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3 Examples of Great Author Brands (And Why You Need A Brand Too)

Why An Author Brand Is Important

‘What’s your brand?’ is a question that may seem like nothing to do with writing, but it’s super-important in the 2020s. Social media and blogging has democratised the writing industry, bringing down barriers. But this also means it’s harder than ever to stand out!

Some reasons a brand is important include:

  • It can help you connect with agents and publishers. Having a strong public image and great social media presence are keys when it comes to networking with professionals in the writing world or when pitching your projects to agents. Having a brand lets professionals know who you are and why they should invest in your work.
  • It can help you sell books. Your brand is an identity of who you are as an author. If your readers recognize you or connect with you in some other way besides reading your book — such as by following you on social media or listening to your podcast – they may be more inclined to purchase your book.
  • It can help you make additional income. Writers make money off of book sales – including advances and royalties – and speaking engagements. However, if you build your brand through social media, podcasts, or programs like Patreon, this creates opportunities for you to earn money from additional sources, such as sponsorships, writing workshops or directly from your readers. You can then use this outside income to invest more fully in your work.

Creating a strong brand may seem difficult, but many writers that you likely read today have mastered the art of building one.

Authors With Strong Online Brands

If you’re looking for inspiration for how to set up your personal writer brand, take a look at these three authors for size … ready? Let’s go!

1) Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson’s career began when he made a connection with an editor at Tor Books. He was also chosen to complete The Wheel of Time series based on Robert Jordan’s notes. Sanderson’s novel Warbreaker was published with Tor after appearing on his own website as a serial publication for many years.

Today, Sanderson regularly publishes e-books and has an established YouTube channel and podcast. He also leveraged his fan base to launch the most successful campaign ever on Kickstarter – with an ending amount of $41 million dollars – which offers novels on a subscription basis.

2) Rupi Kaur

Kaur self-published her debut poetry collection milk and honey on CreateSpace. She had been continually rejected by literary journals and being told that poetry was rarely published. After this, she then worked to place copies of her work in local stores.

She rose to prominence on Instagram after completing and posting a controversial photography project depicting menstruation, which then brought her more followers and contributed to a rise in her popularity and led to her work being picked up by AndrewMcMeel Publishing.

Kaur’s brand is also distinguished by the fact that she uses all lowercase in her writing and only the period as punctuation. She uses this as a way to honor her Punjabi heritage.

Kaur is also known for her distinct branding and visual look of her poetry on Instagram. She regularly uses Instagram Live to teach poetry workshops to her 4.5 million followers.

3) Colleen Hoover

Hoover’s branding is a huge testament to how self-publishing and an active social media presence can work out. She began self-publishing her works in 2012 on Amazon, and her novel Slammed was reviewed by book blogger Maryse Black, which quickly catapulted the book and its sequel to spots on the New York Times bestseller list.

This in turn led Atria Books to republish Hoover’s works. In 2021, Hoover successfully leveraged the BookTok community on TikTok to build an extremely strong and loyal audience, and is often referred to as “The Queen of BookTok” due to her 1.4 million followers on the platform. She also has over 2 million Instagram followers.

Last Points

Making headway in the writing industry can be tough. Put yourself in a better position to succeed by investing time and effort into promoting your brand. This will enhance your presence in the industry and may help you get that elusive publishing deal.

Remember to revise your portfolio and social pages regularly. Small changes like re-writing your online bio can make a huge difference to your brand image.

Good luck!

BIO: Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. When not writing she spends her time doodling and embroidering. And yes, she does love all kinds of potatoes!

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