From Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris:
A bookstore employee outed Richard Bachman as Stephen King in 1985 despite all his efforts to hide the fact. The clever person recognized King’s style following its breadcrumbs scattered in Bachman books.
One of the breadcrumbs was the word “mangler.” The characters in King’s and Bachman’s books used it to refer to laundry pressing machines.
This anecdote from King’s life shows that an author brand is every decision that can impact how people perceive you.
And, when it comes to creating your public image, it’s better to have a branding strategy than bet on blind luck.
What Is an Author Brand Strategy?
In 1887, Guy de Maupassant paid for a hot-air balloon with the name of his new story on it to glide over Paris.
At the time, an average person knew about Guy and his personality as much as newspapers wrote about him. Thus, extravagant, grand gestures were great for boosting one’s brand and recognition.
Today, the situation is drastically different. Your reader may know as much about you as you’re willing to communicate. Like a sculptor over wet clay — you have unprecedented control over your brand. Shape it as you will.
Doing it blindly can lead to a bad result though. A shapeless mess that harms more than benefits.
On the contrary, brand strategy can help you avoid such an outcome.
Brand strategy is a set of tools, approaches, and methods that help you achieve desired recognition and convey:
- What you stand for;
- What are your beliefs and principles? Maybe, you want to spread the word of love and acceptance? Or maybe, you believe in the power of imagination to change the future?
- What you promise;
- Each story has something to offer. What about yours? Maybe it’s a great imaginative adventure or a chance for introspection?
- Your personality.
- Let your personality and charisma shine through your branding efforts and win you new followers.
Now that you have an idea of what the branding strategy is, let’s figure out what makes it good.
What makes a good author brand strategy ?
There’s a peculiar quote in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House:
“As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.”
First, the prose is great. Second, is that the reference to a dinosaur in a positively Victorian novel? Yes, yes it is. Dickens knew what the public found fascinating and wasn’t afraid to use it. Consider it his brand.
Most likely, Dickens didn’t have a well-defined brand strategy. His success is the result of hard work, entrepreneurial instinct, and luck.
For us, mere mortals, relying on luck and instinct is not a viable strategy. We should make plans and stick to them.
And the first step of planning an effective branding is researching your target readers. Often, it comes down to answering the proper questions.
Afterward, you should determine how to convince them that you and your writing are what they are looking for.
Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris