Author branding–what a concept…

As a fairly new author, I’m considered a work in progress. Not that it’s a bad thing. Right? There’s always room to explore and grow—to fine tune my voice and learn from the excellent authors I admire and read. I’m excited. And while I’m in the process of writing in multiple genres, my wonderful agent and publisher told me it’s time to start “branding”.
If you know me at all, you’ll guess what went through my active mind the first time I considered the concept.

 

Cowboys. Cattle.

 

branding irons

 

 

Stigmatizing gossip.

 

Secrets

 

 

Tattoos.

 

Tat

 

 

None of the above applies.

Theresa Meyers, president of Blue Moon Communications provided an excellent article about the basics of author branding…
(http://www.bluemooncommunications.com/white_papers/author_branding.htm).
First off, let me give you a concept to wrap your brain around. The word “brand” is used to refer to a product or company name or anything unique that identifies something using a logo or trademark. Many people think the marketing term brand was actually borrowed from the cattlemen in the 1800s when there were no fences and cattle were marked as belonging to a person via the brand on their hides.
The marketing term or concept grew out of a need to identify products and developed into a serious approach to why consumers were attracted to a specific product and how they made their purchasing choices. Author branding is an extension of that effort.

See, envisioning cattle and cowboys wasn’t crazy…
Ms. Meyers continues…
Today when we talk about an author brand we are talking about building an image, perception or identity that is used to create “emotional Velcro” first, a perception of higher quality second and that little “something special” that no one else can offer third. Here’s an example: When someone walks into a bookstore to purchase a novel by Nora Roberts, they don’t say, “Can you tell me where I can find, The Three Fates?” They say, “Do you have the latest Nora book?”

So this is all about creating buzz about my stories. What sets them apart from others in the genre(s) or that “something special”?
Of course I’m confused. I’m a formula girl (blame it on my science background).
I’ve seen great books fail and so-so books make it big. So it’s not just about writing high quality stories. There’s something else going on here. And I don’t have the answers yet. But I really think it starts with applying to myself what I look for in a great book. Am I meeting my own expectations?

1. Voice—something edgy and unique. From historicals to NA, I want to be haunted by lines I can’t forget or characters that leave a lasting impression.
2. Concise writing style—I appreciate descriptions and emotionally charged dialogue. BUT, I also expect a writer to know when to hold back so story progression doesn’t suffer.
3. Conflict (internal/external)—don’t hold back, but please keep it real.
4. Witty dialogue—I adore banter in any setting. It electrifies stories and makes me smile and laugh.
5. Firsts—meetings, kisses, love scenes, arguments, or anything else you can think of, please make it count.

I’ll continue to explore the idea of branding and share whatever I find. If you have any ideas on how to build your brand, please comment, I’m taking notes.

6 thoughts on “Author branding–what a concept…

  1. Branding has always eluded me, but I heard someone in a writer’s workshop say “look at your reviews to give you a handle on your brand.” It’s not that you write historical or contemporary or mysteries, but more about your style. Are your books fast paced? Funny? Cheeky or snarky? That one piece of information made lots of sense to me in figuring our what my brand might be. Good luck with yours.

  2. I work as a sales and marketing executive in the digital world, and I believe the mission of branding is universal. The goal is to create a unique ‘selling’ position, then share that in as many ways and mediums as possible. Of course, in the retail world, good examples are easy to spot, like Coca-Cola. Based on Interbrand’s best global brand study of 2011, Coca-Cola was the world’s most valuable brand. I’m sure you’ll come up with a winning one, too!

  3. This was a great post. I have yet to become really solid on what, precisely, my brand is. Every time I think I have it down, my muse kinda destroys it.

    But I do believe branding is important. I didn’t, for a long time, until one of my favorite romantic suspense writers wrote something so different–a breezy historical–that I was thrown for a loop. I normally don’t care when a writer switches up in terms of genre; often, I like it. But in this case, I had “bought” one brand, and got something I really didn’t expect. 🙂

  4. C.D. Hersh says:

    Loved so much where your “active mind” took the concept of branding that we have re-blog you on our new series “Tell Again Tuesday” for August 5th. 😉

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