Writing with the intent to publish requires more than putting pen to the paper. In a world wonderfully flooded with books, authors have to find a way to make our work stand out.
However, words like “Marketing” and “Branding” can seem a bit frightening, especially for those of us who are new to the game.
Today, Katie Phillips has graciously agreed to stop by and share some of her insights on author branding, and to offer guidance for those of us who could use it!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Katie! Would you please share a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m a fiction editor and author coach helping up-and-coming women authors writing sci/fi fantasy to create breakthrough in their writing craft and branding.
I offer developmental editing and private writing and branding coaching, as well as hosting my signature author branding and business group course, Own Your Story, which opens for enrollment April 6th. (You can learn more about my story and services on my website, www.katiephillipscreative.com).
I’ve been a writer and editor for 10+ years, graduated from the Christian Writers Guild journeyman mentorship program under author DiAnn Mills, helped found an indie publishing house, and was a finalist for 2017 AWSA Fiction Editor of the Year.
My clients have gone on to be finalists and win prestigious awards, be picked up by agents, sign with publishers, receive a Publishers’ Weekly starred review, and sell out of their debut novel.
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m climbing rock walls with my construction worker/dancer husband, traveling overseas, watching Marvel movies, or eating sushi and strawberries (though not at the same time).
For those of us who might be a bit shaky on the term, how would you define branding? What does it entail?
What is an author brand? It’s the essence of your personality and story that’s reflected in your books. Your author brand helps readers get to know, like, and trust you, and tells them what they can expect from you and your books. A brand makes you memorable to potential ideal readers and boosts your visibility. Your visual brand (which is what most people think is your brand) is merely the outward reflection of your inner brand story.
How did you become interested in helping authors establish their individual brand?
My interest in branding came out of my frustration during the first year of my fiction editing business. I knew I had something valuable to offer, but felt invisible to the women authors I wanted to serve.
Thankfully, I met Michell Knight, my branding and business coach, and enrolled in her five-month group course.
This was transformational for me and took my business to the next level. She taught me how to nurture a community of the right people and speak directly to them on an emotional level.
As I began to connect with women authors, I noticed so many of them were struggling to get traction when building a platform or marketing their books. It’s incredibly frustrating to be promoting something you passionately believe in and getting crickets!
Since an author branding course didn’t exist (I looked!), I decided to develop my own program to help the women authors I love achieve breakthrough and master their marketing.
It’s fantastic that you were able to take what you learned and pass it along!
If you’re willing, would you mind sharing some common branding mistakes that you’ve observed?
There are three common mistakes I see authors make when it comes to their branding.
Mistake #1: They don’t know their audience. If you don’t know exactly who you are, why you’re reaching out to them, and what they’re looking for in an author or book, you can’t connect with them emotionally.
Mistake #2: They think an author brand = a visual brand. Not true. Pretty graphics will get you nowhere if you don’t have an effective author brand for them to communicate to your audience. This is a big reason why many authors’ marketing efforts are largely ineffective.
Mistake #3: They refuse to choose a genre/niche. Unpopular opinion, but I’m sticking with it. For every genre you try to shoehorn into your author brand, you make it exponentially more difficult to get traction with your brand because readers don’t know what to expect from you. You’re dividing your focus and your limited resources trying to reach multiple audiences. Pick a lane, or you’ll be all over the road and get nowhere fast.
I’ll be talking about how to correct these mistakes in my free Author Branding Challenge that starts Monday!
Ooooh, the challenge sounds great- would you give us the details, please?
You’re invited to join me for my FREE Author Branding Challenge, April 1-5th. You’ll receive daily emails with branding insights on the topic of the day, as well as a downloadable workbook to follow along, daily live video Q&As in the private challenge Facebook group, and daily discussion questions and assignments.
You can join the challenge at https://mailchi.mp/bf8f3ca2a606/authorbrandchallenge.
Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing your expertise, Katie!
Fellow writers- what do you have to add? Have you found things that worked in establishing your brand? Have you found things that didn’t? Have you even started thinking about branding?
Many thanks for visiting!