Tag Archives: Author Branding

Author Branding MYTHS

People often equate “branding” with “visual brand identity”, but it’s not the same thing. Branding is a much wider term.

Nowadays most authors are researching like crazy to discover the best methods to promote their books. But not every author can relate to why they need a brand, they have a blog and book cover, some social media accounts… done and branded right? Nope!

“My book is the product, and a good book sells itself through word of mouth marketing.”

Before I even get into the myths of author branding let me tell you what author branding is…

Author branding is the image you portray through your writing, your communication with your network and readers, the products you sell, and the visual identity that represents all of that.

Your brand should be seamless and spread across your entire online platform and throughout your business with letterhead, business cards, logo, etc.

There are many things to consider before developing your brand, but we can get into that on another post.

I know how confusing branding can be so my point for this post is to clarify what author branding “is not.”

Check It Out:

MYTH 1

I already have a great brand so I don’t need to do any work.

FACT

Your brand needs constant polishing to keep it shiny. The image you want to send to your readers is what you want to keep up all the time. If you’re the down-to-earth millionaire’s coach, then keep on doing things that will remind people that that is who you are. People are fickle-minded. All of a sudden, they might change their minds just because they can. If a new book enters your niche and catches their attention, you can lose your readers just because they want to try out something new. So keep updating your brand. Making little changes to your platforms look and advertising campaign to make sure that people can still see that you are around and you’re keeping true to their brand.

MYTH 2

I already know my brand. I don’t have to boast about it.

FACT

Brands exist in the mind of consumers. The definition of branding says that it is about your relationship with your readers. It’s not about what you think of yourself. Your brand is about what others think of you. You might think you’re a helpful, friendly author of parenting books, but if you don’t do anything to broadcast that image, people might think otherwise. If you want to establish a strong brand, you need to develop your confidence and go out there and act the way you want to be seen. Get the word out everywhere so you can consistently attract new people.

MYTH 3

I’ll focus on writing a great book instead, then the money will come flowing in.

FACT

There are one too many wonderful books out there that are not getting any downloads on Amazon because of one thing. The authors have failed to create and maintain a strong brand for themselves. At the same time, there are a number of bestselling books on the market that aren’t very good. The truth is that when you create an image of yourself in your readers’ heads, even if your book isn’t that remarkable to begin with, you have far better chances of making good sales.

MYTH 4

Branding is second place to everything else.

FACT

There are three steps in writing a bestseller. One, write first. Two, edit later. And three, market your book all the time, even when your book is not yet written and after your book has already been put out there and making sales. Branding goes right up there with marketing. Branding is the fuel that oils your sales machine. Without the constant interaction with potential customers that is branding, you won’t get any sales. It’s as simple as that.

MYTH 5

Branding is not important these days as it was years ago.

FACT

Branding may be even more important now that the role of the salesman has greatly diminished as people take it upon themselves to research the products they want to buy. So when people are looking for information, having a great brand gets you noticed. The better your branding, the easier it will be for people to follow you.

MYTH 6

Branding is deceptive.

FACT

Branding is about the experience people have with your book. When they feel happy, sad, scared, furious or deceived, that is what your brand is. You cannot deceive your customers because branding is not about what you say. You can say over and over again that you make your readers feel like they’re on top of the world, but if that is not what they feel, then that is not your brand. Your responsibility to your readers is simply to make sure that the message you want to put across resonates with their experience of your book.

MYTH 7

You don’t need branding if you have a unique selling point.

FACT

Your unique selling point wont be unique for long. when others see something that works, they copy it. The only way to stay at the top of the food chain is great branding.

MYTH 8

Branding is similar to sales and marketing.

FACT

Sales is different from marketing and marketing is different from branding.

Sales is a one-sided conversation. Marketing is about what you do to promote your brand.

Branding is about creating an experience for your readers. Without branding, you can’t put your marketing and sales into high gear because you have a half-baked story to tell.

It’s not as big, strong and impactful as the story you have when you have a great brand.

