A lot of people think that branding only matters with your marketing. They get excited about logos and colors and what their websites should look like. What color pallets will attract their ideal readers?
That’s kinda right.
Marketing is about finding the people who would be interested in what you’re selling.
Branding is about creating a product said people would be interested in and offering to them in a manner they'll trade money for.
The biggest part of your brand has nothing to do with your sale's base, however. Your brand has to deal with what you can provide on a consistent basis. What book can you write that won’t sap your soul of its energy pennies?
Your brand is a promise to your reader that states what you can consistently provide to them.
How do you figure out what your brand is, though?
Identify What You Already Write
This is actually pretty hard to do, but as you’re reading your own work, you should get a pretty good idea of what makes you feel good about reading your story.
For me, it’s my characters. I get frustrated by a lot of other authors’ characters because they feel shallow to me. I can’t connect with them because they’re doing things for no reason except to get to this “trope” scene that’s “necessary” to meet the market. So, reading is a bit challenging for me. I'm the type of person who will put down a book once my frustration tolerance level has been met.
So, if I meet my frustration tolerance level in my own work, I sit back and ask why.
It’s usually because my characters are doing something stupid in order to get to a “trope” scene that I feel is needed to “meet the market.”
What Makes You Stand Out?
I’ve always kind of known that my characters are a part of my brand, but what about them? What sets my characters apart from others?
Seriously, my characters have done things that readers “don’t want to read about.” They’ve made disastrous life choices that led to this point in their lives. I dig deep and allow the reader to fully understand why they’re doing what they’re doing without using a ton of words and a lot of passive backstory to do it. I like that and so does my target audience.
My characters are gritty.
That’s my brand.
As far as genre goes, though, I’m kinda all over the place. I write fantasy and sci-fi.
I need my brand to allow for that. So, I write kickass characters with punch in fantasy and science fiction. That’s my brand. I’ve got a version of Rosie the Riveter as my logo because it embodies the mood of what my characters bring. My characters pave new paths and they do what they need to in order to make the world a better place. They don’t wait for someone to do that for them.
That’s the promise I’m offering to my readers. When I offer them a book, it will meet this brand, no matter what world I take them to.
This is the first step in your writing, planning, and marketing plans.