RHYS: When I got my first contract to write mysteries I thought (naively, as it turns out) that I'd write a book, send it off to the publisher and that would be that. They would do all the promoting and I would collect the royalties.
Well, no. As I soon discovered, publishers may pull out all the stops for the really big names, but for most of us we have to work just as hard publicizing the book as we did writing it. And frankly how many of know where to start? So this post by Jen Fusco is particularly useful. How to let people know what they are getting when they see one of your books. How to build your brand.
So please, take it away, Jen.
What is brand?
By Jennifer Fusco
Over the years, I’ve talked about the importance of building an author brand, why it’s necessary and what the benefits are for having a brand. I’ve also learned that brand means different things in different genres. And, while that’s true, at its core brand is perception. Brand means the author’s identity. Collectively, it is how the author wants people to think, feel and talk about their work. It is how the author will be known and what he or she will be known for. Brand identifies the author in the mind of the reader and delivers on the promise it makes to the reader through their work.
Brand has existed long before authors assumed they need to create a brand for themselves. Brand pioneer Walter Landor (1935-1995), founder of Landor Associates, left his mark in the business world by helping to increase the recognition of some of the world’s top companies, including, Levi’s, Kellogg’s, and Bank of America. Landor is quoted as saying, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” (http://www.areaofdesign.com/inthespotlight/landor.htm)
Yet, you, the author have an advantage over industry. Brand must appeal to the emotions of the consumer, and an author’s most powerful tool to support their brand is the emotions they evoke from their readership.
Some authors choose to have a brand statement, that is to say they craft a 5-7 words statement which identifies and introduces their work to a potential reader. Others let their work and cover art speak for the brand itself. The choice is up to the individual author. However, if you are interested in crafting a brand statement, here are some tips to get your started:
Write down the answers to the following questions:
· What is it about your work that speaks to your passions?
· What makes you unique?
· How would you describe your voice?
· Look at your body of work. What are the common themes?
· Write two or three power words associated with your book. (Examples of power words are: Thrilling, Sexy, Steamy, Murder, Forbidden, Daring, Confessions, Stunning, No-risk, etc.)
· Answer the question, what is your book’s emotional hook?
Examine the answers. Circle the power words. Then, using the selected power words, compose a statement, in less than ten words, that describes you as well as your work while incorporating the answers to the questions above. It sounds like a chore. It is. But, give the exercise a try and see if you like the results.
Keep in mind, brand is more than just a statement. You can create a brand my blending your work and your persona. Our own Hank Phillipi Ryan says, “People want to know what they're getting. They don't want to have to guess. Having a good brand means you're reliable, dependable, and desirable. It means if they liked what they got the last time, they're going to get it again. That’s good.”
So, do you have a brand? If so, what is it? How did you create it? And what tips would you give to others for creating theirs?
RHYS: And Jen did not mention that she has written a definitive book for writers! Ask her questions.