In my last blog post, “Your Author Brand, Part 1: Nailing Your Focus,” I shared information that hopefully helped you decide if you should brand yourself as an author or as a genre. Here’s the next step of your branding journey.

More About Why Branding is Important

I heard a quote once, stating that “A powerful author brand doesn’t happen by accident, but by design.” You should be purposeful about creating your brand. Consistency in your brand — the way you appear to others — brings a level of professionalism, quality and even trustworthiness to book buyers.

And here’s something to think about: If you are not purposefully building your author brand, it will evolve anyway. And, most likely, not the way you hope. Yikes! So why not be deliberate about it and control the impression you want to make in the world?

To help give some clarification, while your brand is your author persona, your style guide is the document containing the guidelines for the way your brand is presented both graphic and written communications . You will use this faithfully to ensure your brand is always the same, regardless of which platform it appears on.

Now let’s start creating your personalized style guide.

Define Your Brand Persona

Try to think of this step as creating a character profile, only this character profile is based on you. Focus on specific characteristics you have as they reflect you as author and create a personality that your readers can relate to.

While staying true to your character, keep in mind that your private self is going to be different than your public self. Basically, let your “character profile” reflect the author you want the public to see.

Here are a few questions to consider to help you develop your unique, personalized public image.

  • Why do you write?
  • What the values you want to depict?
  • What do you stand for?
  • How do you want to be known by your readers?
  • What words, ideas, or feelings do you want people to associate with you?
  • What do you promise to deliver every time?
  • What can your readers expect?
  • Do you solve problems, fulfill desires, or offer transformations?

Now take some time to review your answers and write down three words that reflect what it is you want readers to remember you the most for.

Define Your Audience

Your audience — your readers — will also help you determine your brand. The way you present yourselves to preschoolers is going to be different than young adults. Then again, you may decide to write for both and you need to take that into consideration as well.

If you decided to brand in a specific genre, you will probably benefit by “niching down” to determine your audience. For example, instead of “kids, ages 4-8,” add more details like “picture books for kids ages 4-8 that teach Christian truths.” Or “engaging and humorous picture books for kids ages 4-8 the teach Christian truths from secondary characters in the Bible.”

Those who chose the author brand angle, you will most likely have more than one audience. So, if you write for kids 4-8, as well as mid-grade readers, be sure to list both of those audiences and narrow them as much as possible. For example:

  • Engaging and humorous picture books for kids ages 4-8 the teach Christian truths from secondary characters in the Bible.
  • Christian SciFi for boys 8-12 with one main character who is an overcome despite all odds with Christian undertones.

Simplifying the Wrap-Up

Now that you have pinpointed your audience(s) and you have your three words, take some time to consider images, words, colors, and designs that best reflect you. Is your brand character soft or playful? Formal or informal? Funny or serious?  Colors also make a huge impact as well.

Need some inspiration? Check out Lysa Terkeurst’s page. Her home page is simple, but immediately reflects her personality and she lists her passions right up front as well. And below are a few examples of authors who have done a decent job of branding.

Francine Rivers
Claudia Rueda
Kylie Howarth
Connor Grayson
Terri Blockstock

In my next blog post, “Your Author Brand, Part 3: Nailing Your Style Guide, Cont.,” we will talk about the visual elements of your brand — logos, color, and fonts. In the meantime, please feel free to ask questions or post your ideas on author branding or marketing, or email me at cindylynnsawyer@gmail.com.

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