Monday, February 03, 2020

What's Your Author Brand?

Creating an author identity that readers recognize. 


One of the buzzwords in the author business is “brand.” You should have an identity that lets readers know what to expect from your books. You carry out that brand identity in a bunch of different ways.

1. Establish who you are and what you and your books represent.

2. Use social media, book covers and graphics to reinforce that brand.

I have a problem, because I write different kinds of books, so it’s difficult to put together one brand that encompasses both my cozy golden retriever mysteries (straight hero, no sex or violence on the page) and my gay mystery and romance novels (gay protagonists, with occasional vivid sex scenes that reinforce the plots).

My advice to new writers? Establish different pen names for each genre, and that way you can develop your brand more easily.

But I’m stuck. So what can I do?

First, I’ve divided my mailing list into two groups. When I write to the list that is interested in my golden mysteries, I focus on DOGS as my brand. I include photos of my own goldens, cute dog memes and so on.

When I write to my gay mystery and romance newsletter group, I focus on the tagline “Gay men in love and danger.” This encompasses my Have Body, Will Guard series, where bodyguards Aidan and Liam travel the world rescuing gay men from danger (as they did in a recent outing to Chechnya).

It also allows me to promote my Mahu series, about an openly gay Honolulu homicide detective, and my Angus Green series, about a young gay FBI agent in Miami finding his way.

I mix my posts to social media. I figure that most people don't even see them, so if a dog fan sees me posting something about Mayor Pete's presidential campaign, he or she will simply move on.

On my author page, I stick to making posts about writing. These copy over automatically to my personal page, so people see them no matter which page they follow. I'll say things about the technical aspects of writing-- looking for repeated words, for example. Also about my progress with what I'm working on, for fans who are eager for the next release in a series.

It's a more difficult balancing act because I'm working with two brands simultaneously. Any other authors in this situation? What do you do? And fans, do you care if you see something about the author's "other" brand?

For more on this subject, check out Joanna Penn. She explains what branding is and why your brand matters, and has a great post on 7 Best Ways to Build an Authentic Author Brand.

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Did you know that I have a new Have Body Will Guard book out? When Aidan Greene's ex calls after ten years with a peremptory demand for bodyguard services, Aidan's tempted to say no, even though he hears real despair in Blake's voice.

After a reminder that the two of them are in their forties, and that personal protection is a young man's game, Aidan and his husband Liam have stepped back, marrying and taking a staycation at their home outside Nice. But Liam misses the adventure, and Aidan is curious about his ex and the man Blake has married, Latin diplomat Ricardo Levy.

Ricardo is recovering from a psychotic break, and sees danger all around him, but he's determined to attend a conference in the Bahamas where he will reveal information that may have profound international ramifications.

Quickly, Aidan and Liam are at a luxury resort on Paradise Island, watching for danger and wondering if the threats are all in Ricardo's head-or if they are very real.

Do we ever lose the bonds that connect us to past loves? Aidan and Blake will come to a reckoning about the events that began the Have Body, Will Guard series-and learn something about the madness of love along the way.

You can order from Amazon or the e-retailer of your choice.

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