Why is branding business important?
Your writing is great. Perhaps even perfect. Your family and friends love reading your work. You have always wanted to write a book, and you have written one already and it’s time to publish it.
Everything is excellent. But why would other people want to read your book? Do people know that you exist? If they do, why should they care?
Writing a good short story, blog post, feature, article, or a book is a good beginning. When you have an excellent product to offer, people will want to buy it. But you should know that a product needs to have a brand. An identity that can convince buyers so that they can trust in your books and work.
What crosses your mind when someone mentions Coca Cola, John Grisham, McDonald’s, or Stephen King? You will realize that people will rarely vary on things that cross their mind when such names are mentioned. That’s because there is a powerful branding the names. These names stand for something that someone can trust over and over again.
For the case of McDonald’s and Coca Cola, they have a famous logo that can be easily recognized everywhere, famous worldwide taglines, and consistent product quality. John Grisham and Stephen King have a consistent writing style, faithfulness to the genre and a distinct author persona.
If you are a serious self-publishing author, there is no shortcut around this. But nowadays you have to put in as much work into promoting your book as a traditional author as you be required to if you were a self-publishing author. Usually, a traditional publisher will pay more attention when you have an active community around your writing in place. For one to get a devoted fan-base that will be around to purchase your books and root for you, author branding is a must.
If done correctly, a well-developed brand will help you in building your reputation as an author.
What do you require for you to build a brand around your books and work?
You will need consistent work and take goal-oriented steps to develop a powerful brand around your work. Here are the eight things you can get right away to get started.
1. A persona
You need to decide how you want your readers to view you. Consider writing down a mission statement. Where do you intend to take your writing? If you had to come up with a tagline, what would it be? Which genre do you want to write in? It’s recommended sticking to just one genre. That one genre would be your identity. Zadie Smith writes literary fiction, Tolkien used to write on high fantasy, James Patterson writes in Crime-thriller, and John Green writes in YA. You need to pick the one genre you are good at and stick to it.
Saying that doesn’t mean that you can’t write in other genres. You can always write in other genres if you want, but it will become more complicated to balance your personas. Perhaps you will build different websites for different books, or maybe you will write under your pen name. Whichever the path you take, writing in different genres may become challenging to manage. Without focusing on one thing, you will be putting in more work trying to manage the different personas.
2. A logo
Maybe you might not need an actual logo. But if you want a real logo, you can go for it. You need a good designer to create for you a personal crest or coat of arms that you can use on book covers and anything you publish.
You can keep it simple and make a logo out of your name. You can make it in your handwriting, made up signature or just in a font that you will be suing everywhere in one or two specific styles or colors.
3. Business card
Being an author, you will probably visit events and book conferences, and you may also be planning on reading at a literary café or host a book signing.
You will need a business card. It’s like a handshake, crucial to have during these events. Publishing and book events are perfect places you can make connections with agents, publishers, readers, and fellow authors. You should have something they will use to get in touch with you.
You can use Canva or Moo to design a good business card. If you can’t do it on your own, you can hire a professional to do it for you.
4. A head-shot
Most people believe that this must be an entirely professional set up. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you can afford a professional shot, then get it. But having a friend who is good with cameras take a head-shot of you can work just well. The head-shot must be taken under natural light, should be sharp in quality and should show the shoulders and full face.
Remember, selfies don’t count. As cute as how your children or a pet is, try not to include them.
5. Social presence
You should start using social networks as soon as possible. Get to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and any other social media network. Consider doing some research on effective practices you can apply to get more recognition on the platforms and try them out. You need to stay true to your persona. If someone stages photos with books and the coffee cups are not your style, don’t do them. Consider sticking to what you know, try new things after a while, and remember to offer fresh content all the time.
Remember that not all platforms will work for you. If you are a crime-fiction writer and maybe spend a lot of time putting info-graphics and boards on Pinterest and your pins end up being buried, then maybe Pinterest will not work for you. Maybe it worked on a nonfiction travel writer you know, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
You need to try out all platforms and see the ones that you are most comfortable with and the ones that offer more engagement with readers. Drop the ones that don’t do that. You should remember that real engagement is far much better than getting new follows.
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6. A blog
You need a blog to share about your work, personal journey as a writer, your problems, book events, your books, reviews, your characters, travel food, writing advice, and any other things. Try producing content consistently and make sure that the content is relevant to some of your readers if not all of them.
Pick a platform with caution. Consider something affordable, and one that allows flexibility with additional apps and widgets. Pick the one that also lets you track your audience through comprehensive and quick-to-understand analytics. If it’s possible, consider guest blogging and blogging on different platforms whenever you can.
You need a website since it acts as a portfolio. It will allow you to add links to your blog posts, writing samples, upcoming books, articles on the Internet, your bio, social links, contact info, and buy information for your readers. A website is your online identity and a place where anyone can find all the information about you.
Nowadays it’s super easy to design a website by yourself. All you need is a little technical knowledge and design sense. If you opt for do-it-yourself, your first step should be Bluehost. For just $3.95 you can get your website going! If you go that route, keep reading our blog and you’ll acquire all the skills needed to run your own website.
If you don’t have the technical knowledge (because, the truth is you are a writer, and that is what you are best at), you can hire a professional to help you in making a professional website.
8. A media kit
Having a media kit is crucial. It’s like having an information capsule where a journalist can refer to when writing about your or your book.
However, they are not just to be used by a journalist. They can be used by bloggers who want to write reviews for your book or interview you, agents, publishers, editors, podcast or radio hosts, book libraries, bookstores, and event planners. This information capsule will offer them all the information about you and your work. Remember to add the following to your media kit:
Author contact and bio information – your writing background, head-shot, current location, education background, etc.
Books – their blurbs, covers, excerpted testimonials, editorial, links to reviews, interviews, links to book trailers, author pages on different platforms, agent and publisher’s name if you already have.
All links – for guest posts, articles, website, blog, and social media.
You don’t have to add anything fancy. Add essential information only in a professional way. It should be brief and efficient.
The steps above are the quick steps you can take when you want to build an audience around you and your book. It always requires consistent hard work and clear goals or your brand to work the way you want.