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How to Kickstart Your Author Brand in Three Steps

blog post article about how to kickstart your author brand


 What's an author brand and when do you start building one?

Everyone's been buzzing about author branding lately, and I've stumbled upon articles claiming that it's not just about flashy business cards and logos. It's about cultivating a recognizable writing style, championing a cause, and how you conduct yourself on social media, among other things.

While there's truth to this assertion, especially at the outset in your career, first impressions count. When encountering an author online, you form opinions based on their social media presence, book covers, and the visual content they share. We're always sizing each other up, a skill that often shields us from deception and steers us away from fruitless ventures.

Establishing your author brand early on is crucial for connecting with potential readers and cultivating a loyal fanbase.

Let's face it—people truly value the significant efforts put forth by self-published authors and other creative individuals. We all know someone like that—a quiet dreamer bursting with ideas, whether they're a poet, writer, musician, or artist. But honestly if you search for your next read, music to listen or art for your wall, you likely go and buy some bestseller book, buzzed lately music album, or boring print that is on trend now, right? Everyone look up to the towering figures of our time.

The distinction between them and you
lies in their well-established brand,

one that they consistently nurture with each post, every product launch, and every interaction with their audience.

In Bulgaria, there's a saying:

"They welcome you by your clothes,
but they send you off by your mind."

The same principle applies to crafting your visual Author Brand.


Three-step foundation to kickstart

your Author Brand

As a serious author, building a recognizable and respected author brand is crucial for long-term success. There are three essential components you must have to establish and develop your author brand effectively:


»  Professionally Finished Books

Your books need to have a polished, professional look. End of story.

This includes everything from the cover design and formatting to the editing and overall presentation.

A professional finish not only attracts readers but
also signifies that you take your writing career seriously.


»  An Author Website

An author website is indispensable.

It provides a platform that social media cannot replace.

Social networks are transient and their algorithms are always changing, making it difficult to maintain a consistent presence. In contrast, a website is a stable, long-term investment in your author brand.

Imagine you're a new author, and no one outside of your immediate circle knows about your book. How do you stand out and ensure that readers see you as a committed and serious writer, not just someone dabbling in literature? This is where your author brand comes into play.

A well-designed website:

»  Showcases Your Style

It reflects the genre and theme of your books, helping to build a cohesive visual brand.

Your style and personality don't really matter when it comes to author branding. Author branding is about showing the audience what you want them to see and recognize as part of themselves. The author brand is created for the audience and should speak directly to your ideal reader.

For example, if you write thrillers or mystery books, the website design should include elements that set a serious tone, with a dark color palette and bright contrasts to maintain the observer's attention and tension.

If you write epic fantasy, the design should feature suitable fantasy elements and backgrounds in appropriate colors, transporting the reader to a fantastical world.

If you write in multiple genres, it's a good idea to have separate internal pages that set the relevant tone, presenting your books in harmony with the expectations of each target audience.

»  Projects Professionalism

An amateurish site can undermine your credibility.

A professional website tells readers that you are serious about your craft.

Imagine this:

blog article about how to build an author brand in three steps

You’re on vacation in Italy. You don’t speak the language, but that doesn’t faze you. You’re on a mission to find a restaurant that not only serves great food but also immerses you in an authentic, stylish, and comfy atmosphere, promising a good time. You download a local app, pull up a list of local eateries and start scrolling. Wow, what a selection! Some have thousands of reviews, some just five, but they all sport shiny 4 and 5-star ratings with glowing comments. Some spots might be new, so it’s only natural they have fewer reviews.

Remember, the number of reviews doesn’t always mean you’ll love it.

Next step:

you check their website to see if the prices fit your budget and to get a feel for the vibe.

Honestly, I’ve skipped many restaurants simply because they didn’t have a website. In this day and age, if you’re serious and want customers to leave reviews, you need to declare to the world

that you exist and offer something awesome -

you need a website.

Okay, you spot a fantastic restaurant with rave reviews and oh, great - there is a website!

Excited, you click to check it out... and instantly want to back away.

The sections are scattered like a jigsaw puzzle, the photos look like they were taken with a potato, and the text is either a novel or a haiku. Spelling errors abound, and good luck finding any helpful links or buttons where you’d expect them. The structure is... well, there is no structure. The whole site screams, "DIY disaster" or at best, "template catastrophe."

I don't know about you, but I'm not about to trust my dining experience to a place that can’t even get its website together. I mean, if they can't organize their site, how can they organize my meal, right?

Now, of course, books and authors are a different ballgame.

Plenty of bestselling authors don't have websites.

Yes, yes, give yourself a round of applause!

If you have the PR and marketing muscle of a big traditional publisher, you might just get away with it. But even then, those publishers will likely nudge you to have a website because, let's face it, having one is almost always better than not.

It’s an investment in your business.

Unless you’re selling apples at a farmers' market,

you need a professionally built website
that showcases your food—I mean, your literature.

»  Serves as a Hub

An author website acts as a central point where readers can learn about you, your books, and your writing journey.

How to create a web page

that attracts readers?

Feeling puzzled about what to fill your site with when you've only got one book out there?

»  Blog or/and Short Stories

It's a fab way to flaunt your writing chops and dive into various topics, bonding with potential readers on a deeper level.

Offering free short stories on your site can draw in new readers

who may then be interested in purchasing your books.

Foster Engagement: Short stories can create a dialogue and emotional connection with your readers. Encourage feedback and start conversations with your fans, deepening their connection to your work.

»  Free eBook

Building an Email List: Include a subscription section on your website and offer a free ebook in return via email. But hey, no sloppy stuff here! We're talking polished, sleek formatting, and a killer cover. This isn't just any old freebie, it's a special, one-of-a-kind deal that'll make them feel like they've hit the jackpot. And trust me, this investment in quality will come back to you in spades down the road.

An email list is invaluable for
announcing new releases and keeping your audience engaged.


These are the three must-haves for kickstarting your author brand. Don't hesitate to drop your queries in the comments section—I'm here to steer you through the labyrinth of structure, UI & UX design, SEO optimization, or any other puzzlers you encounter.

Sarah Kate Ishii, writing coach, publishing consultant, founder of Storycraft Gateway

Not the DIY type, huh? No worries! Let me help you with my skills and professional expertise. I'll whip up a site tailored to your needs, presenting your work in a way that dazzles your audience.

How to master the art of 'show, don't tell' in your writing



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