Simple steps for creating an author brand—Part 1

This is the first of a two-part series on creating your brand.  It is meant for those who are just starting to think about brand and what it means. The steps outlined are simple, but ones that can make a difference in how your readers see you and in the future development of your brand. In this post, I will speak about branding yourself, the author. In Part 2, I talk about branding your books and website.

branding yourselfHave you been thinking about building a brand for yourself, and wondering how to go about it? I have. Even though I have taken several steps towards that end, especially on this website,  I am just starting to figure it all out. As I research, I find that there are many little things that one can do to develop a brand that cost nearly nothing and yet can make a big difference.

A brand is a consistent presence or message that is uniquely yours. It is your look, your feel, your tone, your message that is uniform across your platform. (A platform is a tool comprising of various activities that you the author use to get readers to notice you and your work.) The more consistent you are in feel, tone, and message, the easier it is for your readers to identify you.

First, I realized, I started thinking about branding too late. I should have started before releasing the book, and before creating my blog and other parts of my platform. Since a brand is woven in all aspects of the author’s platform, changes that I make now will be harder than if I had implemented a well thought-out plan from the get go. Though it would have been simpler to start earlier, it is not too late to make the necessary changes now, just more difficult and time consuming. What is that adage about doing it right the first time?

Early on, I identified three aspects of my presence: author, public speaker, and blogger; and then I created webpages and social media accounts for each of those presences. I created this blog and the one for my book (without thinking through what I would do with future books). Each has a distinctive look and feel, each has a different avatar or profile picture. At the time, I thought I was creating a “brand” for my blog and one for the book. Now, I realize, I should have created a brand that crossed over all aspects of my presence (and perhaps designed one webpage to encompass everything). Back then, I thought I was simplifying things; what I actually did was the opposite.

I just recently combined my Twitter book and professional accounts. I was getting a lot of the same followers in each, and it was taking a lot of time. I still have two Facebook Fan pages and two blogs. I think I will keep them that way, at least until I get another book, and then I will have to decide how to proceed. If I combine or change the Facebook fan page I may lose the following on my current page. I wish I had thought all this out better before now; as a new writer, I had not seen the ramifications of having more than one book.

As I thought about how I would brand myself, I looked at many Twitter bios, Facebook “About” descriptions, and blurbs on various other social media. They are all over the place. Some people describe themselves as a parent, a hobbyist, a cat lover, or —whatever—before stating they are an author. Others state author of book name or book series name and nothing else. Many listed “author” first, and then added something personal that relates to the book or their field of expertise. It seems to me that if you are promoting yourself as a writer, that the word “writer” or “author” should come first. I don’t think it’s a matter of setting priorities, but of separating the professional from the personal. To keep the two distinguishable and to develop your brand, I recommend setting up separate accounts.

So, if I were to start all over what would I do differently? I would first identify what I want for my overall look, feel, tone, and message. Then, I would determine how can I differentiate myself from others and how can I get the reader to remember me. I was not ready to do this eight months ago. It has taken me all this time to find my voice and the courage to use it. As I work on this, I am discovering that my voice is starting to seep not only into this blog but also into other aspects of my writing; I am developing a consistent feel and tone.  At last, I am starting to develop my brand.

Five steps for creating an author brand

  • You are an author. Claim it: separate your personal self from your author persona.
  • Determine what you want to promote about you, the author, the professional. Do you want to be seen as friendly, mysterious, an expert, or a sci-fi buff? Once you determine this, pick two or three memorable words that describe you and use those words across all parts of your platform: blog, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, email—everywhere.
  • Be consistent. Use the same author’s bio throughout your platform. Create a short and a long version. Create one in first person, for use where you want to create a rapport with the reader; create another in third person for sending to the press, interviewers, and people who will be introducing you.
  • Put your best face forward. Use the same photo in all your profiles. Pick one that shows your face. Do you have an inviting smile? A thoughtful demeanor? A more comic appearance. Choose a photo consistent with the way you describe yourself and with your message.
  • Make all social media links findable. Make it easy for a reader to connect with you on Twitter or other social media.

I am still working on developing my brand, perhaps because, as a new author, I am still feeling my way. But I believe the changes I have made or am in the process of making are the beginnings of my brand. I just have to flesh it out a little more.

Were you fortunate enough to start with a brand? If not, what mistakes did you make and how did you correct them? Please tell us about how you developed your brand.


About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

Adventurer and Author, I was born in Hartford Connecticut and now live in Sarasota, Florida.