What is Author Branding and and How Does it Help Authors Make More Money?

by Kae Wagner

Part I:  What is Author Branding

Fellow Authors - ever thought about what sets your writing apart from the rest? Have you wondered how big-name authors got to where they are today? Do you feel like you’re missing a key step in the writing, publishing, marketing process?

The publishing world is a crowded marketing place, and you won’t get noticed just by shouting louder.

No, you need more than that.

You need an Author Brand.

What is an Author Brand?

Author branding elevates your work beyond the writing you’ve done. 

It’s more than writing a best seller, it's about crafting a unique identity that speaks to readers, earns their trust, and makes you stand out on the digital search page, or on the bricks and mortar bookshelf.

Let’s explore the magnetic world of author branding and I’ll give you a new perspective about how you can stand out, be visible, and capture and keep the attention of your readers by developing a Personal Brand.

The Definition of Branding 

Here’s the definitive definition of branding, as revealed in my book on branding, The CEOs Little Black Book on Branding:

As you can see, niching down the broader brand definition to an author’s brand means an author goes way beyond the writing, publishing, and marketing of a book. Author Branding opens the door to creating a unique experience for the reader long after they’ve read the final page and posted a review.

Here’s how it works. (We’re following the definition from above…)

As an author, you are the brand. Your book is the product you are selling on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in other booksellers’ online or retail locations. 

Having a unique mark, symbol, or logo gives the reader a shortcut to help pick you out from the crowd—becoming known for more than one book cover gives you greater reach and impact for your next book or series. (You are writing more than one book, right?) An author will often use their signature, photo, and look and tone of their book covers to develop their unique brand.

Your author brand has a defined set of attributes and characteristics – meaning you become known for a genre, a distinctive writing style, a type of character, or a particular theme that resonates with your readers and sets you apart from other authors in the literary landscape.

All your branding activities combine to create a unique experience for the reader consuming your book. In case you missed it somewhere along the way, your reader craves an experience. That’s why readers read. They are searching for an experience.

In non-fiction, the experience is the light-bulb moment when a new theory or process is revealed, and the reader can implement a new money-making, time-saving tip, trick, or procedure not known before. The business reader will feel excited and eager to implement your expert wisdom and knowledge but will soon realize he or she needs more from you to pull off the integration of your program into their business.

In fiction, your reader craves an emotional experience—happiness when the lovers get re-united, the thrill of the big battle that saves the kingdom, the unexpected plot twist that makes your readers scratch their heads and think “I never saw that coming!”

Author Branding takes the reader’s experience beyond the book by creating additional experiences they crave. These additional experiences create your unique Author Brand.

It works like this.

When readers love your books, they want more from you, the author.

Readers want more content, yes, but they also want to know more about the author. 

Creative minds don’t realize how intrigued the rest of the world is with how we think and how we “create things out of thin air.”

That’s why readers show up at book signings and expos so they can meet and rub elbows with authors, bask in their creative quirkiness, and support their favorite author as they write the next book.

They read your newsletters because they’re interested in your creativity and how it’s going to show up in your next series or publishing project.

But, if you’re not consistent in communicating and connecting with your readers, they forget about you, and they’ll skip over your book for someone else’s shiny new cover.

Author Branding is like painting a vivid portrait of who you are as a writer. It's about infusing your work with your personality, style, and values, so readers feel like they're connecting with a real person, not just a name on a book cover.

Look for Part II on Author Branding:  How Does Branding Help Authors Make More Money?