You've heard mention of author brands, but what is it and how do you create one?

In episode 75 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Autumn and Jesper explain how important an author brand is.

They also cover how, if you don't create one yourself, others will end up branding you anyway.

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Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s):
You're listening to the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. In today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them. Now on to the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s):
Hello, I am Jesper and I am Autumn. This is episode 75 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. And now you might be thinking that your books are the product and how this is what will make readers familiar with who you are and what you're writing. But the truth is that it's getting increasingly difficult to get noticed in today's internet landscape and a here, the creation of a brand could be helpful. So that's the topic for today, how to develop your author brand and we will also share some more words on that a bit later here.

Autumn (1m 9s):
Yes, I'm looking forward to it. I, I think Author branding, it surprised me the first time I heard about it and thought about it and like I'm not a brand, but it's actually really fun and it kind of creates some consistency and actually kind of helped focus my writing. So I'm looking forward to this one. Yeah, you were saying that because you do all the graphic designs. That's why you like it. That's true. I'm one of those strange people. If you asked what color is Monday, I would probably come up with a color for you.

Autumn (1m 42s):
So I like, I like colors, individual colors. Friday, Friday is an electric blue. Definitely electric. Yes. The last one was the reason for that. It was, it just something random You came up with it. It has an electric blue feel. To me it is, it's like an energizing, exciting kind of color. I like, you know, and that's a good, good energy. They are black or what?

Autumn (2m 11s):
Um, I dunno. I think it depends on the Monday, but you know, Mondays, now that I work full time from a home, they're probably bright yellow and it makes no difference. It's not a bright yellow. I'm happy that I do feel, I still feel like that, you know, get your nose back to the grindstone. It's Monday get work done. It doesn't matter. Right. Okay. So how are things on your side of the ocean? No, it's, it's good. Uh, I was thinking that maybe I could give a a new status update on the whole selling a house.

Jesper (2m 46s):
Yes. Soccer. Yeah. It's like a novel for us. It's a very, very long and very boring nonfiction, but it's a very boring reality show or something. Yeah. Well I talked about last week How we've had a, a couple who was out looking at the house twice now and worse, you're in quite some interest. And then last week I mentioned how the a, what does it cost?

Jesper (3m 21s):
Like the advisor or what the guy who, who is like advising them for the purchase. He was supposed to call it our real estate agent and um, he did that as well. So I talked to our real estate agent the other day and uh, it was a bit a bit weird because, and I think this, I don't know if this, I haven't talked to this advisor guy, so of course I am going off of hearsay and, and feelings here that I don't know if they are true or not, but it feels like he might be a bit of a smart kid, a smart guy, you know, a bit like, yeah, yeah, I'll do some quick deals here and whatnot.

Jesper (3m 59s):
I don't know. Because he was like, he told a, a a real estate agent at a w well we can, we can put in a price and then it was like 150,000 Danish crowns below the price that we have set at four. And keep in mind, we already reduced the price of a hundred K right? This is a 150 below 100 Kay. We already dropped it. A little insulting actually. Yes. So a real estate agent basically told him right away before he even talked to us, he said on the phone, you know what?

Jesper (4m 32s):
I can't, I can't give them this offer. This is ridiculous. Um, it's not a good deal. Right. I mean, and he basically just said, you know, as a, as a professional light, I can't even stand behind that alpha. I'm pretty intense. Yeah. And then the other guy, well he was talking like, well it'll be, it was just like covert 19 situation going on and our real estate and asked him what color would 19 see what do you mean?

Jesper (5m 2s):
Well, do you know the effect on house prices? And when he was saying, well, there is no effect on hush prices, not in this area, or at least I don't know about your area but not here. So, and then he started saying, well Am, well we have to start somewhere, right? Uh, well not 150. K. So he then, yeah, so there is a state and then called me and, and uh, we had a chat and he said, ah, so what do we want to do? And so I instructed him to, uh, after, after talking to my wife as well, I, I instructed him to go back and say, you know, come back with something serious and then we can talk.

Jesper (5m 44s):
I don't even want to come up with the counter off on this. This is just ridiculous. So, but I honestly think, I think they're quite interested. I think this is just playing games to see if we can get something because its been on the for a little while so maybe they were just trying to test the water. Yeah. But don't forget as well that she is six months pregnant. Right. And so either either you basically do something now write and write and our house was the only one that they've been looking at or you say, okay then we don't do anything now.

