Author Business & Publishing, Guest Posts, Writing & Publishing Articles

Guest Post: Branding Basics for Authors by Dave Chesson

Today, I’m thrilled to host Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.com. If you don’t know Dave and his website, you’re missing out on a wealth of self-publishing knowledge! In this article, he discusses the elements of an author brand and how to design a unique brand that fits you. This is an aspect of publishing I’m still working on, so I’m super excited to read his tips! Over to Dave …


What Is An Author Brand?

At first glance, the concept of an author brand may seem strange or out of place. After all, doesn’t an author’s work speak for itself? Shouldn’t an author be judged by that alone?

The first thing to realize about author branding is that every author has a brand, whether they choose to deliberately develop it or not. The brand an author has is simply the way they are perceived by those who encounter them.

It is natural that readers form an opinion and an impression about writers whose work they come across. The impression formed is influenced by the choice of words the writer uses to describe their life and their work, the type of images they use when promoting their books, and the design and feel of their website, blog or any other platform officially associated with the author.

When you think of author branding as inevitable, it makes sense that an author would wish to take control of their brand and how they are perceived by the public. If readers are going to hold a certain perception, it makes sense for authors to try and influence that perception in their favour.

Read on to discover the benefits that come with taking control of your author brand, the main ways in which authors are able to influence the ways they are perceived, and some easy steps for getting started with your branding efforts.

Why Author Brands Matter

The term ‘brand’ sounds somewhat sterile and corporate and this can be off-putting for creatively minded people, such as authors. It’s better to instead think of the ways in which authors form connections with their readers, as this is the ultimate effect of a brand.

By ensuring that their brand is a reflection of who they are, authors are able to allow their readers to connect with them on a human level. Think about how much nicer it is as a reader to know something about your favorite writer in terms of their life, personality and the things which influence their creative output.

In the world of self-published books, there is more choice than ever before. People are likely to have a range of books to choose from on any given topic. If you are able to present yourself in a way which increases your credibility with readers, your book stands a better chance of being chosen ahead of the competition.

Branding Through Bios And Language

One of the first things that  browser on a major bookstore will do when researching a purchase is to try and find out something about the writer whose book they are considering buying. This is especially true in the era of self-publishing and pen names.

An author bio is one of the best ways for an author to convey who they really are to readers. Amazon Author Central, for example, offers writers the chance to feature not only a bio, but also links to their website and blog posts.

So how exactly does a bio impact branding?

The choice of language an author uses when describing their life and work directly affects how they are perceived.

Consider someone who writes inspirational, motivational self-improvement books. Imagine that their bio contained dry, dense language. Wouldn’t this be off putting and incongruous to readers? A much better impression would be formed if the author bio contained the same type of uplifting and inspirational language as found in the books.

It’s important that the language used in an author bio matches the tone and style of an author’s work. It should feel like a natural extension of their books. Readers should feel at home and familiar when reading bios of their favourite writers.

Visual Branding

A writer’s image in the eyes of readers is more than the sum of their words. The photographs, videos and design choices made by authors also impact their brand.

Writers should approach their choice of photographs and other visual elements of their brand similarly to choosing language for their bio. The visual material used should be appropriate for the style and tone of the author’s work.

Visual branding is an art and science of its own. For many writers, it can be intimidating and hard to know exactly which images are best suited to their work and audience. Two simple solutions exist for this problem.

First, writers should take the time to get a feel for what other similar writers are doing visually. By spending time checking out similar authors, any trends in terms of the type of image or colors used will emerge. This allows authors to work within the visual conventions of their genre.

Second, it’s important to get objective, outside feedback on any images chosen. Ideally, this should be from a group of relevant readers without a personal connection to the writer. This allows for truly impartial feedback from people in a position to offer valuable insight.

Author Branding Final Thoughts

Some of the keys to making author branding work for you are —

  • Seeing it as a valuable opportunity rather than a sterile chore
  • Learning how to match reader expectations to your own ideas
  • Being willing to accept feedback and make changes accordingly

We are fortunate to have a wealth of author branding examples available to us as inspiration.

If you don’t know where to start, spend some time browsing the websites of authors you admire. You’ll soon get a feel for what appeals to you.

Get inspired, find a way to put your own unique twist on the ideas you come across, and start to experiment. Have fun and make something that truly shows the world who you are.


About Dave

In his own words: When I am not fighting dragons or chasing the bogey man out of my kids closet, I like using my previous Online Optimization skills to help other authors with the ‘technical’ stuff and get the right authors to the top of Amazon and any other eBook service out there.

