Since it is open topic this week, I wanted to talk about author brands. It has become a sort of obsession of mine as of late as I try to update my website, blog, and other sites to reflect my 'brand'.
Now, what is an author brand you ask? Well, to me it is the image that you present to your readers, agents, and fellow writers about who you are as a writer. Key point there. Now myself personally, I would rather have my website full of skulls and barbed wire. However, that doesn't really show my author brand as a fantasy writer does it?
So, part of creating your own author brand is to really think about what you write. What genre or what type of feelings do your stories present? If you write in multiple genres, how could you show the feel of all the genres at the same time?
This part can be a little difficult, especially if you write multiple genres under the same name. However, many people recoomend, and I agree, that if you write multiple genres, you should have a different pen name for each genre. For me that also means having a website for each name, each with the right theme.
Too much work you say? Well, think of it like this. I write High Fantasy right? My website reflects this with a marvelous fantasy theme to it. But I do have some ideas for sci-fi stories. Now, my High Fantasy readers and fans will know that my name on a book means High Fantasy. But if they pick it up and find out it's sci-fi they will be a bit dissapointed and probably feel a little misled. Sure, many fans read multiple genres. But, if they expect a certain thing from you and you change it on them, they still might feel a little jilted about it. So, consider your fans and your reader base when writing in multiple genres - and thus choosing an image or feel for your site and/or blog.
Pen names are important to a writer's brand also. My real name as you know is Anastasia V. Pergakis. I went by the pen name Harley D. Palmer for years! But, when I really became serious about getting published, I had to sit down and think what name to use. A friend of mine told me that my real name would look awesome on a fantasy cover and I agreed. So, began the process to change everything in "Harley's" name to "Anastasia". Will I ever use Harley again? Of course! I plan to use it later when I start to write in genres other than high fantasy. At that time, I will create another brand name and slogan to go with those stories.
And that is point here people. Create an image, a feel, and a name that all goes together. Put out there a "slogan" of a sort that people will remember and recognize. It's all about getting people to remember you and find you when they want. If they put your name into a google search, they should find YOU (the way you are on the cover of your book) all over the place. Website, blog, twitter, facebook, whatever.
For my blog, I went with a theme and layout that fit with me as a person rather than my writings. This is because that blog will be used as a central point for every thing I do under any name. So, I chose a theme that will cover all topics I ever decide to talk about. Some might tell me that my blog should match my website, or match the "fantasy" brand. However, since on my blog I talk about more than just my fantasy works, I don't think including the blog into my 'image' would fit very well. Others might feel differently and wouldn't do this the way I did. That's fine too. The main point here is to create your brand however you see fit - but just do it.
So I challenge you to sit down and really think about your 'brand' if you haven't already. Think about the future and where you want to be and how you want people to see and remember you.