Crafting your author brand vs. your series brand

Creating an author brand can be tricky — it’s supposed to be you, but which parts of you? 

An author brand is all about how you present yourself to the world. Your brand identity encompasses your personality and expertise. In other words, how you make people feel and what you make them think about

Think of a few authors whose work you enjoy. What comes to mind when you hear their name? Are there specific emotions, topics, or even colors you associate with them? What questions would you ask if you were trapped in an elevator with them? 

Your answers all relate to that author brand!

Take a look at your genre

An author’s genre can inform much of their personal brand. Consider fantasy author Sarah J. Maas. Her brand is expressed through youthful feminine aesthetics, romance-tinged high fantasy, and an active social media presence. 

Maas currently has three fantasy book series under her belt, and while each series has its own, slightly unique brand, they all work in harmony toward her overall author image.

When authors write in multiple genres, however, the distinction between author-focused and book-focused branding is more obvious. Take John Green for example. Green built his brand on creating educational YouTube videos and writing young adult books. When he released the nonfiction essay collection The Anthropocene Reviewed, it may have appeared to be a diversion from his brand. However, the educational videos that made him a household name also solidified him as a trustworthy authority and scholar of diverse topics. So, a book of essays was actually a great fit for his brand!

This highlights the importance of having an authentic brand. If you build your brand around who you truly are, and what really interests you, then no matter what direction your writing takes, it will still feel like a natural and integral part of your overall author image.

Why focus on building an author brand?

Readers will be more likely to support you throughout the years if they feel like they understand you and feel connected to you! It also helps them associate certain colors, images and aesthetics with you!

Tips for developing your author brand

Fine-tune your overall message:

  • You likely have an elevator pitch for your latest book memorized, which is great! But for your author brand, you should think about your message in more broad strokes. What values, interests and spheres of knowledge do you bring to the table across your entire body of work? What do you want your readers to know about you?

Create a brand book for your website and social media accounts:

  • Colors: Think about what colors reflect you, your writing, and your audience.
  • Fonts: These make a powerful statement. Literary authors may opt for a serif font to convey a more traditional style, whereas a sci-fi author may choose a bold, thematic sans serif font.
  • Content: The information you choose to share online is a direct reflection of your image. Brainstorm some ideas for content you’d like to share. Before posting anything, ask yourself: Is this true to me? And is this relevant to my brand?
  • Profile: Match your profile photos across your platforms, and use the same handle, if possible, on all your accounts so readers can easily find you.

Arrange media opportunities to highlight your message:

Think outside the box

Brainstorm additional ways to connect with readers by leaning into your strengths. Create some swag related to your books and offer it up at events if you’re great at design. Try podcasting if you’re known for your witty banter and insights. Consider putting in some volunteer hours and connecting with the community if your book is related to a good cause.

For more helpful branding tips, check out our blog on building your author brand.