Jesper (6m 17s):
And then they have, they give birth first and then, but then you know before they get into a house it will, the kid will be a year old write. Do you really want to do that? Yeah. So I think they're quite hungry to be honest. Um, I don't know if you say hungry in, in English in a situation like this, but that was me translating from the concept comes across. I think they're very keen. They're very keen and it sounds that way. Yeah. So, um, so let, let's see what's going to happen. We haven't heard back since, uh, the other day was Sunday, uh, when I talked to him.

Jesper (6m 50s):
Uh, so I, I don't know what's going to happen. Oh, well, a good luck. I would love to hear this story. You don't have a happy ending and she'll be picking her nursery colors and everything else, but I do. Yes, they have to. That's it. Yeah. I would have been a little bit like, really? That's all. Yeah, it wasn't a bit annoying because when they were here looking at the houses there, there was never any talk about pricing or they never mentioned anything. When they will either in the first, the second visit they have about, uh, it didn't say two.

Jesper (7m 24s):
The real estate agent in something like, which would be normal, right. You say, you know, what, are they willing to negotiate or just asked a question. Nobody ever said anything. And then this guy comes in and then he starts doing this playing a game. And I almost have a feeling that maybe it's just him trying to play games. Maybe he just told them like, Hey, I'll get you a good price and blah, blah, blah. Some stupid sales talk. Right. Because this has also the guy who's got to sell their apartment. Right. So he probably liked, I'll get you a good price and then I can tell you the apartment as well.

Jesper (7m 56s):
But yeah, let's get those types are not just in the United States, I guess. No, no, no. I'm sure every nation have those types of people. But uh, and again, he might not be like that. It is, is just, I haven't talked to the guy, but it was just a feeling that I get from it. But I could be wrong. Of course. I needed to be careful what to say on a public Podcast if that's true. But at this time this was an air. It hopefully you have the offerings. Maybe. Let's see, let's see if what is happening.

Jesper (8m 28s):
Um, I also actually just wanted to mention because I posted it on Twitter, I didn't, have you noticed a movie, the platform on a Netflix? No, I have not seen that one. No, because it's quite, it's quite interesting. It was like a, it's a, I think a Spanish scifi kind of movie. Oh, that sounds good. But I want to, I want it to mention it because the premise of that movie is, it's just amazing. I mean I, I don't remember at least ever seeing it before. So it's basically like it's a prison that is in a tower.

Jesper (8m 60s):
So it was like extremely high tower. You learn those hundreds of floss in it. And then the prisoners, they are on a whatever floor number between one and the last one, which is the several hundreds. Um, and then everyday at the top from the top there is a platform lowered which is full with fruit. So it, it's not like, it's like almost like Michilan kind of it, you know, they have cooks preparing it so it's like excellent food and it gets lowered down to level one and they eat for a bit.

Jesper (9m 36s):
And then there's is, it feels like there was a timer on the platform or something, but then after it a little while, it goes down to level two and it goes, it keeps going down. So, and of course the people on the top floor, they just eat everything they can. Now of course, and every time it goes down there is less food on the platform. Oh, that sucks to be on the bottom. Exactly. And then the thing is that every, I don't remember now if it was every, I think it was every month or every week, one of the two, I don't remember anymore.

Jesper (10m 7s):
But they get basically moved around on the different floors. So you will be put to sleep after a week or month, one of the two. And then when you wake up again, you will be on a different floor. Gosh. So if you wake up on a low floor twice in a row, you're basically going to die from starvation. But if you come up to a high level, then you can eat a lot and then hopefully you can survive your next turn on lower level. If you end up down there, but it's just that that whole premise is so interesting.

Jesper (10m 38s):
And if of course it plays off all the, uh, like society will thinks about it, you know, if everybody just only ate what they could and is what it would be, there is enough food on the entire platform for everybody, but it is there. It depends on every one, only taking a plate and then letting it go. And if everyone does that, then there isn't enough for everybody. But of course nobody does that. So they're like, I'm on top now. I'm going to eat whatever I want. So I just, it's, it's so interesting that premise there is the end of the ending quite a lot.

Jesper (11m 11s):
And that was a very interesting, keep that in mind if I go and look it up. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. They speak Spanish of course, but we actually launched a lot of Spanish. I'm learning my Spanish through a Spanish Netflix shows, so that's all right. Right, right. Okay. Yeah. Well here in the air in Denmark, which I also learned from a Twitter, well, he's in Europe in most, not in France, not in Germany, but otherwise it's quite common that we just a watch things with subtitles on us, what we do all the time. So we used to that.

Jesper (11m 41s):
Whereas I learned, I learned often from Twitter that people find it weird and I never understand why because that's since I was a child. That's how we do things. Because when you start tapping things, it's just at the same, no, it's not the same. It isn't.