Update!

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Update!

I’m getting close to publishing my book and shooting for a tentative date of May 1st. The excitement is really building. I am in the middle of edits and creating video tutorials that will be included in the ebook and referenced in the paperback.

The book is fully illustrated to demonstrate design concepts and theory. I’ve worked hard to keep the information you’ll find straightforward and useful.

I have beta readers and a content editor going over it now which is just awesome!  I’ve gotten feedback on the first chapter and it was fantastic!

Huge thanks to

Peter Clark Nelson,

Julaina Kleist-Corwin,

and

Dawn Lewis!


Spoiler Alert!

This first chapter starts off where it counts, Author Branding. I explain the process and provide easy to follow exercises to assist the reader in defining their brand as a whole. Covering these basics will help the reader define what their brand looks like. It will help them create a theme and style guide they will follow across their author platforms with all their author graphics.


Back to Work!

There’s still ton’s of work to do and I’m doing my best to balance my book with my work as a designer. I’ll have new cover designs to share with you on Monday 🙂

My book will be free in ebook format on Amazon for the first three days after its launch!

Thanks for all of your support!

A Recent Author Full Brand Image Project & Book Launch

I had the awesome opportunity to do a full brand image project for an amazing new author Kathrin Hutson. I am reading Kat’s book “Daughter of the Drackan” now and having a hard time putting it down. It has just launched, so you can get your copy on Amazon now.

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Book One of Gyenona’s Children:  Born of humans but raised by beasts who despise the legacy of man, Keelin is the only one who can redeem, or destroy, the future of both races. Keelin is the only human fledgling, weaned by the drackans of the High Hills and given their instincts, ferocious strength, and fierce hatred for humankind. But even the drackans closest to her cannot explain why she has violent blackouts from which she wakens covered in blood. A desperate, reckless search for the source of this secret brings her face to face with the human world and memories from a locked-away past, long forgotten. Keelin becomes a terrifying legend among human assassins while she hunts for answers, and the human realm’s High King is murdered. While a sickly steward hides within crumbling walls, commanding her every move with a magic he should not possess, Keelin’s journey to track him down threatens her loyalty to the drackans who raised her. The rogue who crosses her path hides familiar secrets, echoing her own terrifying blood-lust and forcing her to consider that there may be something human about her after all.

Mother of the Drackan, Book Two of Gyenona’s Children, is set for release Spring 2016.

Get Your Copy Now On

Amazon

Kat is also a professional editor that I highly recommend


Below is the entire package I designed if you want to check it out 🙂

Book Cover Design

(Illustration done by Chandler Steele)


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DOD Final Paperback 001  Kindle

Amazon Ads

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Book Marketing Teasers

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Book Posters

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Google+ Banner

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Twitter Banner

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Discovering Your Brand

Discovering Your Brand

Creating an author platform is vital for a new author’s success, and creating a brand is the basis for the platform. You need to know what you are creating before you start!

Branding is simpler than it sounds. You have already done the hard part by branding yourself for your author bios creation. You discovered all of the aspects of you that make up your brand. Use these as a resource for content creation on your blog and across your social networks. Sharing things that are relative to the You brand will gain the interest of people who are attracted to that type of content and they will want to connect with you.

Now all that is left are the finishing touches to make your brand complete. It is important to complete the branding process because your entire platforms success rests on the power behind your brand.

Review of what you covered in the All About You portion of the last chapter:

1. What is your gender and your age?
2. How do others see you?
3. How do you want others to see you?
4. What do you read?
5. What do you write?
6. What attracts you to other people?
7. What attracts people to you?
8. What is your best feature?
9. What do you find most interesting?
10. What inspires you?
11. What do you care about and put effort into?
12. Who would you like to be in three years?
13. What are your dreams?
14. What is the book you have always wanted to write?
15. What is the book you are scared to write?

