Understanding Your Author Brand

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jul 10 2019

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room

–Jeff Bezos=

You hear agents talk a lot about author brand and the importance of building a brand, but I don’t think we talk enough about what that is or what that means.

Finding Your Three Branding Words

If you were to walk into a room where people are discussing you what three words would they use to describe you? This, according to Liz Dennery Sanders of SheBrand, is the perfect way to find your brand.

Imagine you’re attending a publishing cocktail party and your publisher is selling your book to someone else. How would they describe you as an author? Are you dark? Sweet? Do you write poetically, or humorously?

Living Your Brand

Once you determine what three words describe you and your personal and/or author brand, it’s not enough to know. It’s something you need to live and foster. In everything you do you need to represent that brand.

At BookEnds, I determined long ago that we are accessible, advocates, and work with integrity (I couldn’t think of how to break that down into one word). With everything we do, I expect that I, and my agents, will live that brand.

Brand is Beyond Genre

When we think author brand we often think genre. If I’ve written historical romance I must always write historical romance. Not true. Your brand is you as the author and the style readers can expect no matter the genre.

If you write humorous or light historical romance you’ll likely write light contemporary romance or YA. That being said, maybe you want your brand to be historical, in whatever age group or genre you write. That too could be your brand.

Whatever you choose your brand to be (and you can and should decide yourself), a successful brand is one that is well-lived. I work hard, whether on the blog, social media, or in person to always be accessible, an advocate, and to work and live with integrity. I’m sure at times others have thought I’ve fallen short. I’m sure at times I’ve fallen short. Brands aren’t infallible, but knowing what yours is and working to achieve it helps you better build a strong business (as an author or otherwise).

5 responses to “Understanding Your Author Brand”

  1. You really have me thinking on this. This is a brilliant concept I hadn’t really considered. Is a brand a statement (like a personal mission statement?) or a tagline that is applicable to all of the books you write? Can you provide examples?

  2. Avatar BARBARA SENENMAN says:

    Thank you for this. Now I understand brand better. At an SCBWI conference, one agent said you can’t establish a brand if you write prose, rhyme, non-fiction, etc. You want someone to hear your name and know exactly what to expect from the book. But this post says, if you write humorously, for example, as long as it’s woven into whatever you write (might be difficult for some non-fiction), that could be your brand.

    Many of my writer friends would say, “But I like to try writing in different genres.” So I can tell them you can write in different genres, but there has to be a common thread in each. That thread is your writing style.

    I am a member (co-chair) of Long Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators (LICWI). May I read this posting to them at our next meeting?

  3. Avatar Martha Willey says:

    Way to take what can be a complex idea and make it manageable. Thank you.

  4. Avatar krystina kellingley says:

    Yay! Fantastic! At last I have an idea of what a brand is. Thank you!

  5. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    Another awesome book to read on branding is: Your Book, Your Brand by Dana Kaye (I bought it after Janet Reid recommended it).

    Branding isn’t easy. I’m really happy with the way my brand sits at the moment (my web page hopefully reflects it) but when I do get an agent I guess that will be something that might need refining with their expertise.