Brand is both a noun and a verb. The verb suggests you do something to be branded.
Once you publish a book, a writer is automatically branded, but branding is a fluid, ongoing process.
The techniques of primal branding that we’ve been discussing for the last few weeks offer a method to develop your author brand along with ways to stand out in a flooded market of book choices.
Primal branding uses what writers are best at—storytelling with certain added visual components. With branding, an author presents to the buyer, aka reader, what they can expect when they purchase your book.
Trouble is, writers equate branding with marketing and balk. Writers (me included) would rather be writing than spend time on marketing!
Unfortunately, marketing is a necessary task. But selling your book shouldn’t be about flooding the Twitter feed with book promo tweets.
When people believe in you through your author brand, they become part of a fan group that surrounds your book. They are willing to advocate their belief in you to others.
Think about the last time you moved. How did you find out about the best grocery store? The best church? The best doctor or dentist? The auto mechanic who wouldn’t rip you off?
Most likely, from someone willing to advocate for their preference.
In other words, they delivered the form of marketing that traditional wisdom tells you money can’t buy.
Word of mouth.
Author branding offers a means to provide resonance and meaning for what we believe in and what we write about. A way to develop a fan base willing to sell our book, which is our product.
The question to ask yourself is whether you want to be just another book on the shelf, or do you want to become a desired and popular product?
If your answer is the latter, then author branding is for you.
In Author Branding Part One, we discussed of how to cultivate your author brand using principles found in Primal Branding.
Readers have zillions of books to choose from these days. Author branding is important if you want readers to choose your books.
Primal Branding defines a code of seven elements needed to launch new products and services that people believe in – and it helps re-engineer existing products.
In Author Branding Part Two, we’ll discuss the final three codes Hanlon describes: rituals, anti-believers, and leader then identify ways to use with author brand development.
According to Hanlon, rituals involve a repeated experience associated with the brand, whether it’s positive or negative. The kind of engagements build up a certain expectation about your brand and future experiences they can expect to have.
Rituals are important to an author’s brand because they provide interaction and a bond of togetherness between author and reader.
Sharing experiences and events through blogs, FB, Twitter, and other social media is the means for developing author rituals.
With all social media, reader expectation is important. Regular posting is important. Posting often is important too.
Do you share pictures of your writing desk, your pet, or other life events for your readers? These are part of your story. (Remember Hanlon’s first component-STORY? If you don’t, check here.)
Posting excerpts from your WIP, celebrating a new release or revealing a cover makes readers a part of your writing process. How about sharing great reviews or fan comments?
Each of these, while we might not think of as rituals, add to your brand and offer a marketing tool for your books.
Step FIVE to develop your author brand: Share life events with your readers through social media.
According to Hanlon, for every belief system there is a group of anti-believers (ie Mac users vs PC; Republicans vs Democrats). Anti-believers identify who and what the brand is or is not. Anti-believers are folks who don’t agree with us.
But without anti-believers, our standard is undefinable. We want to stand for something and our brand to mean something.
Anti-believers can also give you a good idea of the direction you want to take your brand or which directions to avoid.
Readers have preferences. Romance genre vs literary mainstream, e-reader vs hard cover vs paperback. Our author brand should reflect those preferences we want to attract and entice the “anti-believers,” the ones who aren’t buying our work.
Personally, I’ve discovered that my blog commenters more likely to share a contrary opinion than simply agreeing. Opposition can be a powerful connecting factor.
Step SIX in developing your author brand: Don’t limit yourself to only those who agree with you, but do make very sure your likes and dislikes are clear.
According to Hanlon, there needs to be a brand leader. Someone who sets out against all odds to recreate something from their vision.
Think Bill Gates, Steven Jobs. For your writing, it’s you.
You have the power to shape your brand the same as you create your plot and characters, your theme and opening lines.
Step SEVEN in developing your author brand: Your brand is like your writer’s voice. Voice develops the more your write. Your brand develops as you learn to tell your story.
Next Monday, conclusions on author branding with Primal Branding code.
YOUR TURN: Do you use Hanlon’s seven components in defining your author brand?