A/K/A: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Brand
Last time, I talked a little about the history of branding, and about why it’s important for writers to think about. Hopefully, I assuaged many concerns about author self-branding with this simple point: a brand is not a product. And you, as an author, are not a product. Rather, a brand is an image: the collection of values and emotions and thoughts that a customer associates with a product or service. For you, as an author, your brand is your image to readers, and the collection of values, emotions, and thoughts that a reader associates with your name (or pseudonym) when they see it on the cover of a book or on the by-line of a story. Whether you are actively cultivating a specific brand image or not, you have one – and you can’t really choose to opt out of branding. You can only choose to disengage and let it happen on it’s own, or to actively take charge of it and direct its growth.
Either choice is legitimate, but there are dangers associated with disengaging: you may end up with a brand image that you come realize you don’t want, at which point it may be too late to change it.
Whatever choice you make – whether to engage or disengage – every blog post you write, every tweet, every public status update, every story you write, every book, every public appearance you make, how you dress and how you carry yourself in public, the visual appearance of your blog or webpage, the cover art on your books – all of it is influencing your brand image. Some of those things are more in your control than others, but they’re all making an impact on the image your reader is developing of you.
Assuming, then, that you have chosen to actively cultivate your brand… how exactly do you do that? Continue reading