Today on the blog we have Louisa Clarkson of Indicated to give the 101 on author branding, an important step in marketing your words. Without any further ado here is Louisa!
No doubt you’re familiar with brands, their advertising slogans and logos (unless you’re a troll living under a rock bridge). Like McDonalds for example, is highly recognizable with the golden arches, the red and yellow and their branding statement “I’m Lovin’ it”.
From a marketing perspective, the colors and branding statements helps customers recognize it and influence them to buy the products. Red means passion and love, it stands out, and is used to stimulate people to make quick decisions. Yellow is bright and sunny, grabs attention and evokes feelings of happiness and joy. “I’m Lovin’ it” implies you will enjoy the food.
Branding is a brilliant and important tool for authors too. Our writing style, book themes/genre, covers, our author website(s), branding statements, and even our personalities, all shape our brand. Let’s look at these things in more detail, and start building a brand that knocks Stephanie Meyer from her perch!
Your writing voice, writing style, tone and even choice of words, is what a reader bonds and fall in love. No one else writes the way you do. These component make your author style unique, and helps your readers recognizes your writing.
Two examples of very distinct writing styles are Doreen Virtue, author of Healing With the Angels, who has a very motivating and inspiring style and tone, which compliments her self-help and spiritual brand. While Eion Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl children’s series, has a very tongue in cheek voice that tickles a child’s funny bone.
Books Themes and Genre
The genre(s) and themes that you write about is what readers will associate with you, and what they’ll expect from you in future. For example, Stephen King is synonymous for horror, supernatural themes, and a few drama novels. Readers would never associate Stephen with comedy. That would be like McDonalds selling pizza!
For those of you published in multiple genres, or if you’re planning to write in more than one genre, it’s recommended to use pen names to separate the brands, unless your books have a common element such as magic or fantasy that filter through them. Start small with one genre and build a fanbase, like Stephen did, then expand into other genres.
A book cover, its artwork, font and colors should reflect the tone, style and genre of the book(s). For example, on Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series, every book features a Mockingjay, which is a distinct symbol for these books, and is even used for the film posters. Each book also uses the same square font for the book title and author name, and a different color to reflect the tone. Book 1 has a black cover representing a bleak society, hopelessness and oppression, typical of the dystopian genre. Book 2 is red which is symbolic of war and fighting back. Blue features on blue to show hope and freedom.
These elements need to be kept consistent when publishing a series to help the reader identify your books and brand. If you self publish, try to use the same cover designer to maintain the style.
The function of the author website is the same as the book covers. It should convey to any visitors the style and tone of your books, reflect aspects of your personality, hobbies or interests, and it can feature a logo to represent your brand. Here’s a cool website by paranormal romance author TF Walsh, which reflects the romantic and supernatural elements of her books, and her love of everything fantasy. The black gives a creepy and dark tone, while red highlights the romance and passion.
A branding statement defines who you are as an author, the types of books you publish, aspects of your personality, who your target audience is, and helps readers to find you. For example, mine is “crafting whimsical, inspiring fantasy adventures that keeps tweens reading for days.” I could have used John Grisham’s Number 1 Bestselling Author, but it’s boring (zzzzz) and doesn’t tell me anything about his books.
Personality and Perception
Part of an author’s job is to build a public image that reflects their personality and brand. Aussie author Morris Gleitzman has a cheeky, fun brand, which supports his humorous children’s books. This is what draws readers to him and keeps them loyal. But if he were to go and post rude or adult’s only jokes on his social media accounts, there’d be public outrage. Always remember who your target market is and who might be reading.
Branding is such a huge topic, and this is but a small, but important part of it.
I’d love to know what your branding efforts you’ve made. Do you have separate brands for your books? Have you created any distinct features on your covers or logos? C’mon. Share you branding statements, so I don’t feel like such a dork! If you don’t have fun, then make one up. Promise I won’t laugh.
About Louisa Clarkson:
Louisa Clarkson is the author of The Silver Strand, the first in the Mastermind Academy tween fantasy series for 9-12 year olds. Creative endeavors called, and she left her Environmental Engineering career to study a Masters in Creative Writing and pursue her writing dreams. In the months she spent researching how to promote her novel, she found bits of information here and there, but no complete author resource. As such Indicated was born. Indicated features book promotion guides and a comprehensive database of where to find book promotional opportunities like book review bloggers, free and paid advertising opportunities, guest posts, authors interviews and so much more.