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Author Brand 101: What It Is and Why You Need One

What is an author brand? Take a moment to think of your favorite book. What springs to mind? If you’re anything like most readers, you’ll think about not only the captivating characters, or the gripping plot, but also the author behind the magic. Consider some of the bestselling and most-loved authors out there. Stephen King…. [Read More]

Author brand 101 by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

What is an author brand? Take a moment to think of your favorite book. What springs to mind?

If you're anything like most readers, you'll think about not only the captivating characters, or the gripping plot, but also the author behind the magic.

Consider some of the bestselling and most-loved authors out there. Stephen King. JK Rowling. Dan Brown. No matter what they write, they are sure to have an eager army of fans ready to buy it.

Why? Simply put, these authors have cultivated solid author brands.

Today, I'm going to share with you the principles behind building your own author brand. While they may not make you the next JK Rowling, they will put you well on the road to turning readers into fans—which is very  powerful in today's crowded market.

Author Branding Basics

So what exactly is an author brand, and why should you take the time to build one?

The term 'brand' in a marketing context originates from the markings manufacturers applied to physical products to differentiate them from their 'competitors'. The term has since evolved to refer to the psychological impression a product or service has made on customers.

So how does this apply to authors? Think of any two authors, for example, Charles Dickens and JK Rowling. What are the thoughts, feelings, and impressions you have about these writers?

The sum total of these impressions can be thought of as the author brand each writer has cultivated.Author Brand 101 by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

By taking the time to build your author brand, you benefit in the following ways:

  • Sharing your authentic personality and motivation with your readers creates a sense of trust
  • Buyers of your books become fans of you as an artist
  • You differentiate your work from competing works that lack personality and brand

Now that you know what exactly an author brand is, and why it matters, let's explore the two keys to effective author branding—story and purpose.

Sharing Your Story

So how do you convey information about yourself as an author in the way which is most likely to interest your readers and turn them to fans?

In the words of Mish Slade -

“It’s your opportunity to connect with readers and make them feel like they know you and *want* to read your work. You just need to make sure the information you include is relevant and will be of genuine interest to them.”

As you can see from the above, it’s vital to know your readers in order to understand the details of your life that will resonate with them. Some other tips for effectively sharing your story with your readers include:

  • Matching the tone of the info you share with your work. For example, if you write humor, share funny stories.
  • Make it personal. Don’t be dry and only describe your work. Add an insight into your life so readers feel they know you.
  • Make sure the info fits with the image of yourself as an author you wish to project

By sharing your story, readers feel connected not only with your work, but with your personal life journey as an author.

Sharing Your Purpose

In addition to story, purpose is a key ingredient in branding yourself as an author and forming a connection with readers.

This is particularly relevant in the case of writers who have a pen name or where the author identity is less important than the purpose behind writing. Some tips for putting purpose to use are:

  • Having a clear objective behind your work. For example, Sci-Fi book authors brand themselves strongly within their niche genres, even without using a real name
  • Empathize with pain points. If you are writing to help people, stating your purpose as stemming from the same pain they have is a powerful motivation.

Author Brand 101 by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

  • Use the language of your audience. Your purpose will seem much more relatable if you use the same terms and tone of language as your readers expect.

Author Brand 101 by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

Having a strong, stated purpose behind your work increases its relatability, even when you write with a pen name.

Author Brand Basics Summary

We’ve now explored the purpose behind an author brand and looked at ways to strengthen your own.

In summary:

  • Your author brand helps turn readers to fans and creates a connection
  • Sharing your story strategically gives readers insight into your life
  • Stating a relatable purpose behind your work can create empathy and trust with your readers

What are your own experiences with your author brand? Which authors do you feel a particular connection with? Feel free to comment and let me know.


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