Autumn (11m 54s):
I think we watched one episode of the rain In dubbed and it was a very different than watching it in Danish, the Danish in having it subtitled, that was fine. You just can't used to reading. I take in things better if I read them anyway. So, yeah. So to me it's fine. It's just bad if you're, if you're really, really tired and your eyes are tired, the last thing you want to do is read. So you watch something else. I, you know,

Jesper (12m 19s):
We do it on, on, on this show. So like the reign for example, I have a top titles on the issues as well because I've just, I'm so used to it, uh, that I just, I absorbed, I absorbed the information better when the subtitle's on. I understand. So how about you?

Autumn (12m 36s):
Oh, things are good. I've continued with my weekly planning and getting my life organized and I'm making progress in all fronts. So I have really nothing to report other than I've been a very good girl and I've gotten a ton of stuff done and I still have a ton more to do it. But yeah, I started to catch up. You watch out.

Jesper (12m 56s):
Well, I started to get emails now this is done. This is done. That's a nice,

Autumn (13m 1s):
So let's see. Hopefully going to continue. I have my week planned out in all my weekly goals and onward and upward is an old coworker used to say. So we are you doing good?

Jesper (13m 13s):
Oh, a week on the internet. Writing Fantasy Podcast we've received a request actually for a future podcast podcast topic from one of our patron supporters. Yes, we did. Yeah, that was pretty good. She wanted us to talk about when the ideal time would be to start working on sequels when your writing in a series. So I did ask her a bit of more details. Um, but that's something we'll put onto the list of future episodes there. Yeah, I was gonna say, I, I hopefully, especially since you've got some extra information, you can copy and paste it into our, our idea list that we keep.

Jesper (13m 51s):
So when we're deciding what to do, we're going to talk about in the future and picking things out. We can look at that one. That was a good one. Yeah. Yeah. I think that was good. So, and of course, uh, you know, by supporting on Patrion, you can also suggest possible topics for future episodes. Uh, but there is a lot more on patron that we do for a, there is, for example, a free access to one of our premium courses. There is a monthly Q and a where you can ask anything you want from Writing to marketing and publishing. And we also offer support as a free workbook, as a Christmas gift.

Jesper (14m 24s):
And also at the top level, there's even the possibility for mentoring sessions. So we try to offer a lot of value in return for your support. In truth recording the podcast episodes every week, quite a lot of the work. So any support we can get, even if it's just a single dollar a month, is really helpful and it keeps us committed to to keep going here. So if you haven't checked out patron or Please,

Autumn (14m 52s):
Follow the link in the show notes and check it out and we would really, really appreciate it. And so yes, especially since one of our goals on there is to have someone go through our new transcripts that come out with each podcast. Oh my goodness. Some of the errors come out of it wasn't what it is. Yes, bro. And I am awesome instead of on the wall. I'm like, wow, I'm just going to go buy. Awesome from now on. Yeah. Well we do do a light edit out of the, of those types of errors on the script that comes out.

Autumn (15m 26s):
So a, I think we talked about last week that we've started adding the entire transcript of the podcast on every episode. So we do a light edit on it, but I can not tell you how funny it is. The what turns out in that light edit of, of what the AI comes up with that it thinks you were saying sometimes. It's just so funny. It's fantastic. Yeah, it at least cracks us up, but it would be so nice to have. So it didn't do it a little bit more in depth at it because you know it just looking at it and it, it was totally skipping one of us talking and other stuff.

Autumn (15m 59s):
I was just very frustrated with it. But anyway, we won't go there and good news. We actually, just before wrapping this up and starting this podcast, we just finished a Q and a session with our new character development students and that was awesome. That was awesome. That was legitimately Oh, lot of fun. And I was a nice way before the, the Q and a session. James' one of the students actually emailed us and just says, you know, he's looking forward to meeting us face to face and thanks for these opportunities. Uh, your work with to help authors of all over the world is appreciated, at least by myself.

Autumn (16m 34s):
And I'm quite certain that with Benny who mirror my sentiments and that's just like, I mean, we don't need to hear back from people, but darn it. That's awesome. It really is why we do it as to those little tidbits to knowing we're making a difference for other authors and eventually other readers. Yeah, it did. It really makes a, it makes a difference obviously. Um, so thank you so much for the kind a note. Thank you James Author brands. I'm still excited about the restaurant.

Jesper (17m 7s):
Yeah. What is now Author Brand uh, I found actually a on the internet of things, I found a, I found a quote earlier today from Jeff Bezos, which I think actually sums it up quite nice. Oh, that's good. So it goes like this quote a brand is what other people say about you when your not in the room and quote. I like that Jeff Bezos with will come up with that one. That is a pretty good definition of what you or your personal brand is otherwise known as gossip right now.

