Attract Your Readers: 4 Steps to Your Author Branding Statement

by | Feb 27, 2020

By Beth Barany

We all want more book sales.

To that end, know that the number one step in all sales is to generate curiosity.

So, how do you do that?

One way to do that is to create your author branding statement: a concise, one-sentence description of your book or of your body of work.

Four Ingredients

There are four ingredients to constructing this sentence.

The goal of this exercise is for you to design a statement that easily rolls of your tongue and answers the questions we get at meetings, conferences, parties and even in the grocery store checkout line: “What do you write?”

You’ll also be able to use this sentence online.

Firstly, your Author Branding Statement is meant to engage. Not to explain your story. It’s a hook, not a story summary.

Secondly, you don’t want to bore your listener or reader. You want them to get excited and come closer, or say, “Not for me.”

Next, I’ll walk you through how to nail down the four ingredients, which are:

  1. Your genre
  2. Your audience
  3. Your audience’s desired result or experience; what they want
  4. Your intended action upon your readers

#1:Your Genre

What is your genre?

Stating that you write “romance” may be good enough for some of your listeners. For others, you may want to be more specific, like “paranormal romance” or “historical romance,” etc.

You could say “mystery” but readers of the genre would much prefer something like “cozy mystery” or “hard-boiled mystery” or “police procedural.” (Here’s a fun resource on the many mystery genres.)

For example, I state my genres like this:

I write paranormal romance, young adult fantasy novels, and science fiction mystery with a slow burn romance.

For this exercise, I’d choose only one of these genres. I like “young adult adventure fantasy.”

Action Step
When choosing how to state your genre, think about where your readers would find your book in a brick and mortar or online bookstore. Browse libraries and stores to determine this. Ultimately, imagine how your readers would categorize what you write. Or ask them!

Q: How do you create a clear author branding statement if you write more than one genre?

A: In today’s world of writing multiple genres, provided they are different enough, I recommend as an initial step, you create an author branding statement for each genre that you write.

#2 and #3: Your Audience + What They Want

In some Author Branding Statements it may be useful to explicitly state who your books are for. But in most cases, you may just want to state your readers’ desired experience.

As a starting point declare who your intended readership is. You could say: men, women, children, but be specific. You could say women over forty; or children between the ages of eight and eleven; or men just out of high school.

Good. That’s a start.

But what’s really important is what they want from a book like yours.

Let’s put together your audience and what they want and create phrases like this:

  • women who want an out-of-this-world adventure
  • middle-age Midwesterners looking for a sweet escape
  • savvy women desiring a smart adventure
  • young women who want to be the hero of their own lives
  • men looking for new definition of being a man in the modern world

If you’re not sure who your readers are because you haven’t published yet or because you haven’t connected with your readers, then describe yourself.

Action Step
Draft a few phrases that describe this experience. If you’re stumped think about what you get when you read your favorite novelist.

For example, I love reading Elizabeth Moon’s space opera because it’s such a delicious escape, a thrilling ride, and I get to spend time with awesome, brave women spaceship captains.

#4: Your Intended Action Upon Your Readers

Once you know your genre, your audience and what they want, look at your intended action upon your readers.

When I get to this part in workshops, I often get quizzical looks, so I’ll start with an example of how I answer the question: “What do you write?”

I write young adult adventure fantasy to empower teen girls to be the heroes of their own lives.

In this statement, my intended action upon my readers is to empower them. In fact, this desire to empower my readers permeates all of my writing—fiction and nonfiction.

What do you want to do for your readers?

  • Inspire
  • Motivate
  • Transport
  • Challenge
  • Help
  • Guide
  • Other?! The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Pick only one verb.

Take Action

Put all four ingredients together into one sentence. Here are some examples for fiction and nonfiction writers.

Fiction Examples

I write romantic suspense that invite women to experience the heart pounding rush of danger, action and romance.

