Simple steps for creating an author brand—Part 2

This is the second 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. In this post, I will speak about branding your books and website . In Part 1, I talked about branding yourself, the author.

Michael Hicks brandsBranding is a tool for promoting your work, attracting readers, and then making it easy for them to identify you among the myriad of competing books or webpages. Your brand is more than the book cover or your website theme; it is about a consistent message, your memorable uniqueness,  your pizzazz—a distinguishing feature by which others can identify you.

If you want to be easily recognizable, become consistent throughout your author platform. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the importance of being consistent in branding yourself as an author. Apply this consistency to your books and blogs. So doing, will make it easy for your readers to know it is you, whether they are looking at a book, a blog, or a guest post.

To develop a brand identity, look at layout, color, font, images, message and style.  The first four are simple and can easily be incorporated. Developing a consistent message, on the other hand, takes thought and effort. Determine what, overall, you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to teach, lead, entertain, motivate, inspire, or inform? Once you understand your purpose, determine how you will convey this message—how you will do things differently from other writers. This is your style. Will you use stories, a logical progression, comedy, or whatever? Once you have determined your message and style, use them whenever you write. For many writers, writing on message in a certain style comes naturally, without a conscious effort. Others must strive to do so.

As a new writer, I did not think about branding. I had an experience (walking the Camino de Santiago) and I wrote about that. I did not set off to write a motivational or inspirational book, nor did I think about possible future books with similar themes.  I chose the cover from the CreateSpace templates for its eye-appeal and selected colors that blended well with the cover photo.

I created my blogs without clearly identifying my purpose and style. It was quite evident that I did not have a brand. As I started studying successful indie authors, I noticed that these leaders were easily identifiable by their covers, their style, and message. For example, Michael R. Hicks‘ tagline is “I enjoy writing so you can enjoy reading!” He uses the same photo and tagline on Twitter.  On the other hand, on his Facebook page, he asks the reader to “Come and and join the party!” and uses a different photo. Aside from this inconsistency, Mr Hicks shines in branding of his books. He currently has two series: The Harvest Series and the In Her Name series. Look at the photo above to see the similarities between and within the series. Both series use similar font and layout on a dark background. The Harvest Series has the biohazard logo centered on the page while the In Her Name series has the sword hilt.  As a result of this branding, a reader can quickly identify other books in the series, even without reading the author’s name.

It is never too late to create a brand. I started to develop mine about two months ago. I use my tagline “Providing strategies and support for the indie author” throughout my platform, including my email signatures. I have selected a blog style, tone, and  image colors purposefully. I am still using two different photos of myself because I still have to decide how to deal with my initial poorly thought-out attempt at branding. I will deal with covers, once I complete my next book.

Simple steps for developing your book brand

  • Pick a genre. Don’t confuse your writers by writing very different material. If you want to do so, create a pen name for one of the genres, and then brand those books differently.
  • Decide on your overall message and style. For example, the Chicken Soup for the Soul books focus on different topics, but the cover clearly identifies the authors, Jack Canfied & Mark Victor Hansen. The style is always 101 stories. Readers know what to expect.
  • Consider building your brand around a title. Look at all the Books for Dummies.
  • Think about creating a series. Creating similar covers is easy with books that are part of a series.
  • Build your platform around your brand. Once you have identified your brand and style, use it everywhere. Be consistent; it is this consistency that will grow your market.

Simple steps for developing your blog brand

  • Think about how to incorporate you message into your blog theme. Be message-focused and professional.
  • Develop a style and look that is easily identifiable, even when you are writing for someone else. Look at Danny Iny’s blog, Firepole Marketing. The red background makes it easily recognizable. He touts himself as a super friendly guy and writes in a friendly way both in his posts and e-mails. His message is engagement and authenticity and he exemplifies his message in his post. He has over 37,000 monthly readers.
  • Pick colors and fonts for you brand. I have eight colors and four fonts styles that I use in my blog drawings. Though these may not be noted on a single page, the overall feeling, I believe, is consistent. Look at my Pinterest Board to see how my color theme. Notice how different the look and feel is with my later postings, after I started using the color scheme.
  • Consider using a tagline or logo. Joanna Penn uses both. Be picky about what you chose. Select something you can grow with over the upcoming years.


About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

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