August 21, 2018
Note From Rochelle
I’ll be announcing my fall classes later this week. Until then, if you have been blogging, speaking, or teaching for some time—you may have already written enough content for a book! Consider purchasing my class, Leverage Your Content: How to Easily Create a Book from Articles, Blog Posts, and Speeches. The class comes with several worksheets to help you get started on transforming your blog posts and essays into books!
Today I’m delighted to bring you an interview with my good friend and colleague Esther Lemmens—a brand consultant who helps people develop consistent branding across platforms. She did a great job helping me develop my brand, and I know her ideas will help you.
Writers@Work: Branding for Authors
An Interview with Visual Brand Consultant Esther Lemmens
Hi Esther! It’s great to have you on the blog. You are a Visual Brand Consultant and you help all kinds of people get clear about their brand and make it more consistent. Can you talk about what you do?
Sure! I love helping unconventional entrepreneurs make their branding memorable and recognizable so they attract more of their ideal clients. A strong brand that is aligned with your business and values builds TRUST. It helps you clarify your message, reach the right people and make meaningful connections.
Let’s back up a moment. What is branding?
Branding is not your logo or colors – although these are all elements of your visual brand. It’s also not the product you sell (which, for authors, would be books first and foremost of course) – although again, this is an important part of your brand. In the end, it’s about how you make someone feel. You do this with your writing, but also in how you present yourself, in person and online. Your brand is experienced by your audience from when you first meet someone all the way through to when your readers are raving fans! To build your platform, it’s important to be consistent – in your visual presentation (which makes you recognizable and memorable) and your communication (in your writing, but also your other communication, which reflects your values and personality). All these things build a brand!
Why is branding important for authors?
It’s important for any business—and if you want to sell books, that’s what you have, a business, right? The thing is, when you start putting yourself out there, you have a brand—whether you know it or not. May as well make it intentional! Besides that, I’ve heard writing and publishing the book is only 20% of the energy involved: 80% goes into marketing it. That’s definitely why you want a strong brand in place!
Why is it important to be consistent in one’s brand—and what might that look like?
Consistency is important on all levels! It goes all the way through from when people first meet you to them being raving fans. Consistency comes into play in your visual presentation so that you become recognizable and memorable. It’s important in your communication: are you a person of your word, and do you keep in regular contact with your tribe?
What do you recommend for authors who have multiple audiences—maybe they have both novels and nonfiction books or they write for both children and adults? How can they create a unified brand?
I’d like to use Joanna Penn as an example. She has two brands: one for fiction, one for non-fiction. She uses a different pen name for each. Whether to ‘split’ your brand depends on how different they are and how you want to promote each.
Quite a few authors ‘are’ their brand, meaning their name is the brand. So you could set up a website with your name as a domain, and then you can have different menu tabs for different categories of your writing, and in addition on the home page, make these categories easy to identify immediately so visitors know exactly where they need to go at first glance..
If your writing categories and audiences are very different, you could consider giving that particular category its own online identity, and brand it as the title of a series, for example. Often, a natural path will develop as your writing develops, and you add to your book portfolio. It’s always good to look at how other authors are doing this, to see what would work and not work for your own brand – that said, don’t just copy what someone else is doing – ensure you stay true to your own brand.
What are some simple steps that an author can take to begin the branding process?
Find the balance between their own self-expression and what their readers respond to! Choose your colors, for example, with this in mind. Also, don’t invest too much time and money up front, or when you are still figuring it all out. Start small and simple, and build up from there. Consider how you connect with your readers—a Facebook page may be better than a fancy website!
Ensure you have your brand foundations in place; knowing your audience, knowing where you want your writing to take you, and making connections with your audience in an authentic and aligned way, before you worry about things like logo design. Logo, colurs and fonts (your visual identity) often flow naturally out of the brand foundations.
And of course, I ask everyone: what are you reading now?
I’m reading Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life (beautiful book and content!) and also Smoke and Iron, book 4 in Rachel Caine’s Great Library series.
About Esther Lemmens
I describe myself as visual arts lover, book and word addict, course junkie, ethical eco-warrior, organic foodie, green tea connoisseur, holistic health geek, professional pedant and crazy cat lady, with a zest for life!
I’m a Visual Brand Consultant with almost 20 years’ experience in Graphic Design and Creative Artworking (the technical and detailed process of preparing documents for print), and I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs get the best out of their brand by ensuring it is recognizable, memorable, and applied consistently in their online and offline presence. I’m a natural improver: I love making things look better and work more efficiently. I really enjoy getting into the details!
You can find out more details about me here.
Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at https://www.writenowcoach.com.