These questions will reveal what makes you unique; I’m sure you can come up with many of your own questions too. What’s important is that you have this very basic list to begin with. The answers to these questions should give you a sense of direction when it comes to creating content for your blog, writing your books, and marketing yourself. Now make a new list of themes you see developing from your list, there are a few ideas for your first blog posts. You are a writer, an individual with a precious and continually growing gift that can now be shared with the world in confidence.

It’s time to make another list. Be sure to maintain a positive outlook and mention what matters:

1. Who are you, what descriptions best suit your personality?
2. What’s your best feature, what’s the first thing people notice about you?
3. What makes you likable, even lovable?
4. What do you think is fun?
5. What makes you different or what makes you the same as others?
6. What do people remember about you, what stands out?
7. What do you write about?
8. What do you want to write about?
9. What is your product?
10. What are your interests?
11. How do you view the world or the world you create?
12. What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations?
13. Who are you influenced by, you may be similar to them?
14. Where have you been and where are you going?
15. Do you have any awards or have you won or entered any competitions?
16. Are there any media mentions of you?
17. Do you have recommendations from notable people?
18. Do you have any special achievements that relate to your brand?
19. Do you volunteer?
20. Do you have a special hobby?
21. Do you belong to any special groups?
22. Do you belong to any organizations or associations?
23. What are some exciting things that have happened to you?
24. Were you inspired by a famous relative?

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Also, reveal some details about your writing by answering the following questions:

  1. How do you want to be known?

Try to imagine how you would like to be known by the public, what image are you wanting to portray to your fans. You don’t want to be someone you’re not, but some aspects of yourself aren’t meant to be shared. It’s important that no matter what image you wish to portray, that you stay true to yourself and that you maintain an air of professionalism.

  1. What words do you want people to associate with you?

Do a short brainstorming session and write down words that are associated with the way you would like to be known by the public. This is a fun exercise where you may come up with some new ideas that are related to your brand. Admit it, you love descriptive words, round up a bunch that relate to your desired author image and write them down. Try things like – vivacious, sassy, inspiring, hungry, boisterous, – these are great words that you can use when creating graphics for your platform and marketing purposes. These are also words to remember in order to brand your writing, words that describe who you are and flavor your writing style. These words will become, if they are not already, part of your voice when writing.

  1. What are your goals for the next 3 years?

It’s always a good idea to have a plan of action. Just like a start-up, your business of writing is going places, where would you like it to go? This is something you can map out. You could start by writing out your goal at three years, then split that into three and write down a goal for year one and year two. Next you could break these years into quarters, like seasons, imagine obtainable goals on your way to your yearly goals which will get you to your final goal. You could dissect this further, break those seasons into months and imagine even smaller, more obtainable goals month to month that will get you to your seasonal goals. Now you have a plan of action, a direction to focus your efforts. This is where you should dream big, don’t be afraid to write down a three year goal that is desirable even if it appears to be unobtainable today in your real world. Maybe you’d like to be on a television program as a guest in three years, it may seem impossible, but it’s a reachable goal just like any other. Dream big and take the small steps to get you there. What you believe can be.

You may not be the type of person that would dream in that direction, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Write down some other desire as a writing goal and map your way to that one. The point is you will have a roadmap to get you there when you are done, and that sometimes can make all the difference in the world when it comes to personal success.

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  1. What words are associated with that?

Another fun activity! Get out a fresh piece of blank paper and write down all the words that are associated with your three year goal and the smaller goals you’ve outlined that will get will get you to that ultimate goal. When you’re done you should have some key action words that will help you hone your brand and steer it toward your goal. These word will help to keep you focused and can drive the content of your writing in the direction you are aiming for. Try words like – speaking engagements, influencer, book signing, television appearances, podcasting, interviewing, volunteering, – you are the creator of your own reality and these words will help you to shape your reality over the next three years.

  1. Will your books be in a particular genre?

The genre of a book is defined by its broad subject, its language, the age level of its readers, whether it is fiction or non-fiction and/or its subject.