Jesper (17m 47s):
But, I think that the takeaway there that Even if you're not creating your own brand, you still going to have one because people will have an opinion about you. So the alternative as a much better meaning that creating your own brand, well that's preferable over them making the Brand for you.

Autumn (18m 7s):
True. Ahh, that's a good way of putting it. Yeah. But it definitely, yeah, you definitely want to be in charge of what people are saying about you and not just reacting to what you know, you know, what are people are saying, you definitely need to consider these things when you're doing, I mean this is why we talk about quality, making sure you have edits and things like that because technically, you know, making sure your writing is clean and quality in a full error, free as part of your brand, but that's not the only a part of your brand.

Autumn (18m 40s):
You want to be a little more in charge of it than that.

Jesper (18m 44s):
Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, uh, as authors, we are selling ourselves. Right. So that also means that uh, you need a brand.

Autumn (18m 55s):
Yes. And I think, I mean, we're dovetailing this right after an episode, we're talking about pen names with a Kiersten Ollifont and that is, yeah, I mean that's another thing. Your, each of your pen names is also a brand and that would be a reason to change her name is because there is a shift to your brand. You know, you want to be known as something else, whether it's, you know, you're one brand is erotica and your other brand is a children's Christian fiction. You wanna keep those two brands separated.

Autumn (19m 25s):
That's an extreme example. But I would not be surprised actually if there's someone out there doing both.

Jesper (19m 32s):
No. So what do we need when we try to create an author brand? What, what, what things do we need for it? Um, I try to list out a few things that I was thinking about. So basically when you start to think about your brand, um, I think you need to look at your show that you are writing in and you need to think about your target reader and then you need to think about what it is that you making that is making you unique.

Jesper (20m 4s):
So why is it, for example, in our case you were writing Fantasy. So why is it that your target readers should read your Fantasy book instead of another Fantasy book?

Autumn (20m 16s):
Right. I mean, to me it helps if you haven't developed your author brand yet, but you have written a few books. One of the first places to look for ideas on what your author brand might be is actually in your reviews. And if you start saying a common theme of like exciting or a really detailed characters or a fast paced, when you start seeing things like that, that's probably a, a, a good clear cut of maybe what your author brand is.

Autumn (20m 47s):
But you know, you can also think about that from the get go and a control it as your writing and releasing your book's. But there's definitely a, to me, I love mining through my reviews and seeing what people have picked up because sometimes they have an insight that you didn't realize that they were talking about.

Jesper (21m 9s):
Yeah. So I w w actually when preparing for this a session, I try to list out a few different things that Am that I think is important when it comes to your brand and what you could be developing in relation to that. So I don't have a particular audit, uh, audit, Lisa, and I think we can sort of just jump around as a, as we want. Excellent. But, um, I dunno, do you, do you have a place where you would like to start now you go first and Am I will add to it as I usually do.

Jesper (21m 42s):
Okay. So I think as an umbrella thing across all of the things that I'm gonna mention here, we could say like the three inputs that I just mentioned. So the genre, your target reader and what makes you unique. You used your answers to those questions to influence the, your decision on what kind of colors you're gonna use, what fonts you're gonna use, what images you're going to use, and then you use those consistently across the different things that we are going to talk about here.

Jesper (22m 14s):
That's sort of the underlying mentality around this. It is

Autumn (22m 18s):
It really going to inform your marketing because is going to create a consistency in those colors and those fonts. And just the message at this is the type of Fantasy or fiction or whatever your Writing that you stand for it. And if you open up any of your books, it's going to be right there, you know, is going to be for a friend's centered. So it's a, it gives you a whole focus of the theme, which is kind of,

Jesper (22m 46s):
Yes. So the first thing on the list here that I created was a logo. Uh, and well actually we've started developing or talking at least about a logo for our joint fiction as well, haven't we? Yes we have. And yeah, it's on my to do list cause we haven't, well we haven't even started writing there, but I want to have that logo before we get the website get Writing. Yeah. So of course the logo can be used for different things. I mean you could, uh, you could put them on the book cover, uh, like our plan is to do that, to make, to make the Brand and clear to readers that these are the same books because a, you know, as time goes by and there'll be more and more books in this world, then the logo will be the one that joins them all together to show that this is the same.

Jesper (23m 34s):
Um, while at the same world and the same, not the same story. I guess that's wrong to say, but at least to set in the same setting a of course if you are just writing a single trilogy, then you could just make sure that each of the covers are looking similarly enough that people can see that these belongs together. But if you write a lot of different books in the same setting like we plan to do, then a logo could be the one that ties them together.

