8 Benefits of Author Branding
Most people associate branding with big businesses and companies: Apple, Walmart, UPS. The list goes on, but branding isn’t exclusive for corporations. Many authors benefit from branding their books as well, from J.K. Rowling and Stephen King to an increasing number of self-publishing authors who want to separate themselves from the crowd.
Before we go further into how branding works and can help you find readers, let’s get clear on one thing: what branding is. A brand is more than a bold color scheme or a memorable logo and catchphrase. A brand is your presence around your readers: your voice, your style, and how you want them to think of you.
Aesthetic details might come and go. After all, many of those big businesses frequently introduce new tweaks to their logo and subtle changes to remain modern and stay on top of the latest trends. But your voice, the essence of what you want your books to represent, will stay the same. You want readers to perceive you in a distinct light, to know what they’re getting when they open your latest release and sense with confidence that your books are exactly what they want to read.
Here are more of the specifics of what you can get with good branding, followed with tips on how you can better create your own brand.
A reader who tries out one of your books might not immediately leap to the next, but chances of that happening are much higher if you have a consistent brand. If they like one of your books and see another with the same brand, they hardly need to make a decision at all: buying the next is a natural reaction.
Reader loyalty is a major advantage in the competitive field of self-publishing. If readers feel comfortable following you around book to book, you don’t need to work as hard to sell future releases. Branding makes it easier for readers to identify your future books and know that they like what they’re getting.
Saving Future Work
The work that you put into designing your author brand today will pay for itself in the years to come. The effectiveness of your advertising largely comes down to your brand, and if your brand effectively targets readers of the specific subgenre you’re writing to, then you’ll have no trouble drawing them in.
A Professional Appearance
Branding makes you look more serious. This means that readers will set higher expectations for your books and automatically think of you as a higher-tier author when they see how consistent your branding is. Not all readers are up to reading anything in their favorite genres--some want to skip straight to the top-level books and indulge in something a little more special. You can easily become one of those envied writers by managing your brand well and consistently.
It keeps getting harder to stand out from a growing crowd of like-minded authors who write in all the same genres. Branding is one of the simplest ways to do it. If you maintain the consistency of production between your releases, readers will know instantly that you are a reliable writer and that they can feel safe to binge on your books. You won’t carry the same risks as an author who isn’t branded, and you’ll win more trust over more quickly.
Branding makes others take you more seriously, but it doesn’t stop there. Once you have a stable brand and have worked it through your covers, media, and mailing list, you’ll begin to take yourself more seriously as an author. Branding pushes you to produce quality work and hold yourself to a higher standard than if you had a more casual appearance.
Binge-reading is where many full-time writers see the bulk of their growth and income. Once readers start binging your books, you only need to market a handful to sell everything in short order. Even if you don’t have strong branding, writing in a series is likely going to lead to binge readers further down the road, but a strong brand now will mean an early start, and your writing economy will become that much more profitable.
As mentioned earlier, branding automates a lot of your book marketing for you so that you can spend more time writing. If you’ve dabbled in book marketing in the past, you already know the drain it takes on time, energy, and money. You came here to write fun stories, not run split-testing campaigns and review spreadsheets. If you have a consistent brand, you can cut down on your marketing time and expenses because if you sell one book, you sell all of them.
Branding is an important asset to becoming a full-time writer and maximizing your success with your books, but how do you know which brand is right for you?
An easy way to learn is to review similar authors and see how they choose to brand themselves across various books and series. Then find ways to make it personal, reflecting alternate genres you might write in with a look that encompasses everything.
If you write in one genre, then you should consider genre branding. Take note of what writing style, fonts and colors are popular with your genre and work them through all of your products, and then create a look and feel that reflects that. What if you write in multiple genres? You can blend genre and personal branding to get a custom effect, as I cover in this post.
At the other end of the spectrum, personal branding stems from you as a person and how you want to present yourself. This is great if you write in multiple genres and even better if you write both fiction and non-fiction and wish to be recognized for both. For effective personal branding, consider your own tastes as well as how you want others to think of you when they encounter you. What do you want them to say when you’re not in the room?
How do you brand your writing? Please share in the comments section below or join my group for Self-Publishing Fiction Writers for more discussion.