Hi, Al Bargen here. If you write a brilliant book, loyal readers won’t automatically start pouring in. However, many authors think branding is something you can do later or that it’s something only the ‘larger companies’ need worry about.
There seems to be a misconception that you just need to keep talking about your book, your credentials, how good and helpful you are, etc. But that is not true. You don’t have to toot your own horn to get people to like you.
But before we get any further on the topic, let’s take a step back. The term branding originate from the ranch. Ranch owners branded their cattle, which allowed them to tell their own cattle from that of another ranch. Branding was what made their cattle unique. So in essence branding is about making yourself unique.
Your brand is indicated by, among other things, your own name. You see, when you’re an author, your name isn’t just your name. To your readers, your name stands for something, whether positive or negative. It evokes certain feelings and images. It is your reader’s perception of who you are.
Here’s a list of the benefits of actively branding yourself as an author:
- Branding makes you unique. This is the most important thing you get from branding. Your book is what builds your credibility. It is what opens doors for you. If you look at it at a microscopic level, there really is zero competition for you because your brand is, in essence, who you truly are as a person. Your brand is your reputation, resume and platform all rolled into one.
- Branding makes you trustworthy. When readers associate more and more positive feelings with you, the more easily they will do business with you. Having a good author brand means you show your readers who you are. They feel as if they know you. in contrast, when your readers don’t know who you are, it’s more likely they won’t associate any feelings, whether positive or negative, with you. Another thing you don’t want to happen is for people to know who you are and associate negative feelings with you.
- Branding allows you to take control. It allows you to take control of how people perceive you and proactively build, maintain and protect your reputation with the use of several tools, both on and off the Internet. Taking control doesn’t mean being someone you’re not. It’s about the facets of your personality, voice, interests, habits—everything about you that you want people to know. This is the information that should all fit in within that theme of your personal brand.
- Branding lets you become the source. With each outlet you use, whether it is the bookstore, the library or a social media website, you are given the opportunity to establish a base of loyal readers by sharing your time and expertise with them. With a good branding plan, you can quickly establish yourself as an industry expert and position yourself as an authority, making people come to you as a primary source of information because they trust you, or your brand.
- You can leverage a good brand. It allows you to build relationships. It allows you to meet the right people at the right time for the right opportunity. As long as you put yourself in the situations where those possibilities can arise, sooner or later, they will eventually come. Once you have established your author brand, you can use that brand as a gateway to more business opportunities. You can use your brand to write and publish other books, secure speaking engagements and build more businesses.
- Branding can help you learn from your readers. At its essence, branding is about building a relationship built on trust and confidence with your readers. As your readers learn from you and come to trust you, you can also get out of the relationship as much as you put into it. Once you build a following, you will have a built-in base of respondents who can tell you what they like as your readers. For example, if you’re thinking about writing your next book but you’re not sure about what to write about, you can readily ask your readers to tell you what they want to read from you next.
So now you have the basics as to why you need to proactively create your own author brand, stay tuned for the next post to assess where you are with your branding, and how to establish specific goals to create your unique author brand.
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