A writer’s brand is based on three points you can take care of. The personal brand includes these three points: perception, experience, and reputation.
The importance of perception
Personal branding is all about how people perceive you.
So, the first thing you should ask yourself is how you want to be perceived.
That perception is what determines the reality of your brand. It doesn’t matter if you say you are the new Edgar Allan Poe. It won’t do any good if the reader doesn’t perceive you as such.
Notice how perception can determine the relationship with your potential reader. If you present yourself in one way and the reader sees that your presentation does not match reality, chances are that he or she will not reread any of your books.
But you play a fundamental role in how you are perceived. Your actions, your words, your image, you are a freelance writer, or you work at an essay writing service… all of these convey specific ideas. That’s why you need to pay attention to what your image gets.
External factors play an essential role in how you are perceived. I wish it were not so, but to a large extent, we judge by appearances. The covers of your books, as much as their interiors, play a role in your perception. You can rave about your latest novel. If its cover is sloppy, the reader will not get a good impression of it. Their perception won’t be good, and they probably won’t decide to read it (let alone buy it).
Your writer’s website is also important. Your writer’s website is your most important tool to build and transmit your brand. It is where the reader will go to learn more about you and your work, and if it looks amateurish, you will be torpedoing the reader’s perception of you. Make sure that your website has a professional design, that your texts are well cared for, and that they convey your marketing message.
The price of your books. Although it may not seem like it, the cost of your readers also contributes to the perception that others have of you. Behavioral economics studies have shown that we perceive cheap things to be worse and of lower quality than more expensive ones. If you are pricing your books low, it may be that what you are achieving is that the reader perceives you as a poor-quality writer.
The experience factor
The next aspect contributing to creating your brand as a writer is the reader’s experience with you.
Remember that that experience begins long before the reader reads the book. That experience starts with the first reference the reader has to you. It could be a review on a blog, it could be seeing your book on Amazon, it could be reading an article on your blog.
And that experience continues as he or she reviews your website, buys your book (thus including the buying process), and finally reads it.
All these factors are part of the reader’s experience, and you must take care of them because even if you don’t think that the buying process on your website or what a blogger thinks of your book is related to your personal brand, as you can see, they are.
Now imagine that a reader comes to your website and you conquer him thanks to the professional aspect of it. The cover of your book is gorgeous, and what you say about it on the sales page would convince even a non-reader that he has to read that novel now. So he buys it.
But the novel is unreadable. It is poorly crafted, riddled with inconsistencies and coincidences, its characters are neither believable nor engaging, and the ending is a fiasco. To top it off, it has never been proofread and is full of typos.
You’ve just ruined the reader’s experience. Chances are he’ll never give you a second chance. But what’s worse is that their bad experience contributes to your reputation.
The goal of reputation
If you want to develop a successful career as a writer, your reputation must be your concern.
And your reputation is largely built by your readers through how they perceive you (perception) and their relationship with you and your work (experience).
If you take care of perception and experience, it is tough for you to have a bad reputation.
And a good reputation is the one that contributes to word of mouth, to your books being recommended, read, and reviewed.
In short, it is about making sure that the reputation you have is the one you want to have. The one that is aligned with your objectives.
You can’t leave your reputation in the hands of chance, that’s why you shouldn’t go your brand as a writer in the hands of chance.
It would seem that your brand is not in your hands, right, but in the hands of others: readers (especially theirs), critics, bloggers?
It’s not like that at all. Your brand depends on you at least 95%.
But let’s be more specific.
To work on your brand, you must pay attention to three things: your message, appearance, and work.
1. Your message
Your message is what you communicate, both about yourself and your work.
The message can’t be faked. If you pretend and try to pass yourself off as someone you are not, sooner or later, the mask will fall off.
It must be authentic, based on your true qualities, aspirations, beliefs, and opinions. Your authenticity will be the core of your message and distinguishing feature, differentiating you from the reader from other writers.
You have to manage well what you are and want to show and enhance because that is what your authenticity is based on. And for that, of course, you have to know yourself very well. But you also have to be very clear about what you intend to achieve in the short, medium, and long term.
In addition to authenticity, your message must be consistent. You cannot have one message today and a different one tomorrow.
That’s why it’s so hard for authors who mistake their positioning and place themselves in front of the wrong audience to rectify their course.
You see it clearly with those writers who create a writing blog instead of a writer’s blog. Once they’ve reputed themselves as writing experts, it costs a lot to make a dramatic shift to attract an audience interested in their works of fiction. Your message ceases to be congruent with those following you up to that point.
Your message is condensed into what is called a marketing message. It has to be finely tuned to your writer’s brand and perfectly aligned with your ideal reader.
2. Your appearance
Your appearance is an inseparable part of your brand as a writer.
We’ve already talked about it, and you know that it affects almost everything. It’s not just about your hairstyle or the way you dress (which the reader may know from the images on your website or your social networks). It’s about the design of your books and also of your website.
Your appearance has to match you as a cover fits the book’s storyline. But, like a cover, it must be attractive, professional, and neat.
Your look also relates to your message, so it must be authentic and consistent. For example, don’t write severe and bombastic texts on your website if you want to have a casual appearance.
3. Your work
Finally, your brand as a writer is closely linked to your work.
We speak of your work in a broad sense: the whole of your literary work, the works you have written.
If you write young adult novels, your brand must be fresh. If you write romance novels, they should be feminine. If you are a more literary writer, you must have a brand with a certain intellectual air.
But, in addition, your work is you, what you do and how you do it.
To be seen as a professional writer, you must act professionally.
Take care that each book is as perfect as possible on every level, as literary works themselves, but also as cultural products. That is to say, give your best in writing them, take care of their exterior and interior design, make sure they have been professionally proofread, etc.
Having a website is nowadays almost mandatory for any self-respecting professional. Make sure yours makes a good impression on readers. Many writers with websites place them on an amateur scale, contributing neither to their perception nor to their reputation. Don’t be one of them.
Working well on your brand is elementary. It is basic when it comes to marketing. You can’t do good marketing that gets results and sells books if your brand is not perfectly tuned.
To do this, you must stop and think about who you are and where you want to be in a few years. Also, about who your ideal reader is.
On that basis, you will build your marketing message and, then, each of the actions and strategies focused on gaining visibility and readers and getting sales of your books.