By Matthew Turner (@Turndog_million)
Matthew Turner is a frequent commenter here on the blog and writes very useful articles that attempt to educate authors about how to market their work. Here Matt takes on the idea of author branding, and offers his own practical attitude and down-to-earth advice. Read on.
Growing up I was under the impression writers were artists… usually alcoholics, people teeming with personal issues, and eccentric as hell. These people wrote, sent out their work, got published, and sat back watching the royalties pour in.
Now, this was probably naïve of me, but for all I know this was true. What I can be sure of it’s no longer the case. Writers are still artists, and they may still be drunks, eccentric, and teeming with personal issues. However, they’re also marketers, and designers, and personal speakers, and coaches, and just about everything else you could possibly think of.
I’m a strategic marketer by trade and as such I look at the world a little differently to most. I see Brands in people, companies, books, songs, and even towns I visit. First impressions are one of, if not the most important thing, and how you layout your Brand is what really counts.
I’m not sure I know much in life, but one thing I’m sure of is that writers need to think about the bigger picture.
What is your Brand?
Who are you?
What makes you stand out?
How do people perceive you?
We all say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we do. I’m sure Joel knows this better than most as he lives his life around designing covers for all kinds of people. It doesn’t matter what you go to market with, be it a book or a can of soup, how you portray your Brand is vital.
You may be reading this and saying, “Surely my writing counts? Surely that’s the most important thing.”
Sure, it’s very important and if you want longevity you need to produce a quality product. The thing is though; quality doesn’t attract people in the first instance. I can go on Amazon with £10 and choose from a million books.
Why would I choose yours?
This is where your Brand comes into play. You need to create a platform that pulls people in, makes them want to get to know you, and persuades them to join your tribe.
So what exactly is a Brand?
People tend to think—and it drives me crazy—that a Brand is a logo and a slogan. If this is your way of thinking then shame on you! Don’t worry though, you’re not alone, in fact it’s probably safe to say you’re part of the majority, which is very scary indeed.
So what is a Brand?
- Who are you and what makes you special? We’re all different and it’s what makes the human race so damn wonderful. Your writing is unique, even if your voice or style is similar to someone else.
- Look deep and find what you offer that no one else can. You have something, trust me! Find this and you can give people a reason to take notice, and in time you’ll find yourself standing out from the crowd as people take notice.
In writing terms this is everything from your colour scheme, book cover, logo, fonts that you use, and general aesthetics. My favourite colour is purple so I use it quite a lot in my work. It helps me stand out, but more importantly it demonstrates who I am, and therefore what my Brand stands for.
When you release your book it needs to stand out from the rest, but it also needs to represent who you are. We judge books by their cover, and we’re doing exactly the same to you (aka your Brand)!
How do you talk? Do you have an accent or a particular way with words? As a writer you’ll no doubt know how important a unique and compelling voice is. Take this sage advice and apply it to your Brand and ‘speak’ to the world in a manner that lets them emphasise and relate to you.
Some people will love you, whilst others will hate you. We all want people to love, but whatever you do make sure people remember you and feel something. Your voice is part of who you are, so make sure it stands for something.
We all stand for something. Some are left wing, some are right. Some are quiet and coy, whilst others are expressive and outspoken. Whoever you are, you stand for something and it’s part of your job as manager of your own Brand to showcase this to the world.
Demonstrating your values will create passion, and passion is something people tend to respect regardless of whether they agree with you or not. People need to remember who you are and what you stand for. Help them by being unique and interesting, not simply a sheep following everyone else.
I love Brands. Don’t get me wrong, I truly hate some of them (gocompare.com for instance, I absolutely detest you!), but I love the process and how they take on human form.
Since writing I’ve come across some truly great writers, and the people I tend to connect with are those who show something that make me feel. Sometimes this is their writing, but more often than not it’s who they are.
Being the best writer you can be is important, I understand this and don’t want you to forget about it. But your writing is part of your Brand, and if you see the bigger picture then everything will come together. There will be some people reading this who are amazing writers, but I won’t ever read their creations. Why? Because I don’t know you or trust you or have any reason to commit.
Create a Brand that stands out and help me become your newest fan.
Turndog Millionaire aka Matthew Turner is a Marketing Strategist with an MA in Advertising & Marketing from Leeds University Business School. As an Aspiring Author himself he Blogs about Book Marketing, Strategic Planning for Aspiring Authors, and how New Marketing Techniques can be used in the World of Publishing. You can also find him @Turndog_million on Twitter.
Blog header photo by JD Hancock