"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What's Your Brand?

You finally did it!  You’ve set out on your quest of becoming an author and decided to turn “you” into a business; perhaps you’ve even decided to self-publish. (In case you missed it, read my last post, Being An Unpublished Author:  Hobby or Business? here)
Hopefully, you’ve created a marketing plan on how to get your work known and recognized.  But, what about you, what are you doing to make “you” recognizable?   

In today’s explosive social media outlets it has become simpler to get your message out and to meet like minded professionals seeking the same quest.  But, with every positive there comes a negative.  The fact it’s become so easy has also made it become overwhelming.  The vast amount of information and images floating around inside cyberspace has seem to create its own universe filled with millions of shining stars waiting to be discovered. That’s why it’s important to create your own unique brand, one that associates “you” with your work and one that sets "you" apart from the rest.  

Once upon a time, The Unknown Author worked for a Fortune 500 company where they engaged in numerous activities involving communicating to the masses.  The one lesson learned through all those years was this; you have to communicate a message at least 17 times before anyone will begin to remember it.  (Have you ever wondered why the same commercial plays over and over and...)  So what does this mean to your brand?  It’s important for it to be consistent in order to be remembered and by that I mean consistent in all of your social media contacts. 

Some authors use a professional photo of themselves (many years ago there were some authors who used photos of someone else!), some use images of their book covers and some use a logo. 

Let’s explore the positives and negatives of these choices:  

Using a professional photo of yourself (or someone else) brings a personal touch to your brand, one that says, “Here I am and I’m proud of it!”  It puts a face to who you are.  However, as time goes on you may want to “update” your photo and this means having to re-communicate your brand all over again.  (Of course once you become a world known author this won’t matter!)

Having an image of your book cover for your brand means each time you have a new book come out your brand will change.  This can be exciting; however, if you don’t have a consistent recognizable brand your readers may not be able to find you. (Again, once you become a world known author this won’t matter!) 

A logo can be a very professional way to communicate your brand; however, it can feel a little too impersonal, a little too “corporate.” (Once again, this won’t matter once your book is turned into a box office sensation!)

Does this mean there is a right way or a wrong way to brand “you” as an author?  No, the better question would be, how do you want “you” to be recognized?  Being The Unknown Author I chose something near and dear to my heart, Efi Loo, my feline ghost writer.  She literally helped me paw my way through my first middle-grade mystery, Summertime Chills, and to me she epitomizes the essence of elegance!  In addition, since I mainly write middle-grade and YA novels and they all include a cat character, she is an image they can connect with. How about you, what’s your brand?

No matter your choice, the one thing you can do to ensure you’ll be recognized across the vast universe of cyberspace is to be consistent in your journey.

Next week, we’ll be exploring some techniques authors use when creating characters and don't forget to stay tuned for an exciting upcoming addition to The Unknown Author!

Until then,

T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author  


  1. I am eagerly awaiting your exciting upcoming addition to your blog.

    This is a pretty interesting post. I decided to go with a photo because it's me. I sometimes shave myself bald, and sometimes I have a beard. I thought the mischievous look of the photo I'm using to be the correct choice. With what I write, I don't need the look of respectability. I need something that folks will say, "What the hell is up with him now?" I write horror, some of it very deep and dark, but I also am a sort of cheerleader for other writers. A dark persona staring back at people would not show this other side of me.

    Like you, there will be another side of me to be shown when I get to my second novel series. My blog, my marketing, the whole shebang. The same, but with additions.

    Great business we're in. These are great times for writers.

  2. Blaze, thank you for the comments and yes, it is indeed a great time to be a writer!
    I like the photo you use. I believe it sends a warm welcome to the receiver and I for one immediately recognize Blaze McRob across the cyberspace universe! I think you should keep it.
    Oh, in addition, welcome to The Unknown Author's Recommended Links for Book Reviews and Author Interviews! I enjoy your Tales of Horror site.

  3. You are much too kind, T.K. I'm glad you like my picture choice. My beard picture makes me look like Father Time and puts a mean persona on my mug. The smirky smile does kind of leave an interesting visual. What is this grinning fool up to might be lurking in the viewer's mind.

    Thank you for adding me to your recommended links. I enjoy your site as well and wonder what Efi Loo is up to behind the scenes.