If you want to stand out as an author you need to look to author branding and how it can help you.
First off, what makes you unique as an author or even as a writer?
Look at my own website, My Freedom Flame, and what do you see?
You see a lot of brown and orange.
Take a look at my covers for my first two books in the Lord of Columbia Series below, and what do you see?
Yep, more brown and orange.
I’m also a huge Cleveland Browns fan, so the brown and orange color scheme came naturally.
If you read my books, you’ll find my protagonist coalitions are decked out in brown and orange.
Again, you have the scheme related directly to my own brand.
Sure, I’m sharing colors with one of the most valuable franchises in sports (hey, the Browns are 5-7-1 as I write this, which is a good year for us).
Either way, from an author standpoint, in time, readers, or my reader tribe for better use of terms will associate the orange and brown scheme with my work.
Below are a few keys to success in building your author brand.
When you read these think of established brands you are constantly exposed to. For instance, what do the following words spark in your mind?
Pop? (Soda, colas, soft drinks) …sorry, I’m from Ohio!
Burger and fries?
If you thought Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Subway, Jimmy Johns, Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy’s, J.C. Pennies, Macy’s, and Amazon, it’s exactly what I wanted you to think. For my international readers, you guys probably thought of the largest chains in your respective countries.
As I mentioned earlier, adopt a color scheme and stick with it. If you wish to change it, make sure you provide awareness to doing so before you change. Say if I were to adopt a new scheme, which is unlikely, and I liked the colors of old gold, steel gray, red, and black (my Vegas Golden Knights!), I’d promote it like none other months before the scheme change.
Think of colors that are important to you when choosing a scheme. You can use more than two; I used two because when friends and family often see me I’m wearing something orange and brown. I talk about the Browns, I was known in school for being a Browns fan, so it was something I knew people around me would associate such a color scheme with.
You can use your own name and many authors do, but in my case, Todd Matthews happens to be a boring, everyday name.
I did my research and there are two other authors named Todd Matthews.
You can use a pen name, and I thought of it but I do like my own name, but what else am I associated with?
I’m a hardcore Libertarian in the Ron Paul mold and I’m not shy about it. In fact, I’m a fire starter on my personal Facebook page, so again, those around me realize this.
I’m also not shy about my pro-liberty views in my Lord of Columbia Series. In fact, the recent uprising in France against Macron mirrors the early plot of Northern Knights.
So, My Freedom Flame was born, derived of a pro-freedom coalition in Northern Knights. Freedom Flame itself has been used before, so I added My in front of it, giving my brand name My Freedom Flame.
What Does the Brand Represent?
What does my author brand represent?
Definitely a pro-liberty message in every single one of my books and that’s blatant.
Liberty, whether my books are fiction or non-fiction, is something that my readers will come to expect in my books.
Many have asked why I didn’t choose a more Libertarian-friendly color scheme, which is black and yellow.
Yeah…it might have made more sense, but that wasn’t happening for obvious reasons. Heck no!
The brand needs to represent something, something you stand for.
Think about this:
George R.R. Martin?
When I mention these authors, if you know who they are you’ll automatically get a picture in your mind.
Orwell and Bradbury? Dystopia.
Lewis? Fantasy with Christian allegories.
Rowling? What do you think?
R.R. Martin? Again, what do you think?
Roberts? Anything related to female readers.
That’s a brand.
One day, when people think Todd Matthews the author, it’s going to be related to uprisings for freedom, with a strong liberty message.
What will readers associate your brand with?
That’s what your brand represents.
You might have a tagline with your brand.
Mine is currently motivating writers worldwide, which is kind of dated and needs changed.
If you’re thinking “what the hell does this have to do with liberty?” I can’t blame you.
But, I’m already working on conceiving a new tag that better fits the pro-liberty message.
Remember though, this is a brand that really does motivate writers worldwide, but how can it be associated with liberty?
Helping Writers Fire Their Boss? That has something to do with liberty.
Helping Writers Pursue Their Dreams? Also, liberty.
But don’t they sound redundant as hell?
Notice my voice, where I tend to use an edgy kind of style, especially over my last few posts.
Well, that’s likely going to be formulated into my new tagline.
Yes, voice is important.
Again, when I write, readers will expect edginess.
What kind of voice do you have?
Perhaps if your target market is complex, you might use sophisticated words over common ones.
When readers read your work, they will want to read your voice.
Many authors fail to realize how much value voice is to a brand.
For instance, there is a lot of swearing in my series. Nothing crazy, but the swear words might be used as adjectives to an extent.
My voice is also one of no-nonsense that tells readers and other aspiring authors the way something is without sugarcoating.
Hey, sorry, but if I blew smoke up your ass every time you read my post they’d have to call the local fire department in to put out a fire your laptop just caused.
Ah, see that.
Now that’s voice.
Think of the examples of voices I laid out above and look at how many ways that sentence could be restructured to fit someone else’s voice.
And that’s a diverse number of voices.
Okay, so that’s your critical thinking lesson for the day.
Think of how to brand yourself, because the second you build a brand, you’re going to separate yourself from about a million authors who have neglected this complex little project.
Pick your colors, get a logo if you’d like, and think of your representation and tagline.
And always, always, always think of what you want readers to associate your brand with.
Something like positivity, controversy, freedom, liberal politics, conservatism, whatever your thing is, that’s what you want to turn your brand into.
Now, pull up a Word doc or get out a pen and paper. Got it up or out? Good. Now start brainstorming.