How to Bake Up an Author Brand

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017 in Blog, writerly advice | Comments Off on How to Bake Up an Author Brand

If you write and sell stories, you are a business person. You sell stories, but you also sell yourself. This is your author brand. It’s an identity that should be constructed with care.

If your social media presence ONLY consists of “Buy my book!” “Here’s a line from my book!” “Here’s my book link to Amazon!” you end up looking like a spam bot. This type of author is especially prevalent on Twitter. Do I want to be friends with a spam bot? No! Do I want to buy the product pitched by a spam bot? No way!

At the same time, though, we authors are business people. We need to sell books. We need to post those Amazon links. This is where author branding comes in. You must be more than your product. You must find a balance between posts about your book/story and yourself… and the book-selling element shouldn’t dominate.

Ask yourself:
What is my expertise?
Who am I as a person?
Am I a parent? A spouse?
A cat lover? A dog lover?
A hobbyist–a knitter, scrapbooker, woodworker? A foodie?
A resource within my fandom?
What do I want to project to the public?
What defines me?

Lemon Cornmeal ShortbreadIn my case, back in late 2011, I realized I wanted to post more regularly on my blog. I didn’t feel comfortable doing frequent “how to write” posts, so I wanted to figure out another way to build my online author identity. I’d had a good response to a series of recipe posts the year before, so I decided I would make them a regular feature. I chose Wednesday as my posting day and dubbed the feature “Bready or Not.”

Other personal elements I share online include my cat, Porom. The internet exists because of cat pictures, after all, so I must do my part. I sometimes discuss or share links on autism, as my big day job is being mom to an autistic son. I also do what I can to support my author friends by sharing links to posts or giveaways, or calling out books that I have read and loved. I make an effort to stay positive and avoid drama.

ToiletScorpionAs you build an online identity, you need to be aware that you are in control of how much you share. Some people share the minutia of the day; others manage well with a couple tweets or Facebook posts a week. However you construct your brand, do remember to post regularly. Keep your presence out there. Share animal pictures, craft projects, or recent book buys. Heck, I once shared a picture of a rather large scorpion that I found in my toilet bowl first thing in the morning–that gathered quite a reaction online!

As for me, I have maintained weekly Bready or Not posts for years now. My food blog has been mentioned in print publications like the Arizona Republic and RT Book Reviews Magazine. People associate me with cookies. I do my utmost to live up to my reputation by bringing baked goods to most of my events across the United States. I can be shy in person, but cookies help me to open up to people, and for them to open up to me.

I don’t even have to mention my latest book as I pass around a container of lemon cornmeal shortbread. My public persona is basically, “Hey, I bake delicious evil stuff. I love cats. I’m an unabashed geek. And oh yeah, I have published a few books, too. If you liked that cookie, the recipe is on my website!”

At heart, author brand is about the soft sell. It’s about presenting yourself as a public person–a public character–someone who is more than a book.

And in my case… someone who also traumatizes people with photos of scorpions in toilets.

Reposted from Novelocity.