Author Branding vs. an Army of Writers

By Diane Holmes

I’m thinking a lot about author branding these days, you know, like a hobby for my brain. Frankly, there are a whole lotta people talking about it. Writer people.

It’s like an army of writer-zombies have developed a plague-like obsession with branding and platform and promotion. Symptoms are fever, chills, cranky attitude, reanimation, and jerky dance moves.

The typical zombie.

Most writers use branding, platform, and promo interchangeably. And they believe the answer is held hostage somewhere on the Internet, in the form of websites, blogs, and Twitter. Author Branding has become the go-to-term that says everything, the buzz word of publishing 2.0. If we could only swear with it, author branding would be seriously perfect.

Wait. I think we can.

Writer A (exasperated sigh): “We’ll, you’ve simply got to Titter your Platform if you want your Author-Brand to get out in the Blogosphere and ever hope to Link-In with your Marketing on Amazon!”

Writer B (royally pissed-off): “Fine, I’ll do it, but I’ll hate every minute of it.”

Writer C: “Pfft. Author-brand that!”

Writer B: “It’s all just an Author-branding Royale with Cheese.” <–Pulp Fiction reference.

Writer C:Brand.”

Writer A: “Fine, But you can’t swear like that on FaceBook or your Amazon Rank will go down.”

Felt good didn’t it? Okay, let’s talk about the real author branding.

You already have a brand. You probably have several.

Here’s my definition of your personal brand. A brand is how you put yourself “out there” to another human. It’s all the things people know, feel, think, and experience about you. In fact, when someone defends you to another person, they are defending your BRAND.

And just as different people have different experiences of/with you in various environments, you can have more than one brand.

People who know you at work, know your work brand. People who know you through dog rescue, know your dog-rescue brand. And people who know you through a column you write for Freelance-Zone…. You get the idea.

Here’s what I want to point out: you are actively shaping your brand in each instance. You’re doing it authentically and organically, and always with an awareness of (a) who you’re around and (b) what the rules are for the culture, as well as (c) with an “eye” on who you’d like to become and (d) how you’d like to be seen by others in the future.

Basically, you always know where you are and that there are consequences to how you act.  You show up accordingly, but with the unique spin of YOU.

Yeah, I hear ya. You want to argue that some people just act like jerks, don’t care who they are in the future, and don’t care about any rules. This is true. And it becomes their brand. But these people aren’t you.

You’re here because you write and want to be seen as a writer. You want readers. And you want your readers to love you.

Great. So how do you want them to see you, think of you, experience you, and feel about you?

Simply stated, we call it author branding when we think about all this in advance and make clever decisions designed to attract the type of readers who will “get” us and our writing.

Over the next few Marketing-Zone columns (every other week), I’m going to explore exactly how we authors can come up with a brand that…

  • focuses our conversation with readers,
  • enhances our career vision,
  • becomes the rally-cry for our dreams,
  • inspires us in the present, and
  • creates a map for us to follow into the future.

Who knew? Author branding might be something that doesn’t make you cranky.

Diane Holmes Crop 1Diane is Founder and Chief Alchemist of Pitch University.

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