Not too long ago, I did a series on why branding yourself is important in general. But a lot of writers have expressed not being able to apply branding to themselves as writers and authors. I get that—I really do, because when you’re a business, it’s easy to say you need a nice logo and coherent image. But when you’re an author, you’re focusing on the publishing of your first book and all that comes with it. From the cover design, to the typesetting—let alone the promotion of it! A self brand seems a little frivolous, doesn’t it? If the book is good, and my readers are excited over its release, isn’t that all that matters?
Writers, this is why your brand is important.
- You go beyond your book. You can successfully write, launch, and promote your book—and naturally, you’ll gain a following because of the readers that will fall in love with your book. But you need to be set up for success when you go to write book number two, and three, and four… you need fans of YOU. Your brand gives current and potential readers an instant impression of who YOU are, before they even crack open your book. If they love what they see they’ll follow you, all the way through book number 25.
You’re going to take yourself more seriously. I’m a freelancer and business owner, so I know the feeling well. That feeling that tells you you're faking it, that what you’re pursuing in life is kind of too good to be true, to call a profession, to call “work.” You get it from others, too—people that just don't understand what it is you do. You know what you do, and you know that your writing deserves to be taken more seriously. Establishing a strong brand and investing in your image makes what you do feel more legit. Your writing is no longer just a hobby... it's who you are and where you’re going.
A well done brand tells others you’re credible. Writing is your profession, so you’re treating it as a business. And a well-designed identity immediately establishes your credibility. You could just be a baby: small following, just navigating the waters of your first publication, your first blog launch, your first poem uploaded to Instagram. If your brand says: BAM. I’m legit. I know what I’m doing and I rock at writing—people will want to listen. They’ll want to see what you’re about, regardless of whether you're just starting out, or are a well-seasoned author.
Brand simplifies direction. Knowing who you are as a brand and having that strong consistent image, just makes stuff EASIER. Branding is direction—it’s a consistent visual map to who you are, and that makes your decisions easier. You’ll choose green #c4f1bf because that’s the main color of your brand. You’ll choose Calibri as a font because that’s your brand’s font. Your author card is going to have a ton of white space with splashes of gold, because that’s your brand’s style. Having a set brand gives you clarity and ease of mind when it comes to making important visual decisions.
It sets the tone of your web and real life presence. Think of some of your favorite writers. When they share something, do you just KNOW it’s them? That’s brand. And that’s them doing it right. You want who you’re telling your readers you are online to be who you really are in person. So you need to do that well.
It sets you apart from other writers. Think about a typical author’s cover photo on Twitter. I can see it—the book covers, the promo line, the quotes… now are there any that stand out to you? If they do, that’s brand working, and it’s setting them apart from every other author advertising the books they’ve written and writing services they offer. What makes YOU different from all the other writers? What you’re thinking of right now should be what you’re capitalizing on with your brand. No one can copy your uniqueness. No one writes like you write. Show your readers that.
We all have a brand. You have a brand. You ARE your brand. Your brand is how you leave your reader feeling about you after you've interacted with them. It's a first impression, a true personality—it's who you are. So that leads you to a really important question. If you have a brand, and you're currently communicating that brand to everyone you interact with:
Shouldn't you have control of it?
Taking control of your brand means this:
- You figure out what impression you're leaving your readers with.
- You find BETTER ways to communicate who you really are to those readers.
- You create a spot-on image through words and visuals that will instantly portray who you are to your readers.
You have a choice: own up and take control of your brand, or let your brand change with every ebb and flow of your writing—letting your audience guess who you are.
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