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Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Moving On: The Next Steps in My Writing Journey

Okay, I have been vague and not at all enlightening about the upcoming changes in my writing journey. Today, I want to tell you all exactly what my plans are and how I will be sharing them on this blog.

Point blank: my goal is to begin my own author-entrepreneur business through which I will publish my books and offer other services. 

Now, this is a long game. I am not going to just slap my NaNoWriMo manuscript up on Amazon and call myself a published author. No way! The journey to publication will take me several months, and the journey to being a full-time author will probably take me several years. However, now that I have my first drafted manuscript, I am ready to begin.

Below is the list of steps that I will be taking to move toward publication by November 2015. They are in rough chronological order, but there is some overlap and flexibility based on how my journey unfolds. For those of you who are also looking to independently publish, I hope these steps will serve as a very rough guide for one approach to the process.

1. Begin writing my next novel.

2. Edit and revise my NaNoWriMo novel.

3. Find beta readers for my first novel.

4. Start my author-entrepreneur business as an LLC.

5. Hire professional editors (developmental, copy, and proofreading) to help me polish my first novel.

6. Hire a cover artist to design my first novel’s cover.

7. Refine and expand my online author platform (starting with an update to this blog!).

8. Create an email list.

9. Expand my online writing community through guest posts, book reviews, and forums.

10. When my first novel is ready to publish, send out advanced reader copies (ARCs) in return for reviews.

11. Market and publish my first novel on multiple platforms.

12. Diversify my income by turning out more products (not just books!).

13. Continue researching, self-educating, and keeping up with industry changes.

If you do not know what I mean when I refer to these steps, or if you are interested in learning more about how to take them, don’t worry! I will be detailing each step as I take it on this blog, and I will also be rewinding the clock to explain the steps I have already taken.

That’s my plan in the broadest of strokes. There is a lot to do, but luckily, I can take it one step at a time AND I have you all for support.

If you see anything that I may have forgotten, have any questions you cannot wait for other blog posts to answer, or want to share your own plans and tips, please hit me up in the comments!

Book Reviews, Writing & Publishing Articles

Feedback Friday, Review: Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is a solid guide to building a brand and using social media. Due to the range of subjects covered, I would say that this book would be useful for all experience levels, but most useful for beginner and intermediate platform creators.

Platform is divided into five parts: “Start With Wow,” “Prepare to Launch,” “Build Your Home Base,” “Expand Your Reach,” and “Engage Your Tribe.” Hyatt begins by describing the product/brand creation process: how to select a name, how to garner attention, and how to create a “wow” experience. As the book progresses, he moves into advertising and marketing, utilizing social media, and starting a blog and growing its following.

Within each section, Hyatt begins with the very basic procedures and then works his way up to more technical realms. For instance, Hyatt provides step-by-step guides on how to create Twitter accounts and blogs, then expands on how to use them strategically, and eventually, how to track one’s statistics. While this structure is useful for a beginner, it can be a bit redundant for more experienced social media users and marketers. Therefore, I would encourage experienced individuals to read the book in a non-linear format in order to avoid wasting time on simplistic chapters.

My main criticism of Platform is that Hyatt deems it “A Step-by-Step Guide for Anyone with Something to Say or Sell.” He claims that the procedures work for companies, products, and individuals. However, as the book goes on, he gets less focused on this comprehensive model and more into the individual aspects. Admittedly, social media and blogging are somewhat more geared toward individuals than companies. However, I still feel like Hyatt was not true to his premise in the way that he actively focused more on individuals than products and companies for the bulk of the text. (Of course, as someone who read Platform for individual branding purposes, this does not bother me personally.)

Structurally speaking, Platform is strictly organized with lists, graphics, and certain font styles. This is both a positive and negative. On the positive side, it creates continuity between chapters, makes the content easier to absorb, and helps the reader memorize the tips. On the negative side, the format does begin to feel tired and the predictability becomes a bore after a few dozen chapters. In short, while the structure may be a bit boring in fashion, it is necessary and helpful in function, which is clearly more important.

Overall, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is a comprehensive guide to starting a brand and using intelligent and creative marketing to grow it. Platform is accessible to beginners while still being useful to intermediates and experts. If you are looking for a place to start your platform, or strategies for expanding and analyzing your traffic, this is the book for you.

View all my reviews


platformIf you are interested in reading Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World  and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it at my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.

Thank you!