Building a Successful Author “Brand”

Branding isn’t just a term relevant to businesses; it is an important element in marketing for authors, too. Your book’s content, cover, website design, social media pages and blogs; your interaction in forums and public events—everything you write, do and say, even emails, all combine to build your brand, that is: how readers perceive, remember, and find you. Authors, more than businesses, enjoy almost personal relationships with their fans and loyal readers. Consciously building a consistent, trustworthy name – your brand – lays the foundation for connecting with your readers, developing a devoted following, and selling books.

It starts with your niche and readers

Get specific about who your readers are likely to be. Who will benefit and respond to your story – what are their age groups and gender? What are their interests, problems, and literary tastes? Beyond genre, your book may cover controversial themes such as drugs, modern slavery or climate change. Does it take place in regional settings such as the northwest or other specific locales? Your protagonist will have characteristics or talents, such as vineyard owner, dog trainer, motorcycle rider. These are all subjects that are attractive to specific readers and will be additions to your book description and the keywords you’ll use to help readers find you.

There are an abundance of articles and books written for authors on how to define and target readers. Devote some time to this subject before you take any steps in marketing.

Get to know and appreciate your target readers because all your marketing decisions should be designed to capture their interest.

Build your brand and image

Now that you have a bead on your target readers, you’re ready to have your book designed. This is an important investment and a big step in building your brand. The book cover must accurately reflect the message of your book. It must attract and resonate with your target readers. The bar is high now for indie-published book covers and an amateurish cover will turn people off before they look any further. Professional help in all areas where you don’t have honed skills – typically editor, proofreader, book and cover designer, and web designer – will reward you with increased sales and satisfaction. Professionals will help you set the standard for future work and lay a foundation for your brand that you will build and repurpose over time.