What is Author Branding?

When I think of Branding, I see a small herd of calves in a pen and a hot iron. In the ranching business, branding is placing your mark upon the animals you raise. This lets others know that the animal that might find its way through the fence into other rancher’s pasture, or those that find their way onto the road, where exactly that animal belongs. It makes it harder for people to steal the animal.

Author and book branding is the same concept as animal branding. Albeit, with one major difference. We’re not using a branding iron to burn the brand into flesh. We are placing our mark upon our books or upon ourselves by creating a type of book, with the use of a set of words, or a concept. In short, author branding is you. It’s who you are as an author and your presentation of what you write. It’s the type of books you write.

Now I’ve always had a hard time with labeling things. I hate labels. I’m not talking about the labels on cans of food or clothes. I hate the labels that people place on others to create organization in their chaotic lives. Labels are harmful and can scar kids for life. And I’m going to stop that tangent right there! Because that isn’t the topic of this post.

Branding came from the need of businesses to identify products. In our case, the product is you and your books. Think of any big name author. Laurell K. Hamilton (erotica, detective, paranormal, horror). Stephen King (horror, techno thriller). Nora Roberts (romance). And the list goes on. These are their brands.

How do you know that they are successful brands? Pick up their books and look at the back covers. Notice something missing? It would be the back blurb. There’s a big picture of them and nothing to tell you what the book is about. Why? Because the author’s brand sales and people are attached to the author. They will buy the book regardless of the story.

My next post will be on how to build your author brand. If you have any questions that you would like me to hit upon, please comment below.

(Disclaimer: First, this is an updated post of one written in November 2010. Second, I don’t want to hear about the morality or cruelty branding has on animals. If anyone tries to stick it into their comment, I will delete it or edit your comment. This post is not the place for that. Please keep your comments directed on Author and Book Branding.)