At the end of July, I was lucky enough to attend the Romance Writers of America’s National Conference in New York City. I spent four days, without kids, soaking in as much as I could about writing and the publishing industry. I attended some interesting classes about the art of writing itself, but focused most of my time on marketing sessions. As a debut writer this year, I’ve been tossed in the deep end of marketing and most days I feel as though I’m drowning. This conference was the perfect opportunity to learn as much as I could about marketing my books. A common theme came up time and time again in these class. What is your author brand?
This question made me shiver. This simple question took me so long to figure out. Before I had a semi-firm grasp on it, I thought it meant what genre was I writing. Nope, that’s not it. Okay, maybe I needed to figure out how to create content exclusively related to the books I publish. Wrong again! It turns out, figuring out your author brand is about honing in on who is reading your books and how you can clearly convey to them what you represent. Your brand is how you want people to perceive you.
How To Establish An Author Brand
So how do you figure out your brand? I’m sure there are one hundred and one different ways, but I wanted to discuss three ways you can create an author brand readers will get behind.
Author’s are encouraged to create a strong social media presence. There’s Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, oh my! So many sites with so many platforms available to create a dialogue between authors and readers. This is a great place to make sure that your author brand is attracting people to the content you’re providing. What’s one way to get people excited to join your group or discussion? Get them involved in a conversation that’s centered around something they love!
The perfect example of this is a Facebook group of a writer friend of mine, Melonie Johnson. Melonie writes Contemporary Romance books filled with humor, heart, and steam for miles! She created a group on Facebook for her readers called The Reading Lushes. She keeps the posts light, fun, and entertaining as hell. And yes…there is plenty of discussion and posts about booze. When I asked Melonie how she came up with her unique branding for this group, she said, “I wanted something that was different from other authors and somehow uniquely me, but also general enough to be inclusive to all my readers and not centered on one book or series…and since indulging in cocktails while reading is a pastime people can easily get behind, the Reading Lushes was born.”
Brilliant! Her brand is fun, inviting, and brings people in for a casual chat. And I can tell you, whenever I see a martini glass and a book, my mind goes instantly to Melonie!
If you want to learn more about my fabulous friend, check out her site! https://meloniejohnson.com/
Another great way to create a memorable author brand is by honing in on the type of characters you want to write. Do you write sexy cowboys out west? How about kick-ass heroine’s fighting their way through the end of the world? If you’re anything like the fabulous Tricia Lynne, you love your romance with curves! Tricia writes heroines who defy expectations, and their curves are just along for the ride.
So what do you think her content consists of? Tricia’s author brand points toward body positive individuals and loving yourself. Her debut novel, Moonlight and Whiskey, boasts a bad ass chick who rocks the hell out of her curves and doesn’t tamper back her personality. Well, she learns this as she goes, but you have to read the book to get the full picture. Tricia’s created a space where her readers can not only cerebrate their individuality, but love themselves for it. When I scroll pass an article about loving your body or not shaming others, I instantly wonder if Tricia has seen it. Chances are, she’s the one who provided the content to begin with.
If you want to learn more about the awesome Tricia Lynne, stop over to her website! https://tricialynnewrites.com/
Okay, so you may be reading this thinking well I don’t write a certain kind of character and I don’t really have a hobby that people would relate to for my author brand. I feel your pain! I write Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance so my characters vary a lot! Not to mention my new desire to write a Psychological Thriller and a Romantic Comedy! Hobbies? What are those? I have two kids I’m trying to keep alive and a house to keep standing all while starting a new career where I work from home! Ack!
Before Bound by Danger was published, my publisher sent me a questionnaire. They wanted answers to help them with marketing my book and figure out my demographic. It had questions like what’s the last concert you attended and what movie are you dying to see in theaters? Hmm, let’s see…the last concert I went to was before I had my daughter over seven years ago (so let’s be honest, it was before I was even pregnant) and at the time the only movie I was excited to see was Wreck It Ralph Breaks the Internet. Yep, the questionnaire proved it…I am a very boring person.
I went into panic mode. How could I establish an author brand with these answers? Why would anyone want to connect with me beyond hopefully reading my book? Then I realized something, I am not the only working mother trying to juggle a job and kids. I’m not the only 30 something woman diving into a new career where she knows absolutely nothing. I’m not the only wife and mother who is trying to figure out how to put the needs and desires of herself above her family. I am my brand. If you look me up on social media, you’ll see content related to my struggle and my joys, my success and my failures. You’ll find pictures of my dog and the backs of my kids heads while we do fun things or make huge messes. My author brand is me in all my chaotic glory.
I’d love you to come and see what I’m up to if you have the time! https://www.facebook.com/authordaniellehaas/
Be True to You
No matter where you are on your writing journey, it’s never too late to figure out what your author brand is. Finding a way to bring readers to your sites is crucial in establishing relationships with your readers and making them buy into you–not your just your books, but you! How you want that conversation and engagement to go is totally up to you. But once you establish a solid author brand, you’ll have a way to reach out to your readers and keep bringing them back for more!