Q: I have a book out and one forthcoming. How do I establish a brand? Should I brand my book or myself personally? Do I link the two books through titles? —Lee
Andrea: Generally speaking you want to establish your brand for you as the author, not only for your book(s). But before you tell your agent or and publisher that, let me explain what I mean.
Your books are tools to build your brand–they are also a integral part of your brand. They are huge, but they are not everything. They are sub-brands of your overall personal brand. Think of it like Johnson & Johnson. We all know that name, but we also know their sub-brands: Neutrogena, Aveeno, and Lubriderm, to name a few.
To bring this analogy closer to home when thinking about whether to brand your book or yourself personally, think about some of your favorite authors. Sure, they are known for the books they’ve written, but they are also known for who they are/their writing style/stories/approach/voice, etc.
The successful authors have established a “name brand” for themselves that transcends their books and retains their readers’ loyalty, even if their subsequent books may be different than their first.
There are a variety of ways to begin establishing your author brand, here are just a few ideas to get your creativity flowing:
- writing and publishing the books (duh! 😉
- a professional-looking website
- local and online events (and readings)
- engage in activities with your potential readers: create a profile (or updatee it) on your two favorite (or least hated) social networks
- write shorter form pieces and pitch/submit for publication online
- write blog posts
- do public speaking engagements
- look for like-minded allies and consider cross-promoting
- treat your email list like your friends, make sure you stick to a consistent emailing schedule that works with your life and provide valuable information and resources
- get out there in your community and get to know other writers, readers, etc. you never know what can happen once you put yourself out there more consistently
A few things to consider though, before you jump into any of the above ideas:
- Take some time to figure out what you want to be known for–what your personal brand is all about. This will help you stay on track and “on brand” when selecting events to participate in, promotional activities to engage in, and content to create and/or share.
- Your online presence should be YOU. While people might love a book, they friend or follow actual humans. So your profile pic should be you, but your banner or cover images (on social) can be all about your book.
Also, regarding that last part of the question. No, you don’t need to link your two books through their titles, unless there is some other reason to do so, for instance if they are in a series or something like that. Branding-wise, your name is link enough though.
Do you have a burning question about branding your writing or creativity? The business or psychological side to pursuing your dream of supporting yourself with your creative work? Please email it to me. It just might get selected to be featured on this blog.
Should I establish a brand for my book or myself?