Jesper (24m 4s):
But otherwise the use of a logo is good for, you know, of course your social media profile

Autumn (24m 10s):
And uh, and on your website, and I mean, cause there's a few different layers there of logos. You can have your series logo, your book logo. And then I have a personal logo for my website, which is under Autumn Writing. So I actually tweaked it over the years cause I realized the original one I had to kind of a book in some kind of like triaged thing. Hey Autumn writer, hello. But I realized I write Fantasy when you look at it, it doesn't say exciting Phil Fantasy and that's what I write.

Autumn (24m 41s):
I mean most of my readers know that, you know, there is the characters, another things, but I write fast paced Fantasy it's pretty much a page Turner. It's more like the thriller version of Fantasy. So I recently like you to think, I mean to me recently, like with in the last two years I tweaked and changed my logo, my personal logo. So that's another place where you use it though. I mean I use it Am it's a logo for who I am. It's an all my books that I published. There is a little circle logo that links to my website and it creates consistency. You land on that website, you know in your honor, one of my books and then each of the series also has individual logos that are also exciting.

Autumn (25m 20s):
But it's a good way of tying your series together.

Jesper (25m 23s):
Yeah, absolutely. In and of course if there is, just as you said that there's some thinking behind what kind of images and fonts and all that, but do you use a Writing Fantasy well that in a medieval setting that will, that that's different imagery and and fonts and colors. Then if you were writing, I don't know, a modern thriller, right. What do those things are different so and that should inform and influence you are a logo design

Autumn (25m 53s):

Jesper (25m 55s):
Okay. And we talked a bit about website down. I feel like that that's sort of your area Autumn too. Maybe you can say a bit about websites.

Autumn (26m 1s):
Absolutely. So you know, having just talked to Kirsten, she feels, she feels that the websites are kind of going by the wayside or at least the, the big ones with blogposts and everything else. But I do think there's still a landing page. Most authors, maybe they're not looking you up, maybe they're looking you up more on Amazon than they are for your own website. But since we do sell books off of our website and if you're going to sell like signed copies, paperbacks or hardbacks off of your website, you want to have a website and so their you create, you take those same colors, you have a color scheme, there is some, usually five colors is what you want for our website.

Autumn (26m 40s):
And there is some great tips and techniques if you do website on how to land on those colors, which is a whole science of itself. But then you use your fonts. Do you use your logo? You keep that. Like I said, my logo, who I am and what kind of books I write is more front and centered. Then the individual books I have because I want it to be under my name because I do write in different genres. As you noticed from the previous podcast, talking to Kiersten, I write in different genres, but I did not choose a pen name.

Autumn (27m 12s):
So I chose that. I chose to stay under myself on a bird because I felt it still fell underneath my Brand. And so that's one of those important questions to ask yourself. And that's why I have just one website that lists all my books.

Jesper (27m 31s):
Yeah. Ideally, uh, because I also previously before Autumn and I started working together, I wrote nonfiction. So ideally I should have had two different, almost, I probably almost two different, um, you know, pen name for it because it's just a real weird mixture. So you have Fantasy fiction and then you have some Author related nonfiction books for example. But that doesn't tie into it at all. Uh, but at that point in time I just felt like a second pen name and, and then a whole second brand and a second um, online presence and all that.

Jesper (28m 5s):
It was too much to manage. So I did it all on my own name a that's what I've done. But it's not ideal for sure.

Autumn (28m 12s):
No, we could have been like Joanna Penn and she has her fiction under JF Penn. I mean it is a tongue in the cheek, just a little indicator saying Hey this is a different version of me and that's sort of what the pen name, you know, some of them you want to keep completely separate like Kiersten has her as you know, its written in her profile. She is honest, these are different ones but she has way different names under her different pen names. So you know, it each happens but each time you choose a pen name you're doing it for a reason.

Autumn (28m 44s):
Whether it's just a nod to the other part of who you are and what you're selling or a totally, you know, making it fit. She has one that really fits the urban fantasy that she is writing. And so you know what it is kinda the fun thing about a pen name. If you don't think your name really fits, it's John Smith and you're trying to write cozy mysteries. Am I want to go do something a little more cozy.

Jesper (29m 9s):
Yeah. And that's it. But it's funny because that she, that you said that she said that about websites because we talked slider, we touched slightly upon it in a past episode as well where we had slight different views. You and I are on websites and a need for them if of course, if we disregard, uh, the need to sell directly because if you need to do that and it's a given that you need a website. But I remember in a past episode that I said that in principle you could just create a landing page if you're, for example, if you use convert kit or something like that, they give you the possibility to, to create a landing page and, and they will host it for you and you could in principle just create that so that you can have a way to collect email addresses.

