If you wish to be taken seriously as a writer, it is necessary for you to create your author brand.
What is an Author Brand?
A brand in business is how that business defines itself. Authorship is a business, so apply that to the publishing world. To create an author brand, you need to define yourself and your work.
Ask yourself: what place in the bookselling market will I and my books occupy? Do you blog? Then again, what is your focus? Perhaps you write history. . .or romance. . .or horror.
What makes you and your books unique? If you can’t decide, then continue to brainstorm until you determine that spot in the writing world that you claim.
Why is an Author Brand Important?
If you have a clear idea as to who you (and your works) are, you are head-and-shoulders over any competition in the writing field. Why? Because most of those authors haven’t taken the time to think out their position within the industry and you have. This gives you a huge advantage for your marketing efforts.
Once you decide what makes you and your works unique, you can utilize that information in a number of ways for your marketing efforts. How are you and anything that you write perceived?
Do you have a reputation for producing strong suspense or an interesting protagonist in your work? Are your blogs written in such a way that your readers can’t wait to see your next one? If you write non-fiction, are your readers assured that your information is factual?
Your identity or brand will help you to define the target audience for your writing. Once you find that target audience and attract those readers, you have laid the groundwork for your marketing plan.
To Sustain an Author Brand
If you really want to carve out a strong niche in your chosen writing field, you need to do several things:
1. Be consistent in production. “Oh! I just loved her first book! When is the second one coming out?” Ah, the secret wish of all authors—readers wanting more. You have given benefit to the readers of your first book and have left them wanting more. Give it to them.
2. Maintain quality. Often, you have slaved over that first book for years. The quality is solid. Your readers loved it.
Now, perhaps, you have a publisher pushing a hard, close deadline on you and you know you can’t produce a manuscript as good as the first in that short timeframe.
At this point, you have several options: renegotiate the contract (and most reasonable publishers will work with you, especially if you are good about meeting deadlines); walk away from the contract; or, do a hack job of writing the second book.
By writing a substandard second book, you are going to lose a lot of your original readers and they aren’t going to come back. Hard decision, especially since it probably involves money.
Same goes for blogs. Don’t ever drop the quality of what you write. You are a professional and to be taken seriously, you must meet the industry standards of writing (strong, well-expressed topic, no errors, etc.).
3. Be unique. That doesn’t mean goofy—that means be true to yourself and your writing. Don’t mimic other authors and their styles. You have already defined your brand, so stick to it.
Your Author Brand
If you have decided to be the squeaky clean romance writer, then be that writer and make sure every romance that you produce holds to that standard.
If you write non-fiction politics, your readers expect your books to be fact-checked and, unless you announce a certain political leaning, bias-free.
If you blog on your own site, stick to your thesis.
A writer who is all over the map loses any following that they may have built up.
In other words, decide who you are as an author and then stick to it. Developing that brand over the years and using it as a focus point will sell your words.