Recently, I posted an item praising Oliver Booth author David Desmond for having a great Web site designed for the release of his novel.
This generated several comments and e-mails from authors. Some liked the idea of having a Web site for themselves and separate sites for their works, while others thought it was too much.
This conversation led me back to branding. What is an author brand? How can having different sites help an author brand? Do authors know what their brand is?
A few Twitters later, branding expert Rob Frankel touched base to sit down and chat with me about branding. The nationwide expert is the author of The Revenge of Brand X, and offers some incredible branding insights on his blog.
Authors are all over the Web, but some have a hard time figuring out if they should brand themselves or their works. Is one better than the other?
They should brand themselves. The reason for that is because after their first book, it's much easier to sell "from the author of" than it is to re-educate the public all over again.
Is a brand about more than just a logo or a name for an author?
Yup. A logo (and most are poorly designed) is just a visual communication of your brand strategy. Of course, since few people are skilled in developing brand strategy, even fewer designers have clear direction on what it is they're trying to visually communicate. And that's why so many logos are a complete waste.
When it comes to authors, what are the best ways to brand themselves? As individuals? By serial protagonists? Or book titles – like JD Robb's "In Death" series? Or should authors consider doing them all?
Consider doing them all. These are tactics, not strategies. First, you have to figure out which brand strategy the author fits. Then you choose the appropriate tactics.
How is an author brand included in marketing and PR?
They're usually not, especially by publishers, whose idea of "marketing" is simply listing a title in their catalog and then waiting for the phone to ring. This is why I strongly endorse self-publishing, by the way. You can create, control and promote your own brand your own way, far more effectively and profitably than ANY publisher can. In fact, I have an e-book ( http://frankelbiz.com/stock/StockCatalog.php?m=store see FB-103) on that if anyone's interested.
When branding online, is it too much to have an author Web site, and then separate sites for each book, or series?
No, just the opposite. In general, I'd recommend the author have a site and sub-site for each title. In fact, that's exactly what I do myself.
How can authors protect their brand online?
See above, with regard to fans investing personal ownership. A neat example is when Revenge of Brand X first came out on Amazon, some troll posted a vicious review that was totally uncalled for. My fans immediately reacted and posted tons of good reviews.
What happens if authors don't have a brand? How will this impact their marketing efforts?
They'll be like those ineffective TV spots, when people say, "I saw this really funny commercial…I can't remember what it's for, but this guy goes into a bar…." What's the point? The author has to value himself first, his work second, if he doesn't want to risk being a one hit wonder.
If you have any other follow ups, ping me any time!
Copyright 2009 Angela Wilson0