Jesper (29m 54s):
Yeah, and that's it. Then of course it is. It is a very light approach. I understand it, but I do agree with her thinking that I don't think the websites is a necessity than it used to be. I,

Autumn (30m 10s):
I can, especially if you're running multiple genres and multiple pen names, I think for like her newer one, she literally has a, she bought the URL with the name, the brand name, her Author name, her pen name, and she has a redirect to a landing page and two sign up and see her books. That's it. And so yet you, you really can't do that. But again, she does still have a presence and she did go through the effort of buying the URL to no one could buy it out from under. So there's still some tech savvy, but that is one of those big things.

Autumn (30m 42s):
I mean, and speaking of a website, so your brand, whatever that name is, Am whether it is Author so and so, or just the name that is part of your brand and you should own that. So go buy that URL. It's one of the things she checked before she was creating these pen names as she would Google it and see if the URL is free. You see you. If anyone else was using it, she wanted to make sure it was very, because she was specifically choosing a brand. And those are the things you want to check on as you're settling on a brand.

Autumn (31m 13s):
If you're creating something and not just you know, going with what you were born with.

Jesper (31m 18s):
That's why I'm so happy that we snatched up and writing and reading before we even knew what we were gonna use it for it. It is. It's a very good one. Yeah. And we have a use for it now in the future. So it was good that we snapped up that one.

Autumn (31m 33s):
Yeah. So heck, I still remember, I was so amazed that it was free. I'm still amazed. Am Writing Fantasy was free when I thought of it because I was literally on a three or four day hike on the Appalachian trail and I think I thought of it on day one. I'm like, Oh, there's no way that that one's still available. And four days later it was first thing I did when I got off the trail was Google and going, Oh, that's it. It was

Jesper (31m 56s):
Mine. He bought it. And then we bought Am Writing Fantasy when we were at it as well. So that was good. Very good. Okay. But that's slightly off topic, bringing it back. Uh, the next element to the Author brand is the picture of yourself. Um, and again, here, I would say make sure that a picture of yourself is on Brand, meaning that, uh, there is a difference between, you know, you're looking serious versus someone who writes humor.

Jesper (32m 26s):
Because if you are writing more humoristic novels, perhaps a bit more of a funny picture. I sat that in quotation marks there, but it's a bit more of a funny picture. It might be a better smiling and laughing. And

Autumn (32m 40s):
This is another one where I get in, I remember very clearly from Joanna Penn when she wrote a, um, it was something on her pen name or just she was going to contracting her to different brands and she showed her one image and now I can't remember if it was the fiction or the nonfiction, but one of them is black and white. It's almost the exact same picture. But she actually had one black and white because it just fits the genre and resonated better with readers. And I thought, well that's just interesting to go all the way down to the color of the picture.

Autumn (33m 10s):
But I mean, I totally agree. And this is one where I see a lot of people say, you know, you need a professional Author image. And so I have this picture. You often see the one's that, you know, the clean background in the standing there. And maybe the half smile or as a holding one of your books and it has a post to it. And to me those come off as so standoffish and snotty. I can't help it. And occasionally you need to get some more, you know, the warmth in the eyes and more happy ones. But if you ever look at my Author image, I am holding a four leaf Clover and I'm actually a little out of focus.

Autumn (33m 42s):
It's a four leaf Clover that's InFocus and there's an amazing Alaskan mountain background behind me cause I was traveling when we took it. And by the way, yes, I'm just really good at finding four leaf clovers. That's just me. But um, I, I think some people, I understand the idea of this is professional and we should take it seriously. But I also think if it's part of your brand that you are very open and out there and energetic or whatever that is, there's no problem with that coming through. I mean, you probably don't want one of your like mother kissing you on the cheek or something, but you can choose, you can choose an Author image that's a little more fun than They, you know, went to a studio and took a set PO's.

Autumn (34m 29s):
But that's my opinion. I know some people totally disagree with me.

Jesper (34m 32s):
No, but I think it's important that the picture comes off naturally. Uh, you know what? It looks very natural so that you can build that connection with the reader because pictures are doing that very well. There's a reason why you use pictures is because it builds a connection with people. So it has to look natural. But I would still say, unless you are a very good at it, don't take a selfie. No, that's not true. That's not good. Um, I am a professional photographer should also be able to help you in taking a picture that does not look like you're posting, that they can make it look so to you.

Jesper (35m 9s):
Bring you a natural or whatever it's called. You're on your natural self authentic self to do it. Yeah. Yeah.

