Marketing 101: Introduction to Author Branding


I spent the majority of yesterday reading about “author branding”, what it is, and why it’s vital to an author’s career.  What I came away with were tons of notes and one resounding message:  be yourself.

Yes…be yourself.  Your future ‘fans’, your ‘public’, your readers, they don’t want to be inundated with sales pitches and ‘Hey, hey, look at me and my book’ messages.  I see this all the time on Twitter and it really turns me off.  I want people I can connect with.  People I can talk to.  People who are real and authentic and have a story to tell…a story I can relate to.  I like people who exude passion about what they write.  I love those individuals who enjoy interacting with their readers.

I took a look at some blog sites that I follow to see what it is that attracts me to those people.  You know what I love about them?  They’re genuine, honest and passionate, and they have a story to tell.  Without even knowing it, they’re creating their  ‘brand’.  They’re gathering their tribe.  It’s so simple it boggles the mind.  

Be yourself.

Several years ago an amazing boss told me there was no single method for achieving distinction.  It was something each of us had to find through a combination of knowing who we are as individuals, knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are, as well as identifying our limitations.  He said trying to please everyone will leave nothing behind but shoddy work and a reputation for being a suck-up.  My boss was a very wise man.  It is so true.  I would rather devote myself to doing one or two things great than trying to do a hundred and doing none of them well.  

These realizations are the first baby steps into ‘branding’ yourself as an author.  It may seem trivial, but by fully understanding who you are, the more confident you will become and the easier it will be to achieve what you want in life.

My daughter asked me last night who am I. 

I smiled, took my first baby steps, and said, “I’m an author, and boy do I have some stories to tell you.”  

What about you?  Are you ready to take your first baby steps?  Go on.  Tell me.  Who are you?

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15 thoughts on “Marketing 101: Introduction to Author Branding

  1. I’m a writer JKF. 🙂 it’s a big deal for me to brand myself that way, because just two months ago, I was a corporate lawyer. I quit my job to do what I do best and love doing- writing! So even though I haven’t finished my first novel, even though I haven’t spoken to any agents, I think of myself and introduce myslef as a writer now.
    Loved your blog. Your articles are totally relevent, especailly for someone like me. Following you now!
    Being a writer, I am guessing you like to read? If you do, please do visit my blog about books, and if you like it, please follow!

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  2. Some similar advice came out at the writing symposium I was at last week. It’s good advice. The constant ‘hawking’ of your work gets annoying to readers, so being yourself and drawing folks to your wonderful personality will work wonders. People will start talking about you and recommending you to others, much like the blog awards that are floating around in the blogosphere. 🙂

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  3. I’ve combined my love of writing with my god-given destructive desire to teach people everything I know. Have I built a brand? I don’t know. I’ve got something. Not sure what I’ve got to be honest.

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  4. Funny you should blog about this. I was considering this yesterday as well. Hmmmm wonder why???
    We’ve quite the road ahead of us. Every tid bit of advice I can snag from fellow authors is tucked away in the storage bins of my brain.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. You’re welcome, Terri. I am no expert, trust me. I’m so glad I have all of you going along for this ride with me. It gives me strength to push forward into this sea of uncertainty. We’ll get through together. Just keep writing and being your wonderful ‘you’. 🙂

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  5. It’s a little more complicated than “being yourself”: you have to find personal qualities you can relate to your writing that could appeal to readers. No one wants to hear about your extensive stamp collection, unless you’re writing a book about a conspiracy with clues revealed in arcane messages within the images of yellowed old stamps.

    I myself am still working on establishing a brand. We all have to start from somewhere. I’m sure that once upon a time in the distant past, someone would have uttered, “Nike / McDonald’s / Pepsi / ? What’s that?”

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    1. I agree, J.C. 100%, but before we can find those qualities we can relate to in our writing, we have to know what qualities we have overall. One might think writing an Indiana Jones sort of adventure sounds like a great idea, but if the writer has no interest in archaeology, then the story will lack.

      It all comes down to ‘write what you know’, but to do that, we have to realize what it is we ‘know’. This means taking a long look at who we are, and deciding how to use our strengths, weaknesses and limitations to achieve our goals. Like so many of the articles and books said, so many of us jump into ventures with our heads in the clouds and big dreams in our hearts only to fall short because we were chasing the wrong dream or we didn’t have or develop the proper tools to succeed.

      For me, my most important tool in achieving anything in life is me. Now I need to find the best way to use that tool. It’s a long process and one I certainly haven’t mastered, but I’m on my way. What a journey it’s going to be. 🙂

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  6. I completely agree with you, that being yourself is the most important. Easier to say than do, I’m afraid. So many authors (and businesses and consultants and anything else) want to be liked, want to appeal to a broader audience, that they try to be all things to all people or appear to be something that they are not. Social media makes it easier in a way to build a slightly false image of yourself, but how easy is it to keep it up in the long term?

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