Some examples of genres are:  romance, historical romance, erotica, spiritual, transformational, western, thriller, fantasy, horror, adventure, mystery, science fiction, dark fiction, guides, textbooks, biographies, autobiographies, children’s, young adult, memoirs, poetry, chapter, and scholarly books.

To determine your ideal readers, do an internet search on your genre along with the words “readers” and “demographics”.

  • Who is your reader?
  • How old are they?
  • Man or woman?
  • Children or none?
  • Grandchildren?
  • Occupation?
  • Activities?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their ethnicity?

Examine all of the traits of your target reader and note any trends. These trends describe your ideal reader. These trends are part of your brand and will help you when creating content for your blog and in your marketing endeavors.

  1. What is the premise of your book?

One effective trick for defining your premise is to write a one-sentence logline that will become the foundation of your story. The Logline is a tool used primarily by screenwriters, but it can be very helpful if you’re writing a novel or a short story.

  1. What are the themes in your book?

Themes are central ideas in a piece of writing. Anything that relates to the theme or plot of your books is included in your brand. Your themes in your book can drive your content. Themes can branch out to include many topics and will attract the kind of people who would be interested in your book. The content you create can be related to a topic or theme that’s even loosely woven throughout your book.

  1. What types of characters are in your book

The characters in your book have traits and can be branded just like you branded yourself in the previous chapter. This would be considered a branching off point had you mapped your brand in the tree fashion. You can use all of this information about your characters to come up with relative content for your blog and to attract readers that would find your characters interesting or that they can relate to. This is also a great way to figure out what groups or types of people you should be connecting with after your platform is set-up.

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  1. What images do you want associated with your brand?

It’s time to start thinking of your look. Do you want to appear playful, concise, creative, or colorful? Start imagining images that you will use to include in your blog posts, what type will they be? Will you use info-graphics, cartoons, text, abstract, dark, bright, purchased images that reflect aspects of your brand? What trends will your images follow? The imagery you use plays a major role in defining who you are and what you have to offer to your audience.

The three major images that will speak the loudest to the public are your website banner, your head-shot, and your book cover. These three images give a visual testament to what you have to offer with your platform, they are the face of your brand and a major selling point. The other most important imagery is the imagery you will use in your social networking shares, such as book teasers and quotes. This imagery all reflects upon who you are and what your readers can find in your work.

All of the things that you have associated to be a part of your brand should be taken into consideration when developing your imagery. Your imagery can be as powerful as the words you have to share and they speak volumes. I highly recommend that you hire a professional designer to work with you as you create content for your platform, set up your website and blog, and create the covers for your books.

If you insist on doing this on your own then it will seriously benefit you to buy a subscription to Adobe Photoshop through the Adobe website. Photoshop is relatively inexpensive and can handle all of the demands a designer requires. You can find plenty of video tutorials on the adobe website that will teach you how to use the program and there are endless amounts of tutorials on the web as well. I will go further into creating your own imagery, finding free imagery, or purchasing your imagery in a future chapter.

For now it is important to start thinking about the imagery you will use as a design package that will represent you. The pictures you use are your visual voice.

Combining all of this information into a chart will give you a visual reference to the substance of your brand. Post it where you write and use it for inspiration when developing content. Your brand is as unique as your voice. By researching what has been outlined regarding you and your brand you have created your platform brand and now should have plenty of resources for what to blog about or share on your social networks. Congratulations, you have created your brand!

Author Tip: How to Brand Yourself

How to Brand Yourself

by Michelle Rene Goodhew

Your author platform will be based on your brand and your brand stems from who you are, how you present yourself and how you are perceived.

Your platform begins with you and you ultimately define your brand. Your brand must start with you and stay true to you.  Your brand is you, heart and soul.

Some people find this part of branding the most difficult. Figuring out how to see yourself as a brand can seem hard to grasp at first but is actually really easy.

You are a fascinating person with all kinds of interesting aspects of yourself that are unique and can be added into your author brand.

