The Gleam in Your Author Brand

by Diane Holmes, Marketing Yourself and Your Book

Imagine that a reader sees your new book at the bookstore.  Instantly, there’s a gleam in her eye. 

She’ll reach for your latest book, but in the fraction of a second before she can reach out, extend her arm, press her fingers against the cover, there is just the gleam.  That gleam is your brand.

I love to read

(If you don’t write books, just substitute your type of writing.)

The beauty of thinking about your brand in this way is that it’s obvious that your brand is not one book.  Instead, it’s about a recognition in the reader’s mind, an excitement and delight and opinion about you as an author.

It may be based solely on the previous books you’ve written.  Or it may also include information collected about other “aspects of you.” But whatever the specific details, it has created what Kathryn Lorenzen, Creativity Coach, calls a “Hell, yes!” in the reader’s mind. 

Before the reader can process the thought, “Hey, I’d like to find out more about that book,” her brain made the leap to, “Hell, yes, want that, awesome.”  Or some set of concepts that equaled an immediate gleam in her eye and movement of her hand toward the book.

That’s what you want, right?  Readers whose immediate response is,”I”m so lucky!” because they’ve seen that your next book is out

Brand Building Technique #1:Your Book’s Delight Factor

Step #1:  You are standing in front of the latest book by your favorite author.  There’s a gleam in your eye.  Why?

Run through this exercise for several authors you love.  Get a feel for how you respond to different aspects and different authors with excitement.  Try fiction and non-fiction authors. You get that “Hell, yes,” but for very different reasons.

Step #2: Your reader is standing in front of your book, gleam in her eye, hand extended.  STOP.  Freeze that moment.

A) What is inside your book that has triggered that gleam?  What are the reader’s expectations that have contributed to the gleam? Just make your best guesses and make a list.

B) Compare that list to what captured your imagination about the project and what kept you excited as you wrote the book.  There should be some differences.  The point of doing this step is to make sure you’re not just capturing what appeals to you.

C) Do this exercise for the book you’re currently writing, your previously published books, and any unpublished books you hope will be part of your career.

If you write widely, you’ll want to do a separate round for each project.  But if your books are similar in topic, tone, and sensibility, you can probably capture the Delight Factor by grouping them.

Did you find the gleam?  We’ll build on this exercise next tine. Remember, Brand can be way more than your book, more than all your books combined.

But this is a great starting place.  So start.  Even if an author brand seems a foreign and dubious topic, you have to admit you want that gleam   You know you do.

This is the third in a series on Author Branding.  Previous articles include:
#1 Author Branding vs. an Army of Writers
#2 The Author’s Branding Manifesto


Diane Holmes Crop 1Diane writes two columns for Freelance-Zone: Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone: Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.

She’s the Founder and Chief Alchemist of Pitch University – “Learn to pitch your book from the AGENTS and EDITORS who make their living at it.  Learn.  Pitch.  Sell.”