I write middle grades stories that develop kids’ self-acceptance and self-assurance through love of horses and country life.

I write suspense that thrill adults interested in Jewish themes to challenge their personal relationship with Judaism.

Nonfiction Examples

I write inspired stress relief books that help attorneys and other overwhelmed professionals thrive purposefully 24-7.

I write about the history behind the mythology of original sin to inspire truth seekers.

My audio tutorials guide fantasy writers to draw on the wisdom of their extra-conscious resources to develop compelling, character-driven stories.

Are you curious about any of these? Notice what grabs you and what doesn’t.


Practice your Author Branding Statement. Say it a few times so it becomes natural, a part of you. Then practice with friends, family, and colleagues. Revise as needed. Then practice some more.

When you mention to acquaintances and strangers that you’re a writer and they ask, “What do you write?” practice your Author Branding Statement on them. Notice how they respond.

Are they curious? Great!

When people express curiosity, ask them for permission to add them to your promotion lists. Or, if more appropriate, invite them to check out your books or connect with you online.

Next Steps

Use your Author Branding Statement as part of your author bio, online and in print. Adapt it for your social media and in your signature line of your email.

We’re all waiting for your stories. Spread the word!

Want Feedback?

Share your Author Branding Statement in the comments for feedback and support. I look forward to yours.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Nicole Thomas

    I write Young Adult Christian Fantasy that will transport readers into a world laced with faith, and filled with adventure and magic.

  2. Erica W.

    I inspire survivors of all walks of life to continue to progress forward, regardless of their circumstances, and live out their dreams.

    • Beth Barany

      Really lovely, Erica. Your statement invites me to ask, “How do you do that?” which is great. That means your statement generates curiosity, at least in me. Is this what you write about?

  3. Catherine Zampier

    Thank you for the short, but helpful article. I want to put too much in a sentence.
    “I write picture books about family connections over a couple of generations to inspire discussions and encourage lessons of years gone by.”

    • Beth Barany

      Nice, Catherine! I wonder if you can add specifics, like instead of “about family connections over a couple of generations” how about something like, “about grandparents and grandchildren.”

      Also, pick one verb group, either “inspire discussions” or “encourage lessons of years gone by.”

      I like “inspire discussions,” maybe you can add kore specifics to this too, like “inspire family discussions.”

  4. Laurie McLoughlin

    Hi – I write contemporary romance that invites women to explore love and relationships with an empowering sizzle of sexiness.

    I’d appreciate feedback on my author branding statement

    • Beth Barany

      Hi Laurie — I love “an empowering sizzle of sexiness.” You may want to cut “love and relationships” since your audience knows that’s the topic of your stories. Also, I’m wondering if you can punch up the verb “invites” or
      delete it. Just playing here… so something like:

      “I write contemporary romance with an empowering sizzle of sexiness.”

      Let me know how this lands.

      • Laurie McLoughlin

        Thanks so much. I wondered if the ‘for women’ was redundant given the genre. The shorter the better I think. Really appreciate you taking the time.

        • Beth Barany

          You’re so welcome. Glad it worked for you. I’m enticed by your books. :)

          • Laurie McLoughlin

            Hi – I have a beta reader who I shared it with and said what she loved about my books was that it had strong women characters and humor and that was more empowering than the sexiness. How do you feel about:

            I write contemporary romance with strong women, for strong women with a sense of fun.

          • Laurie McLoughlin

            Don’t hate me – this is my last iteration to bug you today I promise –

            I write contemporary romance about and for strong women with a sexy sense of fun.

          • Beth Barany

            Laurie, I don’t hate you LOL. I love your enthusiasm and persistence.

            I think the word empowering says it all. And you don’t need to name your audience since it’s understood, imho.

            I still vote for the short version I posted earlier, or something like it.

            “I write contemporary romance with an empowering sizzle of sexiness.”


            “I write contemporary romance with an empowering sizzle of sexiness and fun.”