What you look like, what you wear, how you pose for pictures, these all can be inviting portions of your brand. Are you fun, are you approachable, and are your interests interesting. What you read makes up part of what inspires you to write, so that is also a portion of who you are and should be included in your brand. This doesn’t mean you should list the books and articles you’ve read, it means the themes and content of those things is a major interest to you and a major influence to your writing.

What are you always searching for on the internet, what are your questions or concerns about being an author, what do you have a passion for, what are you wanting most out of your career as an author and what do you believe you have to offer.

Your Voice:

Your personality shines through your writing. Who you are in your writing will be how you connect emotionally to the public. Be authentic, allow yourself to grow as a writer and project your personality through your writing. Your voice will capture your public and bring them back for more of who you are when you write.

Your Look:

How you portray yourself through your graphics and especially through your head-shot speaks volumes to your growing network. How do you want to be seen, be sure that whatever fashion you choose to be perceived is done through a professional manner. How you look reflects on what you have to offer. It is worth the extra bills to have a professional head-shot done that reflects how you would like to be perceived and possibly gives a clue to your unique voice. When it comes to graphics a picture tells a thousand words and a professional graphics artist usually speaks that language best, hire one.

What You Read:

What you soak up as a reader is absorbed and morphs into a part of what makes you, you. It influences the way you write and what you write about and those concepts and themes become a major portion of your brand.

Your Ideology:

Your beliefs and ideals will come through in your writing, people will recognize these core values and many may be drawn by them, or even put off by them. Beliefs can inspire or repulse. Choose what you wish to share wisely as it will have an impact on your audience.

Your Personal Passion:

Your passion for what you write will speak volumes. Your dreams, desire, and faith in what you share will be heard loud and clear. Speak from your heart with authenticity and your words will move people. In general, people are attracted to what has the ability to move them emotionally in a positive manner.

Your Content:

Your content is your catch; this is how you bait your readers into following your blog and investing in your writing. The content you choose to write about should be relative to who you are and what you are selling.

Your Communication:

How you communicate with others throughout your network is a trait that will attract and keep dedicated followers who will cross promote you. What you say and how you say it creates a personal relationship between you and the people in your network. This is the public’s opportunity to see how you interact with people and they are given the chance to become emotionally invested in you and your brand. What you have to say matters and will reflect on what you have to sell.

Make a list of all of these aspects and you have the portion of your brand that is you. It will be an impressive list when it comes to dreaming up new content for your blog. You are your best resource for ideas and you will find that who you are will be your most successful marketing aspect.

How to Brand YourselfAnother way to map out the brand of You is to make a tree, where you are the trunk and all of these aspects are branches reaching ever outward and defining who you are. Branding yourself is a journey of self-discovery, an enlightening adventure. This journey should not be something to dread, the discovery of who you are fills a deep need for belonging in this world and is one of the most gratifying projects in this book. Who you are will always continue to grow and evolve beyond who you are now. You have everything to look forward to in that this project of You, this portion of your brand, is one great adventure unfolding.

Where to start?

I am a list person, if this project is daunting to you then let’s take it step by step. Get out your notebook and let’s make a list of all of these things that define the You brand first.

  1. what is your gender and your age
  2. how do others see you
  3. how do you want others to see you
  4. what do you read
  5. what do you write
  6. what attracts you to other people
  7. what attracts people to you
  8. what is your best feature
  9. what do you find most interesting
  10. what inspires you
  11. what do you care about and put effort into
  12. who would you like to be in three years
  13. what are your dreams
  14. what is the book you have always wanted to write
  15. what is the book you are scared to write

These questions will reveal what makes you unique; I’m sure you can come up with many of your own questions too. What’s important is that you have this very basic list to begin with. The answers to these questions should give you a sense of direction when it comes to creating content for your blog, writing your books, and marketing yourself. This is the You brand.

Now make a new list of themes you see developing from your list, there are a few ideas for your first blog posts. You are a writer, an individual with a precious and continually growing gift that can now be shared with the world in confidence.


For Cover Design, Illustration, & Marketing Graphics, Contact Michelle Rene

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