"The truth is our brands are developing each time we meet a reader’s eye."
A writer’s brand is a red carpet of introduction to welcome readers and the publishing industry. It’s an identity that shows genre and demonstrates what others can expect from writing projects, social-media posts, and anything attributed to the writer’s name.
Branding is not a marquee in your front yard with your smiling face in three dimensions, “Buy Now” in neon lights, and the title of your latest book in life-size letters.
A brand is critical to a reader’s positive emotional experience. It’s why a reader focuses on words composed by a particular writer—the reader knows what’s waiting for them. There’s no need to contemplate the content because the brand says it all.
For some prominent writers, their name alone is their brand. For most of us, we’re not so fortunate, so we strive to establish our identity in the marketplace.
Through everything we write, our goal is to send a subtle message:
- I’m relational.
- I care about you.
- When you close one of my books, my brand will still be there, encouraging you to be your best.
- Everything I write will show you I can be trusted.
A writer’s passion and expertise are shown in nonfiction, blogs, essays, poetry, social-media posts, short stories, or fiction with a distinct flair. The writer understands the value of reader experience and expectations. Unfortunately, if we disappoint our readers, they will move on to the next writer. To avoid losing our readers, we define and specialize our identity in an unforgettable brand.
To develop a solid image, we begin by knowing who we are in this wild and wonderful publishing world. We writers must visualize what a brand looks like to a reader.
The following tips will assist a writer on the path to an outstanding brand.
1. Establish the genre you are most passionate about. If selecting a genre is confusing, seek out your favorite type of reading. There lies the answer.
2. Develop a mission statement. What are your goals and values for a successful writing career? Consider how your dreams would reflect in a brand.
3. Invest in a professional photograph. Consider your identity in choosing a pose, clothing, and setting. Be consistent with where your photo has visibility. Readers anticipate the same view wherever they find us. Why confuse them?
4. Launch a website or blog presence so readers and those within the industry can find and learn about you.
5. Professionally design a logo. Does it leave no doubt to the reader who you are?
6. Focus on how a reader will respond to your writing. Are you effectively writing to heartfelt needs? Those answers, combined with your depth of voice and delivery, can help focus your brand.
7. Create a tagline to use as a signature on e-mail, social media, your website, and at book signings. Investigate what other writers use and ensure yours is unique, leaving no doubt about who you are as a writer. Your tagline must breathe with personality. This may take a while to develop, so don't rush the process.
8. Ensure contact information on every social media platform and mailing reflects your brand along with easy methods of contacting you. My return-address labels list my tagline, thus my brand.
9. Understand and know your target readers. Spend time completing a character sketch for the perfect reader. How can we write for an audience when we don’t know who they are? It took me a long time to accept this concept.
10. Explore social-media platforms. For some, this may mean a tutored course.
11. Research favorite authors’ platforms. What do you like? Dislike? In what ways can you make yours unique?
12. Include these social-media platforms: website, Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. The latter doesn’t have to be a personal blog but can be another prominent site where the writer posts regularly. Identify other social-media platforms where your reader/audience is primarily engaged and be there for them.
13. Consider the psychology of color and learn the palette for your brand personality and consistently reflect it everywhere.
The truth is our brands are developing each time we meet a reader’s eye. The question is, do we want to direct them to a positive brand identity or let it happen on its own? The latter might result in a detour and not have a favorable outcome on our career.
Seize control of publication goals and market with confidence. Writers, we want loyalty to our books. A highly visible brand allows our reputation to expand, generating more readers and establishing our message in the world of publication.
What are you waiting for?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers.
DiAnn is passionate about helping other writers be successful and speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston. DiAnn is very active online and loves to connect with readers on social media and at diannmills.com.