Branding for Self-Published Authors

If you think branding is something that applies only to food, clothing or cars, think again. Whether you are aware of it or not, your book (as well as your writing persona) is already a brand, and a clear understanding of it by your audience is indispensable.


Today, AuthorHouse offers four tips for planning and developing your  brand.


5041738157_b3a7263104_oBe Consistent in Your Writing Themes, Subject, and Style


Readers want to know what to expect from an author. Your brand is based on how they perceive the specific tone or feel of your writing (without being associated with any specific title or characters).


What makes John Grisham such a successful author brand is the presumed knowledge that all his books offer gripping court-room drama with a bit of crime and suspense. So even if you haven’t heard about his new book, you’ll know it won’t deviate much from this formula.



Create a Consistent Look and Visual System


Your books’ covers are one of their most powerful branding elements. Harry Potter titles, for example, always feature illustrated covers that appeal to young adults, while the Twilight books always use metaphorical images of apples, ribbons, chess pieces and floral elements. These suggest a seductive quality consistent with the nature of its other-worldly characters.


Plan and Design Your Stories to Transcend Books


If you want to build your name into a brand, consider what other facets of the entertainment industry your stories might be able to take advantage of. Think about whether your manuscript can be turned into a feature film; does it possess universal appeal, enough to attract major talent and an audience? Don’t forget about television, iPad apps, toy lines, video games and any number of other products that could be generated by your creative brand.


The Brand’s Ultimate Relevance


This ultimately brings us to the question “Why is having a brand important?” The simple answer is because it helps sales. It’s much easier to sell a book, especially a new book, if readers have an existing understanding of what the author’s brand is. Selling film and television rights (always a long shot, even under ideal conditions) is easier if you have a clear brand, since people are more likely to watch a film based on the work of an author whose name they recognize.


So if you care about sales (and who doesn’t), and you’re interested in building a brand for yourself, you should plan from the beginning how you’d like your readers to describe your work. Does every aspect of your books—their stories, covers, and genre—contribute to this image?


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