#4: Marketing Yourself – Making people aware of your brand.

KEY POINT: You must be able to define why YOUR “brand” is unique, and why your books are different from other authors’ books in the same genre. It’s about being distinctive in the market.

That’s easier done if you aren’t following current trends. If you are writing in a popular genre – like vampires, kilted warriors or English Regency – you really need to figure out why your books, your voice, and your characters, stand out.

But if you are writing outside the “norm” it will be easier to define your brand. Maybe harder to sell – but easier to define!

Creating a great buzz, or advertising through social marketing, isn’t enough to build a strong brand in publishing. Your design & color scheme, tagline or logo are only tools to make you memorable when people do find you. They are signposts that say: “Here I am! You found me!”

And by “find you” I mean they have read / want to read your books. So by necessity, it actually kicks into high gear after your first novel is published and you are starting to gain followers. Because branding is fundamentally about making emotional connections:

  • you with your characters
  • your readers with your characters
  • your readers with you.

It’s a triangle relationship.

That does NOT mean you wait to figure all this out! You’ll want to hit the ground running. When you start the publicity push for your first book (or your next book, if you are just starting to brand yourself) your brand should be solidly in place. All your marketing will be based on your brand.

So BE CONSISTENT. Keep one continuous thread through all of your marketing, especially if you are just starting out.

In the meantime, you can always tweak and polish; but don’t totally redesign your website, unless you redesign EVERY outlet to match at the same time. And – if you are having a measure of success now, don’t mess with it! (Wait until you are REALLY big and won’t risk losing readers by confusing them with a whole new look.)

Then in your next book(s) don’t stray from your “brand” in your plots or your characters or your voice. We must deliver what our readers expect, and do so every time. Consumers are fickle; if we disappoint them, they’re gone. That’s why authors who write in different genres use pseudonyms – it signals to the readers that this is a different “brand”!

Down the road, your brand will probably evolve as your writing, readers, and trends change, but no change should be so sudden or extreme as to throw off your loyal followers.

As you are finding your way, evaluate how you are doing with defining and solidifying your brand. As you work through this, talk to your friends and critique partners. Ask them for honest reactions. Have they read your manuscripts? If you describe what YOU think your brand is, do they agree? Does your tagline resonate with them?

An effective brand will help you efficiently generate word-of-mouth publicity through reviews, interviews, blogs and workshops or conferences. If you can communicate your brand clearly and consistently, you will develop that essential emotional connection with your consumer.

I would love to hear what YOUR brand is. Care to share your tagline and explain it?

5 Responses to “#4: Marketing Yourself – Making people aware of your brand.”

  1. 1 Rebecca 03/25/2010 at 12:12 PM

    Love your blog, Kris. Very helpful for me, a new writer. My brand is still under construction. For right now, it’s “where food and love last a lifetime.” I write foodie romances. 🙂

    I adore yours, though. It’s probably my favorite. “Norway is the new Scotland.” Love it!! 🙂

  2. 2 Donna Goode 03/25/2010 at 12:17 PM

    Hi Kris,
    I enjoyed your post today…as always! My tagline is: Real love stories have no endings… It really does fit my stories, especially since the second two are sequels to the first one. I like the concept that love lives on and grows with the years, just getting better and better.

  3. 3 Melissa Marelic 03/25/2010 at 1:01 PM

    Hi Kris,

    Great blog you got going. I’m a newbie as I haven’t sold yet and plan on entering my first ms, a Scottish paranormal into the GH next year. This novel is the first in a series of four books known as the Celtic Destiny series so collectively my stories are about true love that never dies and conquers all. My actual tagline is a play on my penname, Marissa MacFae, “Timeless romance with a touch of Fae magick…” I feel that this name and tagline suit all of my Celtic themed stories perfectly as well as my author voice (writing style).

  4. 4 kristualla 03/25/2010 at 2:41 PM

    I love ALL of these!

  5. 5 Lexi Connor 03/25/2010 at 7:12 PM

    Great info! Now I need to nail down my brand!

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