If you read my recent post “Things You Should be Doing Now” then you’ll know one of the things I suggested was building your brand. This is something that needs to be done pretty early on.
What is branding?
Let’s start simply by explaining what branding is. It’s when you create a unique image (logo) or name that is recognisable to a consumer. It will be used in advertising and establish a presence that will attract customers.
You will already know the impact of branding. Whether it’s the golden arches of McDonald’s, the Nike tick or the apple of well, Apple. A well-established brand becomes instantly recognisable.
Why do writers need branding?
In the business world branding is pretty common-place, (though even businesses, usually small ones, don’t realise the importance of branding).
So writers can be forgiven for not appreciating its importance on a personal level too – or that we as writers are technically going to be running a business.
So, since we are going to be selling our books to people, that makes those readers “customers” and so we want to encourage them to buy from us and recognise our name so they will buy more books as we bring them out.
You may have noticed a trend of having author names on books that are as big or even bigger than the title of the book. Think Stephen King and James Patterson. That’s branding. That is where the author’s name is the asset and it is what’s going to draw in customers.
Build your brand
When a company thinks about building its brand, it often thinks of that brand as a person. As writers, we already have the ability to do that, because the brand is us. And we’re people, right? (Good, just checking!)
Branding can be good especially if you write a specific genre. If you brand your name well, it can become synonyms with that genre.
For example, Edgar Allan Poe is often referred to as The Father of Horror, whereas HP Lovecraft is sometimes referred to as the Father of modern horror.
So, if you write mostly sci-fi, then your name can well become known to sci-fi fans who would then pass your name on to anyone who asks for recommendations of sci-fi books.
Most avid readers don’t recommend books, they recommend authors and then books that author has read. A reader who likes your book will seek out more work you have done, using your name to search.
How to build your brand?
Let’s cover some ideas for brand building:
☆ Pick a name – Now we know, as a writer, your name is how you appear to the world. So I guess choosing your writer name is the first step. Have you done it yet?
Whether you use your own name or chose a pseudonym, that needs to be a decision you make and soon.
You don’t want to be changing your name constantly, though there is always the option of having more than one pseudonym like some authors – first things first, get your main name. (Read my post on Using a Pen Name).
☆ Be real – Even if you choose a Pen Name, a fake name is one thing, but you need to be your real self. Be authentic. Let people know who you are, how you write, when you market yourself, don’t create a fake persona. In your marketing you will be letting people see glimpses of yourself, so keep it real.
☆ Create an online presence – Since we are discussing building the brand before you’re published, you need to start getting your name out there. So whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook, use your NAME.
Avoid those weird kooky names like DancingFaeries64. That means nothing, so ditch it and use your name. Use social media to your advantage, hashtag your name and get yourself out there.
☆ Use your work – Allow your work to help build your brand. Making sure you have a strong writing voice, avoid imitating others and when you complete your manuscript, polish it to perfection. People will see all this as something they come to expect from your name.
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