            I recommend you test all your candidate versions with your readers, fans, and buddy writers to see what gets that “Wow! Yes!” response.

  5. Deborah Makarios

    My mission is to write books, plays and blog posts like cups of tea: warm, heartening and restorative.

    Sitting down for a cup of tea is both a rest, and a restoration; it eases your weariness and it prepares you to face the world again.

    I want to write works which people will read and re-read; not necessarily because of what the story says, but because it gives them the courage to keep going, and change things.

    • Beth Barany

      Nice job, Deborah. Now put each piece together in a sentence.

  6. Brandi

    Thank you SO MUCH, Beth!

    I have been struggling to establish my author brand, and this is by far the best advice I’ve seen. For the first time, I feel like I might finally have something to work with:

    I write picture book stories to educate children about different topics in nature.

    • Beth Barany

      Wonderful, Brandi. I am so glad it was helpful and useful and that you created something to work wt. Great first step.

      I’d love more specificity in your statement. Remember that children’s books are bought by parents, family members, and educators.

      What value(s) do your picture books evoke or highlight?

      Do you approach your nature topics realistically, or with whimsy, or wonder, or something else? I’m curious about the emotional quality here.

      Something like:

      I write whimsical (or other adjective) picture books to enchant children with wonder about the marvels of the natural world.

      Play with it and share some new drafts.

      • Brandi

        Thank you SO MUCH for the feedback. I really want to communicate that my stories are meant to entertain children while teaching them valuable facts and lessons—lessons they’ll actually remember—about how humans should interact with nature. I’m not sure my second draft accomplishes this:

        I write entertaining picture books woven with valuable facts to empower children with essential knowledge about the natural world.

        • Beth Barany

          Great! So glad you took another stab at this and shared it with us. Here’s some feedback:

          I’d prefer another word than “entertaining” since that mostly understood for books. What about “enticing” or “enchanting”?

          Love that your stories are about how how humans should interact with nature. But — to what end? To respect nature? be healed by it? To frolic in it? To be one with it?

          Also, I think you can either cut “woven with valuable facts” or point to why they’re valuable.

          Hope this helps!

          • Brandi

            This helped very much. Thank you! ❤️

  7. Angelique Conger

    I write religious historical fiction to inspire women and others to honor and pattern their own lives like the earliest mothers and wives.

    • Beth Barany

      Thanks for sharing your author branding statement, Angelique! I like how clear it is. I would be curious to see if you can shorten and punch up a little the end part: “to honor and pattern their own lives like the earliest mothers and wives.”

      Perhaps something like this: “to live as did the earliest mothers and wives.”

      So something like: “I write religious historical fiction to inspire women and others to to live as did the earliest mothers and wives.”

  8. Martha Reynolds

    Thank you so much, Beth! I’m going to work on this. ♥️♥️♥️

    • Beth Barany

      Yay! Let me know what you come up with. {hearts!}

  9. Martha Reynolds

    Excellent article! Thank you.
    So, for the eight years I’ve been writing, I’ve used “Real True Fiction.” Catchy, yes, but I find I have to explain it (“It’s fiction with a kernel of truth at its core.”)

    I need something new.

    I write fiction for women, about women who struggle through everyday challenges.

    • Beth Barany

      Nice! You may even want to shorten it… so “I write fiction about women who struggle through everyday challenges.”

      Or: “I write fiction for women struggling through everyday challenges to [strong verb] [awesome experience]…”

      What’s missing for me is something to address the #4 point: What is the impact you’d like to have on the reader?

      Under it all, what is the emotional impact you’d like readers to have? Or impact readers have told you they have when reading your stories?

      At the core, all fiction is about emotion — moving our readers’ hearts… I’m curious what your particular flavor is. :)

      Hope this helps!

  10. Beth

    Thanks for having me on the blog again!

    • Shelley Sturgeon

      Our pleasure, Beth!

      Thanks for the great article!




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