I’m in the process of reworking my author brand right now, and so I had a photoshoot yesterday with my good friend who is an amazing photographer. And as I’ve been thinking about how to communicate my message through visuals, I decided to break down the process for you.
Because when it comes to creating an author brand, you have to represent it in both words and pictures.
So here’s a breakdown of what I do to create my author brand through visuals:
1. Choose Your Words
You’ll want to choose 3-5 words that represent who you are and what you stand for.
Here are the words I chose for my brand:
Those words absolutely represent me, what I believe in and what I stand for.
What words represent you?
2. Think About Your Author Message
Your author message is the core thread that ties everything together–yourself, your books, your products/services, your content. Your author message is essentially what you believe the world most needs to know/hear.
All authors need a message, fiction and nonfiction included.
An example: my author message is “you can create anything you set your mind to.” This is a deeper-layer message from the one I had prior, which is “take control of your writing destiny.” Both represent me, my brand and what I stand for.
What do you stand for? What do you believe? What message do you feel the world most needs to hear?
3. Brainstorm Visuals
Now that you know the words and your message, you’re going to use to represent your author brand, you can brainstorm ideas for how to show them visually.
So when I think about how to show my words visually, here are some examples of what I come up with:
- Outfits that make me feel and look like a badass, such as ripped jeans and a shirt with studs (badass)
- Sparkles, on my shoes and shirt (’cause sparkles look like “magic” to me)
- Writing on my laptop in the middle of nature (freedom)
And then, of course, the location where you shoot your photos also plays into creating the visual brand.
How can you visually represent your brand? Brainstorm some ideas in your journal.
4. Choose Your Props
Props are a big part of communicating through visuals. If you see a picture of a guy holding a guitar, there’s a pretty good chance he’s a musician, right? The guitar communicates the message of “musician.”
Here are the props I’ve picked out for my photoshoot:
- My dog, Weiland (’cause he’s my brand mascot)
- Stack of my books
Those props will easily communicate “writer” and “author.”
What props can you use to communicate who you are?
5. Hire A Good Photographer
Be sure to hire a good photographer who actually knows what they’re doing. A good photographer will be able to come up with a whole bunch of ideas for how to communicate your words through the pictures.
You can find a good photographer by:
- Asking around
- Asking someone you know whose work is awesome
- Checking out portfolios
- Looking for photographer-for-hire ads on Craig’s List or other service-based websites
- Googling “photographer” plus “your city”
A good photographer will be the icing on the cake.
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What words represent your author brand? Share in the comments.
Are you ready to UNLEASH the power of Manifestation Marketing so you can EXPLODE your fanbase and SELL MORE books? I’ve got something super awesome coming… get on the interest list so you’re the first to know when I announce it.
Hear me out on this one. Because I know up front it seems like it makes total sense to keep all of your creative work and projects separate from each other by having different websites. The books with the books. The artwork with the artwork. The whatever with the other whatevers.
Logically it does makes sense. Keep everything separate and contained in one place, so that it’s nice and neat and no one gets confused.
Here are the arguments I often hear for having multiple websites:
- People will get confused if I have multiple projects on one site
- People will get distracted
- Readers don’t want to see information about your writing services and writers don’t want to see information about your books, etc.
- It will be harder to get people interested in what I’m doing/interested in following me if I have too much stuff on one site that doesn’t go together
And, yes, all of those arguments are totally valid. Having multiple websites, one for each project or focus you have, is the traditional way of thinking about marketing.
But there’s a better and much more effective way to think about it: the Digital Age way.
In the Digital Age, there is power in being YOU. There is no one else in the world exactly like you–there never has been and there never will be.
Being you makes you unique, automatically.
So rather than try to separate or compartmentalize all the different things that make up who you are and what you do (which is the traditional way of doing it), put them all together with YOU as the thing that ties it all together.
I’m better with examples… so here’s a quick graphic I drew up to illustrate what I’m talking about:
The black-marker drawing is the old way of thinking, that everything you do has to be separate from each other. The blue-marker drawing is the new way of thinking about it.
I call it the “Authorpreneur Brand.” What that means is, you as the writer/author are the “umbrella” that everything else falls under. Think of it like a celebrity brand. A celebrity has her movies and her music, her makeup line and her haircare line, etc. But all of it fits on the same website because the thing that brings it all together is her as the celebrity.
Yes, you can also have separate websites if you prefer, to let people find out more or go deeper. But you can still use one website as the “home base” for all of that (and then just connect your main website to all the sub-sites).
One of the bigger arguments I hear for having multiple sites is that people will get confused or readers don’t want to see your writing services and vice versa. But here’s the truth: by being you, you will attract your ideal audience, and your ideal audience will buy into YOU, not into what you do.
Meaning, people who love you and love who you are and who resonate on a deep level with you, will want to know everything that you’re doing. They’ll want to follow all of the stuff you have going on. (And the rest of them don’t matter!).
Makes it a lot easier for them to do that when you have one website, right?
So that’s my reason for recommending you have one main website for everything you do as an authorpreneur.
I’ve done the multiple website thing. I used to totally believe that you had to keep it all separate. So I had a website focused on motivation and inspiration for writers called Procrastinating Writers; and I had a website focused on creative wellness and the writing life called InkyBites; and then I had a website for my author brand and coaching services called JenniferBlanchard.net.
Problem was, I was spread so freaking thin trying to keep up with all these sites that I wasn’t being effective in any one area. I was making very little impact. And I’m here to make an impact on the writing world.
In order to do that, I had to suck all those other brands up into one brand: Jennifer Blanchard. Me, as the authorpreneur, at the center of everything.
So many of us writers are multipotentialites, meaning we’re passionate about multiple things, not just writing. And it’s totally OK for us to be this way. But it does make marketing a bit more challenging.
One way to make it easier on yourself is to find a way to make yourself the brand and build everything else from that.
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How can you pull together all of your interests and passions under YOU as the brand?