Friday, February 3, 2012

Discover Your Brand



Discovering Your Brand

Developing your brand can be broken up into three separate stages. 

If you write nonfiction, you probably are your brand. Nonfiction authors build their brand based on their platform and credentials. Margie Lawson has built her brand on Empowering Character Emotion through Deep Edits. Deb Dixon built hers on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Their credentials come from their success as fiction writers, but their nonfiction platform sells itself.

·         What is your mission?
·         Who will you serve?
·         What’s your vision for the future?
·         What are your key attributes?
·         What are your personality traits?
·         What are your strengths?
·         What motivates you?
·         What are your goals?
·         What is your definition of success?
·         What do you want to be remembered for?
·         What impact do you want to have on people?


Step 1: Your Story is Important.

Readers love to hear about you, your road to publishing, and what your life is like. It gives them an emotional connection with you. It allows them to see you are human just like them.

Knowing who you are, so that your media image matches the brand you create, is important. Are you sophisticated, like Brenda Novak, and does your image match that tagline? Or are you a country girl, like me, your stories and image blending together to create a complete picture? 

Step Two: Perception and Voice

Everyone knows the saying, “Perception is everything.” Take it to heart because it is the truth.


Unfortunately, people judge each other by first impressions. It’s just like a book cover. A reader will look at a front book cover for less than 8 seconds, flip it over and look at the back for about 15 seconds, read the first sentence—maybe—then decide if they are going to plunk down the money to buy it.


I promise you, side by side, authors’ names covered, if we put an ugly book cover next to a gorgeous one, you’ll pick the gorgeous cover every time. This principle applies to websites and blogs, as well.

Unfortunately, the same is true behind the scenes. Studies show that a less attractive, confident person attracts attention more than an less confident, pretty person. So always do your best to appear pulled together, act professional, and exude confidence. This includes your behavior, participation, and attitude on your website, blogs, social networks. It also applies when visiting other people’s websites and blogs.
Get a professional picture taken for your author photo. Choose pictures for your Facebook profile that blend with your writer persona. But most of all, radiate confidence! You’ll attract the attention you want and the readers you need.
People will always be looking at how you carry yourself at book signings, conferences, workshops, or wherever else you represent yourself as a writer. It’s important to your brand to always try to look your best and appear professional. Live up to people’s perception of you.
So what does it mean have a persona that blends with who you are as a writer? It comes down to thinking about how you do (or will) portray yourself to the public. Keep in mind your PR personality, you can take my quiz HERE if you don't know your PR personality.
To get you thinking about it, we’ve provided a list of characteristics for you to peruse. Which do you identify with? Pick as many as you feel are applicable to you.

Sophisticated
Country
Suburban
Urban
Sexy
Girl or Boy-Next-Door
Erotic
Matronly
Nurturing
Charming
Responsible
Liberated
Pop-culture
Political
Buttoned-Up
Wacky
Fun
Sassy
Smart
Flirtatious
Zany
Best Friend
Silly
Serious
Dark
Spooky
Mysterious
Studly
Intellectual
Professor-like
Bad Boy
Warrior


     Think about the characteristics you selected. Does your media image match or blend with any of them? Now whittle the list down to the two or three you feel you identify with MOST, and which also blend with your image or how you feel people perceive you. If necessary, think about how you can shift your media image to more closely match how you perceive yourself.

     Sherrilyn Kenyon writes historical under the name Kinley MacGregor, but when she does book signings as Sherrilyn Kenyon, she often dresses the part, living up to reader expectation of her brand, blending her paranormal voice with her look.


     Perception and voice go hand in hand. Voice comes from theme, tone (diction, imagery, syntax), and your perspective on life. It is unique unto you. No one has a voice like you.


     Knowing your voice helps you further define your brand.



Stage Three: Creating your Tagline

Having a tagline will help cement your brand image. Go back to that checklist of characteristics. Think about the image you want to portray to the world, the themes you gravitate toward with your reading selections and your own writing, and other elements of your voice.

Take these elements and blend them together, finessing them into a tagline that represents your writing.
A tagline helps the reader make a connection between the book and what emotions they’ll experience while reading it. Romantic suspense author Brenda Novak’s tagline reads “Sophisticated, evocative romantic suspense.”

Based on the tagline, you know what you’re going to get: a book about sophisticated characters experiencing a little bit of romantic excitement and a whole lot of suspense. When you look and talk to Brenda, you will find she’s a very sophisticated and well-spoken writer. Read her books, and you experience evocative sophistication. Brenda Novak’s tagline embodies her brand.

You’ve got your story, your image, your voice, and your tagline.
So what now? It’s time to put that brand out there for people to see.

Remember, a brand is a product in a market. Think about chocolate…okay, focus here! There are so many types of chocolate to choose from. You might like milk chocolate, but your friend might like dark chocolate. Not everyone has the same taste.

You want to reach the people who like what you write. Your tagline and the brand you create will help you find those readers. Represent your brand on your website, pre-published business cards, blog comments, social networks, interviews or anywhere you may be. It’s important for people to see your name over and over for them to remember you. Seeing a tagline will help readers connect with what you write.

Your brand is as strong as your voice. Embrace it and make the best impression you can the first time out of the gate!

Tell me! What is your brand??

Next week we will work on creating your tagline!

11 comments:

  1. I think my brand is magical fantasy fun. I'd say my romances are sweet, sensitive fantasies.

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  2. Great insight in branding here! Thanks for helping authors clarify what exactly is their brand both as a person and a product (their books). Knowing this information will make their marketing efforts much easier and more productive!

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  3. Every time you write a blog post like this, I think to myself "Argh! Why can't 'The Tricked Out Toolbox' come out sooner?"

    Great advice. I know "branding yourself" has been advised a million times before but this has been said in such a way where I finally understand it and yes, will apply it to my marketing. Perhaps "eclectic rock 'n roll writer"?

    Also, when's the book coming out (on Kindle, since I see the physical print is sold out)? Because when it does come out, I'm buying and reading it ASAP. Not to mention tell every writer I know about it.

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    1. I feel the same way. Can we preorder, lol? As always such great advice. I'm going to study this for the next few days and try to fine tune my two personas.

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  4. Julie, you have your nailed. That is great!!

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  5. I agree, Carrie. Branding can be so hard if it's not broken down. I hope that everyone walks away from this blog with a good sense of their brand.

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  6. Oh, Andrew! I LOVE that! I really does grab the attention of a reader. And it's fun too.

    The book is coming out soon. It's going to be in all formats, and there is a website too! It is a great book, I always refer back to it and I wrote the darn thing.

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  7. I have a company called Short on Time Books. They are fast-paced and fun novels for readers on the go. All Short on Time Books are complete stories that can be finished in one sitting. http://www.shortontimebooks.com

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  8. I'm still struggling to find my brand, Tonya.
    I think it has something to do with Possum Trot, though.

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  9. Oh, Jeff! You could compile a complete non-fiction book on your Possum Trot Facebook status'. They always make me smile. Try to put some catchy writer phrases together with Possum Trot...my mind is already reeling:))

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  10. Question: Is re-branding necessary as new books are released? Or is the goal to find and stick with one image/brand over the course of a career?

    For instance: I am currently on the cusp of completing a YA dystopian sci-fi, but I have no guarantees that the next novel won't flip back to the fantasy genre.

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