Branding. We hear that word a lot nowadays. The first thing you probably think of is graphic design or big corporations. However, writers (now more than ever) also need to consider building their personal brands as they begin to put their work out in the world.
The word branding is used widely today, and often incorrectly. When you think of a business and their brand, it includes their whole identity from colors to typography to advertising and more. Most successful companies have all this laid out in a design manual. As a writer, you can brand yourself by creating a certain aesthetic that you give to your readers. This means that you can brand yourself by deciding what kind of books/articles you write or choosing what your writing style is. When done correctly, it allows an author to maintain a consistent style in the way they write, produce, and market their books.
Does this mean that you have to continually write the same story over and over again?
No. In fact you can write about totally unrelated topics if you want to. The key is to have at least one similarity among all the things you’re writing—your fingerprints in the writing, if you will. This can be done by using common themes, issues, topics, voices, or locations.
Why is it important?
When you create an aesthetic for your work, your readers know what to expect and they will keep returning to your work because of it. If you suddenly changed your writing style, your dedicated readers might be off-put or even upset. Imagine if John Green suddenly released a graphic, nitty-gritty war-time novel. That would be a bit of a surprise to his fanbase. That’s not to say that he couldn’t do something like this, but it would certainly have implications for his readership that he’d want to consider ahead of time.
There are several ways to brand yourself as a writer.
Decide what you want your voice/writing style to be and keep this consistent. Reinforce this style on your social media sites, website, blog, and even on book covers and article imagery. It is also a good idea to consider self-publishing. This allows you to maintain control (and rights) to your work, much more so than if you were to go through a publishing house. Self-publishing doesn’t mean your work has to look cheaply made. There are plenty of small publishers, designers, and editors you can pay to help with the design process if you aren’t skilled in that area.
When you are considering a new idea to write, branch out from this idea and think about what else could come out of it. Can you write sequels, prequels, articles that can go along with this idea? Think about what you want your big picture to be from the very start with a quick brainstorming session.
The idea of branding as an author can be overwhelming. Don’t we already have enough to do to try and get our work out there without having to worry about developing a personal brand? While this is true, taking the time to create a brand for yourself at the very beginning will save you time and help your writing in the future. As you continue to write and release your work, people will catch on to your style. That is what makes your writing unique and what will keep people coming back for more.