You may be a writer but that doesn’t mean you can disregard pictures. It’s just plain rude. Don’t worry though I’m here to get you back on track and appreciating the world around you again. So welcome back to the How To Build An Author House Series. Last time we looked at you, the author, and the reasons why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you haven’t yet read that article I suggest you do so, as it will make the completion of your brand a great deal easier.
In this edition I’ll discuss branding and how it fits in to your author platform. I’m somewhat obsessed about branding and I can’t begin to tell you how important it is. In truth we began building the Brand in the last post, the Vision & Mission Statement providing the essence and soul of it. This post will focus on the aesthetics though, and how everything pulls together to create a consistent and solid identity.
So without further time wasting, the aspects we shall focus on are:
This simplified view (there’s a lot more a company would consider) offers what you need to focus on to produce a Brand about YOU. However, because of the length of this post I will be splitting it into two parts, this half focussing on:
Once again I’ll be using myself as the client, offering an insight into why I choose what.
For many of you this will be easy as the name given by your parents will suffice. Some however will prefer to use a pen name, an online alias, or a combination of different characters. I will say less is more, but there’s nothing wrong with splitting your persona, something I’m doing myself. For me it’s as follows:
Name: Matthew Turner
Online Alias: Turndog Millionaire
For some this will be controversial, but let me explain why I have chosen this particular journey. Personally I find it easier to play a character online as it allows me to be someone a little more open than I would in real life. It allows me to be more controversial and outspoken, without stepping on the toes of my everyday life that goes to work and what not. However this isn’t my only reason, as thinking down the line brings up some interesting scenarios.
As writers you’ll no doubt be thinking ahead all the time. You may be writing about Scene X, but you constantly have Scene Y in the back of your mind, looking to tie everything together so your story is fluid and lovely. You need to do the same in your author marketing activities, because what happens if you actually become successful and end up writing several books?
Matthew Turner is going to grow up and may become someone who does seminars and lectures, and writes a variety of books in different genres and styles. Turndog Millionaire however can remain the same, offering his own unique style and teachings. Having Turndog Millionaire gives me options, and options are always good. Turndog Millionaire is more of an extrovert and creative kind of guy, perfect for the online world, ducking in and out of social media. Whereas Matthew Turner is more low key and laid back, the ideal guy for certain networking events. You may think this could confuse things, but by consistently being consistent it will eliminate the confusion. It takes time, but you can create a scenario where people understand where the boundaries of your character are, recognising that Matthew Turner and Turndog Millionaire are the same, but here for different roles in my author platform.
So what about you? Ask yourself:
- Who’s my target audience?
- Is your personality a good fit for them?
- Are you an introvert or extrovert?
- Can you mange a second personality?
- Are you comfortable selling your own name?
There’s no right or wrong answer, just be careful before you do anything because consistency is key, so the decisions you make here will affect, and indeed stay with you for years to come. The main thing is you need to be comfortable, whatever that may be. As long as you’re consistent, and have a strategic reason behind it, then people will understand.
This is so important because it acts as your first impression. I mean come on, when you visit your partners work for the first time his/her colleagues are judging you on appearance, clothes, and what you say. You don’t get this online, so we judge people on their profile picture and headlines instead. Therefore I have 3 that I use:
The least important and one I use very rarely, hardly at all in fact. It’s there for insurance, for the time I need to come across as an educated business type. Think business cards, networking events, meeting publishers etc. A logo shouts out professionalism, but make sure it stays in line with whom you are. My logo is MT (Matthew Turner) because I envision that’s when it will come in handy. It also needs to stay in line with your colours scheme and fonts, but more about that in part 2 of this post.
Is a logo important for you? Possibly not, but it may come in handy from time to time and I like to be prepared, just in case I become a big deal
The most important picture because it will follow you everywhere you go. Chances are soon enough, if not already, you’ll be on half a dozen social networks, involved in writing communities, and blogging each and every day. Using different pictures all the time will kill your brand, as people will have no idea who you are. For an up and comer, well, it’s bad, lets leave it at that.
This is your first chance to impress so don’t waste a second. Choose a picture that speaks volumes, ideally showing what your Vision and Mission Statements are saying. I chose this picture because it shows me on the move, not a cardboardesque studio shot making me look like a professor from the university of self-righteous. I find girls can get away with this, but for men, well, they’re usually cringe worthy aren’t they?
It also shows me with a big city in the background, which says I travel, is on a sunny and bright day, and is generally a picture that doesn’t make me look like a muppet. I’m not saying everyone will like it, but overall it’s a picture that should have people taking notice (sunny and bright, guy in white t-shirt) and not think he’s a total tool (hand balled up to his chin looking down the lens)
Fully Body Shot (just to the left)
This is a graphic and background more than anything else, and it further allows me to extend my brand across more pages. It again fits in well with what I’m trying to portray, and the funky little blurs make it somewhat creative and shows who Turndog Millionaire is. I use this graphic across several sites, and in time I hope people will know when they’re on one of my pages because they all have that similar feel. Whether they’re reading Matthew Turner or writing to Turndog Millionaire, the consistency will shine through.
So do you need this? No, but why not, right? It helps extend your brand across your author platform, which is what this post is all about, and will make things much easier further down the line.
Below are a few sites I suggest you look at and focus on their pictures and names. Ask yourself:
- What are your perceptions of them?
- How do they come across?
- Are they consistent across social media/pages?
- How do you compare to them currently?
It’s all about consistency and choosing a set of processes that best defines you. Just like your writing defines who you are, the brand you portray will do the same. The only difference being you need the brand first to get people to notice your author platform and eventually buy your book.
Soooooo brings the end of part-1, but part-2 will follow shortly, discussing colours, fonts, and how all these elements come together to make your Brand Identity (or the main character in your book if you will). Thanks for reading and any questions or comments you may have please write below, it would be great to get some conversations going about your author marketing activities.
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million