For some authors, the idea of a personal brand is uncomfortable.

I get that.

Some authors tell me that they don’t want to be a brand.

But building your brand doesn’t have to be scary. Branding is simply sharing your stories and expertise while building trust.

Solidifying your brand couldn’t be more important in today’s marketplace. Once you build and establish your personal brand, no one can take it away from you.

Branding takes time and consistency

There’s a huge difference between an author who has worked to develop a strong personal brand, and an author who hasn’t invested any resources in developing an online presence.

Consider your brand as your online reputation and an extension of your business card. Together your book and your brand are credibility builders and door openers.

Branding is not something you do for a few weeks before your book comes out. If you want more control of your writing career, then get serious about your personal branding strategy by committing to working on your brand for the long haul.

Differentiating yourself is crucial

Investing time and effort in your personal brand is critical to your success as an author. If you’re asking, “What’s in it for me?” you should know the most important element of a personal brand is that it helps you stand out from the crowd and carve out your niche.

After all, there is no competition for you. Knowing how you want to differentiate yourself will save you time too, because you won’t try to be all things to all people.

Branding is about how you are perceived in the market, and today you have control over that perception. Personal brand management is about collecting and presenting the pieces that tell your story.

You can shape this perception by running all the content you create through a filter, asking: Is this congruent and true to my brand?

Social media has made branding proactive

Social media has given us an opportunity like never before to communicate with others and shape personal brands with a myriad of online tools. You can proactively build, maintain and protect your good name in the public eye by authentically investing in your brand.

Each social media outlet offers you the opportunity to build a following by generously sharing your time. With focused effort, a plan and allotted time, you can become known as an expert in your industry.

Before putting in your time though, make sure you stop to think of the goals. Your goals (get speaking engagements, help solve a problem, make your mom proud) will serve as inspiration to keep building your brand for the long term.

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Branding showcases your market value

When you invest time building your personal brand, you can leverage it to get more online reviews, write and publish other books, secure speaking engagements and build your business.

Your book and your brand can be the gateway for other entrepreneurial pursuits, books, services, and revenue streams.

Look for ways to leverage your brand as an opportunity builder. Branding helps your readers understand who you are and what your value proposition is so they can make an informed buying decision.

As you build a following, you create your ideal audience interested in what you have to say — and interested in buying from you. Your personal brand will enhance your value to publishers and agents, as well.

It may take time, money and effort to cultivate, but once you establish your brand, no one can take it away from you.

Your brand will build relationships and trust. Done correctly, you’ll get as much out of it as you put into it.

Authors, how have you built your platform over time?