Monday, February 5, 2018

Writer Branding - What’s the Fuss?


By DiAnn Mills


A writer’s brand is a red carpet of introduction to readers and the publishing industry. It’s an identity that shows genre and demonstrates what others can expect from writing projects, blogs, social media posts, and anything attributed to the writer’s name.

Branding is not a marque in a writer’s front yard with the writer’s smiling face in three dimensions, “Buy Now” in neon lights, and the title of your latest book in life-size letters.

A brand is critical to a reader’s positive emotional experience. It’s why a fan focuses on words composed by a particular writer; he/she knows what’s waiting for them. There’s no need to contemplate the content because the brand says it all.

For some prominent writers, their name alone is an identity. For most of us, we’re not so fortunate. We strive to establish our identity.

Through everything we write, our goal is to send a subtle message:

    I’m relational.
    I care about you.
    You come before me.
    When you close one of my books, my brand will still be there encouraging you to be   
    your best.
    Everything I write will show you I can be trusted.

A writer’s passion and expertise are shown in—nonfiction, blogs, social media posts, short stories, or fiction with a distinct flair. The writer understands the value of reader experience and expectations. Unfortunately, if we disappoint our readers, they will move on to the next writer. To avoid losing our readers, we define and specialize our identity in an unforgettable brand.

To develop a solid image, we begin by knowing who we are in this wild and wonderful world of communicating through the written word. We writers must visualize what a brand looks like to a reader.

The following tips will assist you on the path to an outstanding brand.

1.      Establish the genre you are most passionate about. If selecting a genre is confusing, seek out your favorite type of reading. There lies the answer.
2.      Develop a mission statement. What are your goals and values for a successful writing career?
3.      How would your dreams reflect in a brand?
4.      Invest in a professional headshot photograph. Consider your identity in choosing a pose, clothing, and setting. Be consistent with where your photo has visibility. Readers anticipate the same view wherever they find us. Why confuse them?
5.      Launch a website or blog presence so readers and those within the industry can find and learn about you.
6.      Professionally design a logo. Does it leave no doubt to the reader who you are?
7.      Understand and know your target readers. Spend time completing a character sketch for the perfect reader. How can we write for an audience when we don’t know who they are? It took me a long time to accept this concept, so you’re not alone.
8.      Focus on how your reader will respond to your writing? Are you effectively writing to heartfelt needs? Your brand lies within the depths of voice and delivery.
9.      Create a tagline to use as a signature on e-mail, social media, website, and book signings. Investigate what other writers use and ensure yours is unique while leaving no doubt to who you are as a writer. Your tagline must breathe personality. This may take a while to develop, so don't rush the process.
10.  Ensure contact information is on every social media platform. Consider using return mail labels with your website reflected. Writers want to be found everywhere.   
11.  Explore the various social media platforms for the ones that fit your brand and reader audience. For some writers, this may require tutoring from a social media specialist.
12.  Research favorite authors’ platforms. What do you like? Dislike? In what ways can you make yours unique?
13.  Initiate a minimum of social media platforms: website, Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. The latter doesn’t have to be a personal blog but can be another prominent site where you regularly post.
14.  Consider the psychology of color and learn the palette for your brand personality and reflect it everywhere.

The truth is our brands are developing each time we meet a reader’s eye. We writers want to direct them to a positive identity, one that launches a favorable outcome for them and our career. Seize control of publication goals and market with confidence.

Writers, we want loyalty to our books. A highly visible brand allows our reputation to expand, generating more readers and establishing our message in the world of publication.

What are you waiting for?
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DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook: www.facebook.com/diannmills, Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannmills or any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.




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