Tip of the Day: "The Creative Penn" gives a good summary on creating your author platform and branding yourself as a writer.
In my day job, I'm in the midst of doing a rebranding for our library, so I have brands, brands, and more brands on my mind. In terms of the library: branding seems to be a bit easier for me to understand. All your design elements, such as: your logo, website, flyers, etc. need to fit together and emphasis your brand. If you want to be fun, then everything should look fun. We want to be seen as a go-to spot, so we are incorporating that idea into all of our graphics and our general message. Including literally showing dots (or spots) in many of our marketing materials to reiterate our brand. That way people are constantly hit over the head with our library brand. And hopefully they'll remember to stop by and see us. Or at the very least, recognize one of our flyers based on looks alone.
In terms of author branding it's a bit different. Your brand includes not only your website, bookmarks, and design elements, but it also includes the nature and style of writing in your books.
I would imagine if you go to five different fantasy author sites, the design is going to look completely different than going to author websites for literary fiction. The design of everything needs to reflect the style of books you write. Because just like your cover has to reflect your book, so does all your other marketing materials that you might create for yourself.
In the same vein, all of your books should have a similar writing style, to further reiterate your brand. Do you write humorous mysteries? Or deep-thought provoking literary styles? Good! If you write more than one, then people will know where to go when they are looking for that perfect read.
Does this mean you can only write humorous mysteries from now on?
No...but you do still need to stick somewhat in your category and writing style. Otherwise, you'll confuse readers more than you'll bring them in.
Most of us don't have that luxury of being so famous that readers don't expect anything from us but a great story. They find comfort in knowing what type of story we will deliver to them. With twists and turns, of course!
So until we become famous, if we want to try our hand at a different genre or completely different style of book, we'll have to be like all the other authors who write under different names. Or just stick with similar types of books. At least until our readership has been built. Then when we've become so big, that brands no longer matter, then the publishing house will release anything we write under our names :)
So in my opinion, branding is important for writers. However, I don't think we should be so overwhelmed to let it rule how we write. Since a good story trumps all, and most of branding happens naturally. Because if you write light, fluffy books, I guarantee most of you are also attracted to the color pink (or at least fun looking covers).
Do you agree with that? Or disagree?
--Emily, Miss Querylicious