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Author Branding



Author Branding

One of the greatest parts of being a highly creative person who shares their work with others who enjoy it is this...no one can ever ever take it from you. It can’t be taught, forced, or manipulated, by anyone else. It’s hard for most people to even understand, to be honest. How can someone create something out of nothing? No order given, no guidelines, no rules or regulations, no fixed direction on what to do or where to go. I assume that most of you reading this right now don’t really see this as being any big task at all, as you’re you’re all highly creative people just like I am...but understand...it’s not like that for everybody. What you have is a specific talent that many don’t, and might never be able to, understand. Take pride in that. It will be one of the biggest strengths in your writing...finding the courage and the confidence in whatever it is that you, and you specifically, have to bring to the table as an author.

The more you engage your talents in the art of making the intangible tangible, the more they will evolve and expand. You take a few chances over ‘here’ that you might not have taken before. Maybe you add some details and depth to a scene over ‘there’ that you might have originally skipped over as a less experienced writer. No matter what is that you’re trying out or experimenting with...you become more closely intertwined with your own work. And the more honest and more vulnerable you are with your storytelling...the more it becomes a unique part of you, and vice versa. Soon, you as a writer become recognizable in your work. And this is something that I truly believe can be used to your advantage when building a fanbase and a varied body of work that you can be proud of.

Now, this doesn’t have to be your thing if you want to go into every story, brand new, and just want to entertain with each project standing on its own two feet. It’s a very cool approach and works well if that’s your goal. But I feel like if you want to create a collection of quality stories that expresses the best parts of you and want to take your own spot among some of the greats...then author branding, in my opinion, is a must!

So let’s talk author branding...

What is it, and why would it be of any help to you?

Branding is the art of creating this awesome mystique about you and your talents that will create a bond of trust between you and your readers. It is the ‘you’ that they are sure to recognize whenever they read your work. There’s an expectation there. A predictable level of enjoyment. When you release a brand new project, your audience should see your name, or online handle, and immediately get excited. They know what to expect, and it’s up to you to deliver.

Will everything that you write be a big hit? No. Doubtful. Nobody’s perfect, and not everything can be golden. BUT...if you’ve branded yourself as a writer of quality, you will be rewarded with a certain amount of loyalty. Even if you’re writing a story that your readers aren’t interested in...they may just peek in and give it a chance regardless. Hehehe, sometimes I’ll write a college romance, sometimes a high school romance. I might do something like science fiction one day, and may dabble into some horror, and then try fantasy, and then write more romance. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve written entire series that people told me they had no interest in...but when they finally checked it out, they took it back and became an instant fan. This is what author branding can do for you. They may not know the story, they may not know the genre...but they know ‘Comicality’. And they know I wouldn’t just release something that wasn’t close to my heart in some way, shape, or form. They know how I treat my characters, and how I weave my story plot lines together, and how I treat certain situations with infatuation or heartbreak or fear. My audience knows my sense of humor. They know that I’m going to toss some teen angst into the mix. And that I won’t shy away from being tastefully ‘naughty’ when I feel the story calls for it. These are parts of my writing that people have grown used to and can recognize when they see it...so whether the next big series sounds like it’s going to be right up their alley or not...if they enjoyed some of my other stuff, there will be a curiosity as to whether or not it’ll fall in line. And that’s a plus in the win column for me. Every time.

If you think about the many authors that you may read here on Gay Authors...you may see a few similarities in the kinds of writers and stories that attract your attention the most. Take a moment and think about what those qualities are and which writers embody them the most. Some writers might have a more poetic prose in their text, and some may be a bit more straightforward and down to earth. Some may create longer stories or series that will keep you engaged for a longer period of time, and some may enjoy writing something short and sweet and easy to digest in one sitting. What are your favorites? And why is that? Do you like writers who add a bit more sexual content in their work, or would you rather have something much more subtle or merely suggested instead of reading through any graphic depictions? All of these things are determined according to your personal taste as a reader, and your readers are no different. There’s a certain ‘flavor’ that they’ve come looking for...and if their search is in sync with your particular brand of content...then they will keep coming back to you, time and time again, whenever you post something new. They know what to expect from you. Thus...author branding.

