Author’s Corner: Branding for an Indie Author

Branding for an Indie Author

Many authors mistakenly assume building a personal brand comes naturally, or that it’s simply unnecessary (my fans will know me through my work). I have to admit those thoughts went through my own mind when I started this journey.

It was very much like believing “Build it and they will come.”

Sadly, with my marketing background, I should’ve known better those assumptions were false. For people to follow you and your work, they need to know some very important information – who you are, what you write, and what you stand for.

Author R.L. Herron

Author R.L. Herron

Branding certainly accomplishes this, but branding requires a good deal of effort.

I can almost hear you say “But I’m an author, not a commodity. Why should I have to do it?”

Many years working in public relations and marketing taught me an important truth: an effective brand image gives you an edge in successfully selling your product … and as a writer, you and your books are both a commodity.

As an indie author I can also tell you, building your brand is entirely on your own shoulders, ’cause ain’t nobody gonna do it but you.

Your Brand is Your Promise

What exactly does “branding” mean? We all have a personal brand, whether we know it or not. In one way or another, an author is always being judged and evaluated.

To be effective, particularly as an indie, you need to control the face you show the world.

Your brand tells people what they can expect from your work. Nevertheless, your brand stems from not only who you are and what you write, but also how you’re perceived, and it should also be how you want to be known.

In a marketing sense, branding is actually the process of selling yourself.

However, it’s by the conscientious building of your brand that you make it easier for your book to attract a “tribe” of readers that identify with it. In addition, that’s the important thing: building that loyal tribe of followers.

The first step in building your brand is taking the time to define and articulate (at least to yourself) how you’re alike … and why you’re different from other authors. Believe me; it’s damned hard to do. It requires self-analysis and introspection.

You start by doing some research. Check out the sites of authors, bloggers, designers and other creative types. What attracts you? What turns you off? Then start brainstorming, focusing on your strengths, passions, and goals.

What do you like to write? What ideas and feelings do you want people to associate with you? What mood or immediate impression do you want to evoke? Stephen King is known primarily for one genre of writing, as are J.K. Rowling, and John Grisham.

You can probably articulate in very few words how all these (and other) successful authors are identified.

That’s a brand.

About R.L. Herron

R.L. Herron, the author of multiple works of fiction, including several Readers' Favorite medal winners, lives and writes in Michigan with his lovely wife, and a finally-paid mortgage. His books are all available on Amazon and online with Barnes & Noble. Visit Author R.L. Herron's Website, Broken Glass.

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