I think one of the hardest things for a lot of authors to accept is that they have a brand.
I used to feel the same way.
After all, I see myself as a creative soul, not a product to be packaged and profited from.
However, whether we like it or not, we all have a brand.
I think the word ‘brand’ is itself part of the problem. It originates from the time when producers would physically brand commodities to differentiate from their competition.
In this day and age, the word ‘brand’ doesn’t fully explain what the concept represents. It is more like the psychological perception people have of you.
Given that it is human nature for people to form impressions of you, why not try and influence their impression to work in your favor?
I feel even the shyest and most marketing-shy authors can benefit from the following three simple ideas.
Let’s get to it!
There are endless books out there these days.
In the old days, if you visited a bookshop, you had some assurance of quality control. The books on offer had been chosen by a publisher, edited, and selected by the bookstore.
These days, none of those assurances are in place. Accordingly, it’s essential to work on your author bio so readers can trust the person behind the words.
How can you make your author bio work in your favor?
- Brevity. No-one cares about reading tedious details from your entire life. In the words of a scholar, “ain’t nobody got time for that”. Keep it punchy and to the point. This gives you far better odds of readers actually finishing your bio!
- Personality. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! And think outside the box. Authors love coffee. I get it. Try and be a little more original than that.
- Suitability. Your bio should feel like a good fit for your work. If you write romance, it shouldn’t be overly serious and scholarly. If you write horror, it shouldn’t be too bright and breezy. Make it honest, but also a good fit for your work.
People choose books based on their author behind them as well as their content. Your bio is a great opportunity to show the world who you are.
Social media seems to be almost an inescapable part of modern life.
Smartphones come with apps preinstalled. Many sites require a Facebook login to get access.
You don’t have to become the next Kardashian sister (Lord forbid!), but social media is a great opportunity to get your name out there to the right readers.
What are some tips to use social media effectively for your author brand?
- Use it efficiently. It can be tempting to spend all day logged into Facebook, getting distracted by each and every like, comment, and update. Avoid this! Instead, use an app such as Hootsuite to batch schedule your social media content, and strictly limit the time you allow yourself to spend on social media sites.
- Learn from authors you admire. For example, let’s say you write in the horror genre. Check out the social media platforms of three different horror authors you admire. What type of content do they publish? What seems to get the most engagement? How frequently do they post? There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from those who have taken the time to figure it out.
- Master one platform at a time. Avoid being a jack of all social media trades! Instead of running around like a headless chicken, spending time on one platform or another, delve deep and master one. Learn Facebook or Twitter inside out, for example, before moving on to Pinterest.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. While that may not quite be the case with authors, the general principle still stands.
In the era of rapid internet and smart devices, visual content has been shown to grab people’s attention more effectively than words alone. The popularity of Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube prove this to be the case.
So what are some general principles and practices behind visual branding for authors?
- Pick a color scheme and stick to it. Imagine if you went into a store and the color choices looked like an explosion in a paint factory! Perhaps the logo was one color, the shopping bags another, and each member of staff was wearing a different colored uniform! It’s kind of the same for authors. Your logo, website, social media content etc should feel similar in terms of color. This reinforces your brand and shows you have a consistent approach to visuals.
- It’s easy to create simple graphics. Tools such as Canva, and the wealth of useful knowledge they provide, are fantastic ways for any author to get started building their visual brand.
- Choose appropriate photographs. If you are a romance author, for example, you should probably avoid any image where you come across as unfriendly or unhappy.
You don’t need to have a degree in neuroaesthetics to effectively use visuals as part of your author brand. Just keep it simple, consistent, and above all, appropriate.
Author Branding – Final Thoughts
Thanks for checking out my starter tips on author branding for shy authors.
I’d love to know your thoughts. What is your favorite thing to read about in an author bio? What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to social media? What is the best visual author brand you have ever seen?
Hit me up in the comments and let’s chat!