So what is your niche? What do you enjoy writing the most, and where do you fall in when it comes to building something new? You don’t have to commit to writing just one thing or feel handcuffed to one genre, but it’s important to develop your writer’s voice in ways where it can work almost anywhere. If having a sense of humor or a certain sting of sarcasm in your storytelling or your dialogue...focus on making that your calling card. Even without seeing you named as the author, people should be able to read certain comments or get a certain vibe from your characters and know that this is your work. Either that, or a shameless duplication. Hehehe! The more in tune you are with your greatest strengths, the easier it will be to recognize your signature talents and build trust and loyalty with your audience moving forward.

That means that you have to bring your ‘A’ game each and every time you release a new story. No excuses. Because where a good brand can really help you out and showcase your abilities in a positive light...a bad brand can do twice as much damage. Even if you’ve already got a good brand going beforehand. A lazy or lackluster story will make everything else that you’ve done seem out of balance. How can you create a brand if that brand is inconsistent? It’s like...there might be a fabulous restaurant right around the corner from your house that you’ve never been to, and it might have excellent food. You’ve just never tried it before. So you grab your wallet, you leave the house...and you end up at McDonald’s. Why? Because McDonald’s is a recognizable brand. No surprises, no time or money wasted...you know what to expect and keep going back for more. There’s nothing WRONG with that...but they’re consistent. If nothing else, you’ll always have a steady line worth of business.

When it comes to building a brand as an author...you want to take that amazing little restaurant that hardly anybody knows about, get people to give you a try, and then deliver something that’s worthy of grabbing that same kind of attention. You can’t have an off day. You want to serve people something that they’ll love and come back for. And then spread the word so you can get even more people to do the same.

Don’t rush the quality of your work. Put your heart into every word. Not everything I write is going to be perfect. Far from it, in fact. But I would rather miss a deadline or put a story on hold before I post or publish something that I didn’t give an exhaustive effort to. The Comicality brand means more to me than that. It’s supposed to stand for heart, and drama, and a sincere shot at excellence. So when my name is attached to a story, readers can expect a few giggles and warm fuzzy feelings, a heavy dose of teen angst, and a few dashes of boyish nostalgia thrown in. I may take those elements and tell them in a plethora of different ways...but no matter what it is that you read by me, you can be sure to feel my life essence in there somewhere. That’s my brand, and that’s what my readers come looking for when they see me.

Something else that I always stress, but can never stress enough...put your NAME out there! Connect it to every creative endeavor that you put out there, and promote it every chance you get. Go to any website with multiple author contributions and look at how many new stories or chapters pop up each and every single day. Who are you? How are people going to learn and involve themselves in your particular brand if you don’t work to let them know, “Hey! If you liked this story, I also wrote these others over here!” Allow new readers and potential fans get familiar with your work. They may want to see more. If you can entertain them with two stories...what will story’s three and four be like? They key isn’t just to be seen as having a good story...but as a good writer. Create an aura around whatever it is that you do best and try to be as consistent with it as you possibly can be. That’s how you build a strong foundation to stand on.

Also, find a way to keep your stories all in one place. As we all know, not everybody sends in an email or leaves a comment behind. You may not even know that they’re there. Have a space of your very own where if a reader comes to the end of one of your stories and decides that they like it...they can easily click a button to move on to something else written by you. Maybe they’ll enjoy that one too. But don’t make them ‘work’ for it. Don’t assume that somebody is going to spend extra time searching for your next story when there are thousands of other options at their fingertips.

You’ve got their attention...hold on to it!

Take your time and get your story right. Put out a champion effort if you want a champion response. Make it so every reader that has ever absorbed one of your stories in the past is antsy and fidgety to see what you’ll do next. You’re their favorite movie director. You’re that band that they’ve waited forever to hear a new album from. Build up a dependable brand by becoming one with the words you type out on your keyboards...and half of the excitement for your new story will already be taken care of before they even read a single word. Cool?

Anyway, I hope this helps you guys when it comes to the ins and outs of this whole chaotic writing process. I realize that there’s a lot to think about, but if you can take all of the elements that we’ve talked about so far ad put them together? There’s no way you can lose!

Take care! And I’ll seezya soon with more!


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