Tips on How to Build a Personal Brand For Yourself as a Writer
When your name is mentioned, what emotion do people feel? Is it exactly what you would like for them to feel? This is where personal branding comes to play. As a writer who dreams to make the craft much more than an activity for your leisure time, you should take the perception of your work more seriously. This is why we decided to share some tips on how to build a personal brand for yourself as a writer.
It takes time to attain the visibility of a widely read writer. You have to keep at it. Work really hard. Beat deadlines. Get piles and piles of rejection letters. Battle self-doubt. Get lots of promises (which would not be fulfilled, by the way). Stay up late into the nights. Beg for platforms. Do free jobs or be underpaid. Write, rewrite, edit, rewrite. It takes a lot of determination to get there and what makes it easier is the fact that every day of hard work only gets us closer.
What is Personal Branding?
Is this about adding ‘poet’ or ‘writer’ to your name? No dear, it is not about the suffix or prefix. It is not about choosing the best pen names there is in the literary community. It is not also as simple as getting a striking logo designed for you. Although all these and a few other things (which I would mention), sum up into becoming the physical parts of the brand.
Most times, people spend time building a brand even without knowing. Being intentional becomes important when they want to get optimum results of owning a distinct brand. What does it mean to intentionally build a personal brand for yourself as a writer?
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When you are thinking about a brand for yourself as a writer, think about: a promise your art is making to the world. Is this promise to a certain group of people? This means that you are going to be writing for or to a certain group of people (i.e your audience). Do you choose the disabled, abused, traumatized, boychild, etc?
And secondly, how do you intend to fulfil this promise? You choose a vehicle with which to convey your message to your audience. It could be via stories, poetry, essays, nonfiction or whatever
Why Brand Your Art?
If you write mainly as a hobby, personal branding might not mean much to you. But if you are looking to make a career out of your craft you would need to carefully read this. Author branding is a very important aspect of monetizing the writing craft. Just like other big brands out there, you have to spot your unique selling point and leverage on it to deliver value to the world.
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Branding gives shape and direction to your passion. It helps you to take out time to answer important questions such as, what do I write? Why do I write it? For whom do I write? If you successfully answer these questions you will be able to come up with something tangible.
How to Build a Brand Which will Stand the Test of Time
Know yourself. What is unique about you? Your weaknesses and your strengths. Build on your strengths. Feed your strengths until they swallow up your flaws. If you fake it, it will be difficult to sustain it. Because the success of any brand depends on consistency and what cannot be sustained has no chance of being consistent. Knowing yourself will help you get a defined center of gravity (goals) which stands as a converging point for every one of your moves. Take some time to discover yourself first, this will make it easier for you to find something that can propel you.
Look at the big picture. Project where you see yourself in the next 5, 10 years, what can you consistently deliver? What are the issues you want to thrash? Why you are in the best position to do that? If in the next 10 years you want to be the best travel writer in your country, you have to work at it. Know about various cultures, be familiar with different accents, and strengthen your narrative writing skills.
Do not write for everybody. Clearly delineate the audience you want to reach. Study your audience, understand them very well to enable you to connect with them easily. Jumping from genre to genre, writing for yourself without considering your audience, or wanting to write for everyone are some of the mistakes writers make when they start building a brand. Versatility is good but try to see that everything you do draws attention to one big picture. But bear in mind that you risk not having a strong fan base. A little here and a little there does not produce the best results.
Who do you want to be like? Who already has a similar brand to that which you want to build? Definitely, there must be writers who have recorded incredible success reaching the same audience you have in mind. Watch them closely. Read their works. Emulate them but do not turn yourself to a duplicate. Don’t throw away your chance to be original.
Selling yourself becomes easier when you properly brand yourself. A hawker who knows the name of the wares in her tray will know exactly what to chant in the marketplace. You will be able to choose a name, and a distinct writing persona (if you want to give your writing form and hide behind a mask). It will be easier to choose the right colors, fonts, writing tone, and the other physical attributes of your brand.
Once you decide on the name to go by, that name should be what you are known as across all platforms. Your voice and your tone should also carry this uniformity which makes you stand out. We are not saying that you will not evolve. You definitely will. The world is dynamic. Nothing is static. This is why we often advise writers to welcome change and make it comfortable. Just make sure to devise an evaluation tool to ensure that you are making progress.
To share your thoughts, or ask questions, leave a comment!
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