Autumn (35m 17s):
Marin did it with a professional photographer. So I have some, you know.

Jesper (35m 21s):
Oh you are lucky. I know you got some luck there. So yeah, here's my personal paparazzi, so I'm good. Yeah, that's good. But I do some very quick internet search before this episode. Uh, so it's not very specific here but or scientific at all. But I think you can get a picture taking price for some where between a hundred and $200 wouldn't you agree?

Autumn (35m 44s):
I would agree. I would think if you're going to get a whole series, it might be up to 350 but in general for just a few photos or something. If you go head shots from a local photographer, and especially like I said, some of them are willing to go outside versus being in a studio or something like that. You should be able to find someone who can give you a nice library photo or something. Or maybe even on your own house if you have a nice bookcase or something, it gets a little bit of an author image.

Jesper (36m 13s):
OK. So the next set piece or building block I have here for your author brand is then something that we actually talk about in the self publishing success course, that we're, there's a free course that we are planning to release later this year. But in that course we talk about creating your why. So this is basically a one sentence statement demonstrating why you write what you do. And uh, in autumn in my case, we write Fantasy because we believe that human beings evolve and heal themselves through stories.

Jesper (36m 52s):
So in short, our why we summed it up with the following sentence, quote stories makes the world a better place. Very long quote. No, but that's the point, right? It is to be simple and easy, very short. Uh, and I'm pretty happy with what we came up with there. What am I think that's good.

Autumn (37m 13s):
No, I agree. And I think it really sums up the many layers. There's many, many layers to it. And so that's kind of the fun of it. You can, obviously we're not stuck with one type of image or one type of, you know, reaching reader. We can play with the different ways of why we think it's important. And that's part of the brand though. I mean, it's a multi-tiered approach, but that's always the fun.

Jesper (37m 38s):
Yeah. And it's an easy thing to communicate with a single sentence like that, uh, on, you know, Twitter profile on social media or on also on our website of course. But it's, it's something that you can just glance over a word with your eyes and you already understand what it is. Right? You don't have to read like full paragraphs explaining why I think Fantasy is a great young round, blah, blah, blah. It was just stories makes the world a better place.

Autumn (38m 4s):
Yeah. And it's at the beginning to, in many ways it's the end of your elevator speech. It's wonderful to have that so that when someone asks you, you know, a, why do you write a, what do you write? You could say, this is why I do this and you have confidence in is wonderful.

Jesper (38m 21s):
Yeah. And the other thing is that this ties back to what we talked about in the beginning about what makes you unique. So your Y is unique to you. Umm, so it sets you apart instantly there on why it is that your and

Autumn (38m 36s):
Why, why is Fantasy just younger dead, you're writing for example, right? I mean, you answered to those kinds of questions. Well, nobody else can answer the questions like you can, let's right. And that's why it is sort of the core of your brand. And it's a great tip and a great way to start exploring, you know, why this is going to be your brand and why your writing in this and being in control of it instead of, you know, going in and waiting and seeing what other people say about you. Yeah.

Autumn (39m 6s):
So I have a question here at the end of my list. Uh, but before I asked that question, is there anything else that ties in with Author Author branding that we have missed or I have missed your Autumn in my list. I don't think so. I just want to tell you, let people know that just because you have a brand and maybe have a color scheme, that doesn't mean like all your book covers are going to look alike or things like that. You can obviously use a logo or a series logo, that's all fine, but you're still going to have a unique covers.

Autumn (39m 40s):
You're not pigeonholing yourself. You kind of, you know, creating a theme. You're, you are a certain set and you're going to stay within those bounds, but your books themselves or going to speak for themselves and so the covers should speak for themselves. You're still free to be creative and concepts there. It's just that there is a theme underlying neat all you're writing in why you write and sort of who you are and some people I was talking about authentic self earlier in authenticity has been a huge movement even on Instagram that people want to connect to an authentic person and I get a lot of questions on, well, if you're portraying this Brand, that's not really who you are, but it should be a sliver of who you are.

Autumn (40m 25s):
I've always looked at it like when you're with your mom, your a slightly different person than when we used to do your boss. If you don't play with their siblings versus you know your aunt or uncle there is different. Yeah, it's different versions of you, but you're a brand is still a part of you. It should feel comfortable. You shouldn't be making up something and you should not hate this other brands that you are creating. It should be true to you, but it's just a small, it's just a different aspect. Is the pieces that you put forward and you say, this is who I am as a writer and this is what I stand for.

