Branding is usually associated with nonfiction, or a service or product that someone is trying to market. Nowadays it is becoming increasingly important for fiction writers, too. In my previous post, Building a Brand as an Author, I admitted that I’m still not sure what brand I’m hoping to promote, but I’ve learned quite a bit about how to go about it once I decide. For those of you a bit ahead of me in that area, here are a few tips I think might be helpful:
1. Set up a website that reflects the tone of what you want to promote. By that I mean if you write horror, your site should have a darker, scarier theme than if you are a romance writer. If you have published work, post links on your site so readers can get a feel for what you write. If you don’t have published pieces to direct them to, perhaps post a short story or a chapter from your current novel.
2. Start a blog, but only if you feel you have enough time and interest. A website doesn’t require a lot of time once it’s set up, but a blog needs regular, relevant content to keep people coming back. Many writers start blogs but don’t take time to proofread their posts, or don’t care about the quality of what they are putting there since it’s being given away. They apparently save their best work to sell, not realizing that the blog is a reflection of them. If someone gets a poor impression of them from their blog, either from poor quality writing or from thoughtless comments, it may keep the potential reader from buying that author’s work later on.
3. Be professional at all times. That doesn’t mean you should be boring, overly polite, or act superior to your readers; that just means don’t say mean things about other writers, editors, publishers, etc. Show you take your work seriously, whatever the genre; you can write humor and still behave professionally.
4. Have a short pitch ready to give anyone interested in what you write. Don’t memorize it as the circumstances will vary and you want the other person to feel you’re talking to them, not spouting a generic advertisement for your work.
I’m sure there are lots of other ways to help build a brand, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What can aspiring authors do to promote themselves as writers, even if they don’t have a “platform?”