially associated with the author.
When you think of author branding as inevitable, it makes sense that an author would wish to take control of their brand and how they are perceived by the public. If readers are going to hold a certain perception, it makes sense for authors to try and influence that perception in their favour.
Read on to discover the benefits that come with taking control of your author brand, the main ways in which authors are able to influence the ways they are perceived, and some easy steps for getting started with your branding efforts.
Why Author Brands Matter
The term ‘brand’ sounds somewhat sterile and corporate and this can be off-putting for creatively minded people, such as authors. It’s better to instead think of the ways in which authors form connections with their readers, as this is the ultimate effect of a brand.
By ensuring that their brand is a reflection of who they are, authors are able to allow their readers to connect with them on a human level. Think about how much nicer it is as a reader to know something about your favorite writer in terms of their life, personality and the things which influence their creative output.
In the world of self-published books, there is more choice than ever before. People are likely to have a range of books to choose from on any given topic. If you are able to present yourself in a way which increases your credibility with readers, your book stands a better chance of being chosen ahead of the competition.
Branding Through Bios And Language
One of the first things that browser on a major bookstore will do when researching a purchase is to try and find out something about the writer whose book they are considering buying. This is especially true in the era of self-publishing and pen names.
An author bio is one of the best ways for an author to convey who they really are to readers. Amazon Author Central, for example, offers writers the chance to feature not only a bio, but also links to their website and blog posts.
So how exactly does a bio impact branding?
The choice of language an author uses when describing their life and work directly affects how they are perceived.
Consider someone who writes inspirational, motivational self-improvement books. Imagine that their bio contained dry, dense language. Wouldn’t this be off putting and incongruous to readers? A much better impression would be formed if the author bio contained the same type of uplifting and inspirational language as found in the books.
It’s important that the language used in an author bio matches the tone and style of an author’s work. It should feel like a natural extension of their books. Readers should feel at home and familiar when reading bios of their favourite writers.
A writer’s image in the eyes of readers is more than the sum of their words. The photographs, videos and design choices made by authors also impact their brand.
Writers should approach their choice of photographs and other visual elements of their brand similarly to choosing language for their bio. The visual material used should be appropriate for the style and tone of the author’s work.
Visual branding is an art and science of its own. For many writers, it can be intimidating and hard to know exactly which images are best suited to their work and audience. Two simple solutions exist for this problem.
First, writers should take the time to get a feel for what other similar writers are doing visually. By spending time checking out similar authors, any trends in terms of the type of image or colors used will emerge. This allows authors to work within the visual conventions of their genre.
Second, it’s important to get objective, outside feedback on any images chosen. Ideally, this should be from a group of relevant readers without a personal connection to the writer. This allows for truly impartial feedback from people in a position to offer valuable insight.
Author Branding Final Thoughts
Some of the keys to making author branding work for you are —
- Seeing it as a valuable opportunity rather than a sterile chore
- Learning how to match reader expectations to your own ideas
- Being willing to accept feedback and make changes accordingly
We are fortunate to have a wealth of author branding examples available to us as inspiration.
If you don’t know where to start, spend some time browsing the websites of authors you admire. You’ll soon get a feel for what appeals to you.
Get inspired, find a way to put your own unique twist on the ideas you come across, and start to experiment. Have fun and make something that truly shows the world who you are.
In his own words: When I am not fighting dragons or chasing the bogey man out of my kids closet, I like using my previous Online Optimization skills to help other authors with the ‘technical’ stuff and get the right authors to the top of Amazon and any other eBook service out there.