Autumn (40m 59s):
Not this is this fake person that I'm pretending to be when I'm writing. No, of course not. Okay, so you ready for a question? Autumn well, we just do the character development Q and a for over an hour or so. I can do it. One more question. Okay. How important is an Author Brand really? Oh, that's a good question. How important is it? I would say if you are going to be a professional author that you are going to do this because you want to make it a that you want to maybe make a living off of it and you're really going to go all in.

Autumn (41m 40s):
It is integral. If you are just playing around with Writing, it's a hobby and you, you know, you're not really in love with it. It's just something you're trying out. Yeah, it still took it. I would still ask people to take it seriously. I have recently met someone, I was doing some cover work and I was trying to investigate this author and she had no pen names, but almost every single book she had uploaded was linked to a different Amazon author profile.

Autumn (42m 10s):
Like she created multiple ones and that's just confusing. I I, yeah, it was really, really surprised and it was all just different variations, like a neat her name with a period, her name without a period, her full name or initial knows it was seriously. So I don't do that to take your brand seriously enough that you're like on the same Amazon, Oh, I can't even imagine what her KDP dashboard bustle looked like. Make sure you're on the same dashboard. You've got the same author name a be at least that serious no matter how much of a hobby that you're just doing one book and it's just so you can give it to your nieces and nephews before you die.

Autumn (42m 49s):
You know it still a legacy. It's still a brand. Take it seriously. Yeah. I think the most common objection that I bumped into when I, when we talk about Author brands is like, well Author or brands are things For last corporation's and we were just authors. We don't, we don't need a brand. And I can sort of understand the thinking behind that argument, but you are still selling products as a, as an author, you know in, in this case we're selling books, but it's a product that we're selling and

Jesper (43m 27s):
If we then talking about how important is North of Brand really, I mean it's not like it's going to revolutionize your book sales. All of a sudden that you can earn millions because you created this awesome brand as an immediate is great. If you can create an excellent brand but it's not going to earn you're a ton of money that that's not the point. I think that the main point here is that if you buy your branding can get across to somebody when they first come across you on the internet where there is a million of different books available available to them and they come across you and if they almost at a glance can get an impression of, okay, this has a certain, let's say Fantasy feel to it.

Jesper (44m 12s):
I like the image. Um, maybe there is a dragon crawling between letters or something, I don't know. But you know, it does something that it just leaves a positive impression on the reader's as they just come across you at the first time. I didn't. Of course the idea is that over time it should accumulate so that it brings more and more people in who had an interested in your writing and they'll give you a book, a chance because they lied, lied, like the branding that you have created around it. And they'll give it a chance and then to read your book and some of them will love it and they'll go on to read other books and so forth.

Jesper (44m 46s):
So it's more like, I probably wouldn't even call it a cornerstone. In your publishing a part of, of your business,

Autumn (44m 59s):
What is the foundation stone? Yeah. Maybe for this

Jesper (45m 5s):
It's something like, I would say like you could live without it, but it just makes a difference too. Give a good impression. And when you're running a business like we are when we are

Autumn (45m 13s):
Authors, why wouldn't you want to leave a good impression? I guess that's, that's the best way I could phrase it. So I think, and I think that it works and to me it's if you as an author, R R taking it serious are maybe you are trying to get into marketing and you just feel a little lost. Creating a brand really helps give you a focus in a theme and a message and suddenly all of those things that you're struggling with and trying to put together and what kind of images and what kind of quotes and what am I talking about.

Autumn (45m 44s):
You suddenly go, Oh my theme is fast paced Fantasy so I'm going to find action scenes or my theme is really nuanced characters or a romance or emotions. Some of the, you know what scenes and quotes to go get a, you know, what's important to you know, what your next book you are going to make sure it has those, it kinda makes a lot of stuff that are nebulous and you're kind of don't even realize you're struggling with click into place and you're like, ah, this works. This is what I'm going to do. And if so for that reason I would say, you know, you start a brand.

Autumn (46m 18s):
Just so you can kind of concentrate and figure out some of these little parts of yourself in your marketing, in your, you know, how you, you're reaching the readers you're trying to reach. For

Jesper (46m 31s):
Yeah. So I think Author branding helps you communicate about yourself and make that personal connection with the readers. And a brand will emerge whether you want it or not. You might as well put yourself in the driving seat there and, uh, decide what your branding will be about. So next Monday we will share 10 things that makes for great hero. So what that should prove.

Jesper (47m 2s):
Very interesting.

Narrator (47m 5s):
If you liked what you just heard, there is a few things you can do to support the Am Writing Fantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow Author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on Writing Fantasy for as little as a dollar a month, you'll get awesome rewards and keep the Am Writing Fantasy podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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