We are living in a world where anyone can be an author. With a few simple clicks, you can have your book published and available for purchase on Amazon. So why does it matter if you build an author brand? Let me ask you this: What do these authors have in common?
- Stephen King
- K. Rowling
- Seth Godin
- Deepak Chopra
- Danielle Steel
A strong author brand.
But what does that mean? And is it important for all authors to have a brand, or just some? That’s what I’m going to cover in this article.
What Is an Author Brand?
A brand, whether it is for a business, a person, or an author, communicates what makes that business, person, or author unique, and signifies an implied promise. For an author, this means that an author brand helps readers identify what makes your books different from other books in the same genre. It also gives them an idea of what to expect when they open one of your books to read.
For example, Stephen King has a signature style of writing. Whether the book you are reading is horror, fantasy, or something else, it is easy to recognize that style. King delivers on his brand promise. The same can be said of all the authors in the list above.
What Does an Author Brand Do for You and Your Book?
There are a lot of benefits that come with having a strong, recognizable author brand. Here are seven of them.
1. Sets you apart from the competition
When you have a strong brand, it sets you apart from the competition. Your books look and feel different – even if the difference is slight – than books by other authors in your genre. For example, Stephen King has a different brand than Clive Barker, although they both write in the horror space. J.K. Rowling markets her work differently than Christopher Paolini, although both write in the young adult fantasy genre. And Seth Godin’s platform is quite different from that of Gary Vaynerchuk, although both write about entrepreneurship and marketing. I would be willing to bet that there are readers of Danielle Steel who would never read Barbara Taylor Bradford, and I’m sure the reverse is true, as well. And yet, you are likely to see their books in the same section of the bookstore.
This is what a brand can do for you, as well. It can help your readers – and potential readers – get a sense of what makes you and your writing unique.
2. Helps build relationships with your readers
A strong brand communicates a brand promise. This, in turn, helps build trust with your readers. They know what they are getting when they read one of your books. For example, one of my favorite authors is Isaac Asimov. Whether I pick up one of his robot novels, a collection of short stories, a book about astronomy, or even a mystery, I have an expectation of what I will encounter between the pages of that book. And Asimov delivers.
The same can be said of all my favorite authors, from Ray Bradbury (science fiction, fantasy, horror) to Michael Chrichton (science fiction, technology thriller) to Rob Eagar (book marketing) to Scott Hahn (Catholicism) and beyond. I know what to expect, they deliver, I buy another of their books.
3. Sells more books
When you consistently deliver on your brand promise, readers buy more books. But that’s not the only way an author brand can help you sell more books.o
Bookstores are more likely to put your book on their shelves, thus exposing you to more potential readers, if your brand is strong. They are in the business of selling books, and they know that readers are more likely to buy a book from a well-branded author, than one without much of a brand.
4. Makes marketing your work much easier
When you have a clear author brand, it is much easier to develop, maintain, and support your marketing efforts. Your marketing messages are easier to write. Your marketing assets are easier to create. And your marketing decisions become much easier to make. Your brand promise drives all of this.
5. Greases the wheels to getting great endorsements
Endorsements can help you sell more books. However, unless you know the person you are approaching to write an endorsement, it can be challenging to get them. However, if you have a strong brand, you can entice influencers to take a look at your proposal and give you a good endorsement.
6. Improves your chances of getting a book deal
Because the market is so flooded and it is getting harder to get a book noticed in the sea of available books, book agents and publishers are getting more refined in who they will take on as a client or offer a book deal to. One of the assets that will set you apart and help agents and publishers bet on your book is a strong brand.
Why? A strong brand indicates that you know what you’re doing and can help them sell more copies of your book. A clear author brand also suggests that you have an audience that is ready to buy the book they are about to work with you on. That also indicates strong sales.
Let’s face it, agents are more likely to represent a brand than an author, and publishers want to work with brands more than authors.
7. Supports a writer’s block free writing life
Wondering what to write next? Look to your brand promise; it will point you in the right direction. When you have a clear brand promise, it helps you come up with better ideas for your next book, the book after that, and the book after that, as well.
Is Branding More Important for Some Authors than Others?
I hope you can see now how important an author brand is. However, I do want to share one caveat: If you are a one-book wonder and have no intention of ever writing another book, and that one book does not support or help promote a business, then an author brand may not be necessary for you.
Having an author brand is critical for the success of multi-book authors and extremely important for author-entrepreneurs. Without a brand to support your book-centric business, you are not likely to gain the traction you need to make your endeavor viable.
The world of publishing has changed a lot in recent years. It’s no longer enough to just write a book and hope it will sell. Authors are like CEOs of their own companies. Authors must create brands for themselves that will set each one apart from the competition and make people want to read their work.
It’s not enough to just write a good book – you must be a good marketer, as well. Building a solid author brand takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end. An author brand will make it easier for readers to find your work, which means more sales. And we all want that, right?
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