I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TOPIC: Author Branding (courtesy of Nikki Logan)

In a previous post I looked at some of the things you might need to consider BEFORE you receive THE CALL.

Today, I'd like to deal with author branding - a topic dealt with really well by Nikki Logan in a workshop I attended at the 2011 Romance Writers of Australia conference.

The following notes are taken from this workshop and just touch on this subject but give a great overview and some useful definitions on what it is. At the end I've also included some web articles I've found that also explain it well.

Author Branding
From Nikki Logan's "The Romance Writer's Brand" 2011 RWA workshop notes:

Do you recognize this brand?
The Importance of Branding
What is branding? In a marketing context, the term ‘branding’ refers to how you position yourself in the marketplace and how you make others perceive you.

Like a symbol burned into the hide of a particular line of cattle (denoting a particular quality, a particular heritage, a particular breed of cow), your brand will allow readers to recognise your quality, your heritage, your breed of story from amongst the rambling flock of others...

...A brand is a promise. Harlequin has lines which offer different reader promises. Each of those lines is simply a glorified publishing brand with a specific positioning statement.

A promise - to seek out new life and new civilizations and going where no one has gone before...
Types of Branding
There are three primary types of brand:
1.    Name as Brand;
2.    Genre/sub-genre as brand;
3.    Specialty as brand

Name As Brand – Recognise these?  Nora Roberts. Stephenie Meyer. JK Rowling, Stephen King, Dan Brown.  These contemporary authors could sell a shopping list if they wrote it (or put their name on someone else’s list). Their name is literally their brand and readers will buy on the promise of their name alone.

Genre/Sub-genre as Brand –  what do the following write? JR Ward. JD Robb. Stephanie Laurens. Sara Douglass. Stephen King. Danielle Steele.  These people have all turned their genre (or sub-genre) into a brand. Their names have become synonymous with the genre.

Specialty as Brand – Here’s some authors that ‘specialise’ within their sub-genre.

•    Dan Brown – mystery/adventures with mystery/adventures with cerebral, religious overtones
•    Karin Tabke: hot cops
•    Phillipa Gregory: Tudor historical
•    Nikki Logan: nature-based romance 

An internationally recognizable brand
A well established brand tells a publisher/agent that:
  1. You have marketability (if you got their attention you’ll get reader attention)
  2. You’re serious about your business (so you have to get it right or you’ll look like you’re not serious about it)
  3. You believe in yourself as a writer (a half-arsed brand or a brand that shifts and changes won’t fool anyone)
A well established brand tells a buyer/reader that:
  1. You know what you’re doing
  2. Builds author ‘promise’
  3. What sort of story/genre you represent

Some articles from the net:

Author Branding 101
Marketing 101: Author Branding
What the Heck is Author Branding & How Do You Do It Anyway?

All food for thought.

Have you thought about author branding yet?


  1. I've spent ages thinking about this, and actually have a to-do list which is very organised for me. I think the growth of the internet and of e-books makes this topic even more relevant now than it was in the past, as we have a fair degree of control over how we present ourselves online.

    Great post! Thanks Kylie (and Nikki for her ideas)

  2. Not a problem, Adina. Nikki's workshop at the last RWAustralia conference was excellent! :-)

  3. Thanks for the great post! It sure makes you think...

  4. Those are great links Kylie, that really go into the depth you need to understand *why* branding is important. It's not enough to do it becuase you're being told you should, you really have to *get* what your brand is before you can sell it to others.

  5. "Author Branding" is paramount to the success of an author's business model. Thanks, Kylie and Nicki, for these valuable tips and links.

  6. Thanks for the link! Great overview of branding :)