Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Author Info/Branding: What's It To You?

This is something that's been coming up a lot for me lately since I've recently published my first book through Amazon and Smashwords. People want to know how to get their name out there, where they should go to do that, and how to market themselves and their name as a brand.

I'm not the first person to be an authority on the subject, but seeing as it's something I've been seeing everywhere, I wanted to know your thoughts on it, and I wanted to leave a few of my own.

I don't think about who the author is or what other books the author has written until I finish the first book. If I like the book, and especially if I love the book, I then scour the internet to find out everything about that person. This may be because I want to emulate their awesomeness, but I also suspect that many other do something similar.

When I know an author is the bee's knees, I want to know what else they've written and what they're like. BUT that's not something I care about if I didn't like the book first.

I would say that unless the author is scandalous (for typically bad reasons), I don't care who they are until I get to the end of whatever I'm reading. Branding for me is something that happens AFTER they've kept my attention for 200+ pages.

I'll go so far as to say that for me, I do not want to know anything about the author until I've made my own decisions about the book. I won't even look at what they look like, not that that would make a difference, but I want the book to be it's own entity, completely devoid of everything but what I see in front of me, until I finish it.

When I do end up looking them up, I always want to read the "how I did it" story. It's the story where they say, "I got this idea and blah blah blah." I love those. If I really like them, I'll search them out on Twitter to see if they say anything interesting (beyond just responding to people), and then I'll follow them if they are interesting. I'll almost always follow a blog if they have them, and I'll look around the blog to see what else is brewing for them.

That's my typical M.O. So as far as branding goes for authors, it IS important, but it shouldn't precede the book's importance to me. But if the author ends up being rockstar, I'd love to more about them AFTER I read the book.

What about you? Do you like to know about the author up front? Would it bother you if they didn't have a blog/Twitter/internet presence? Let me know below!

Now to leave you with a song to write by, "Breakdown" by Plain White T's. Intense, but still catchy like all of their stuff.  

P.S. Here's where you can find me online, if you're curious :)


  1. Hi Kelley! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm the same as you, at least with traditionally published books. If I love the book, I'll search out the author's website to find more books. I haven't checked out too many writer's blogs, but the ones I have seen seem to be all about publishing tips. (Great stuff, but not necessarily something I'd be reading every day.)

    I think it might be different for indies and self-pubs though. Trad paperbacks have the luxury of catching my eye from the bestseller shelf. There are too many self-pubbed e-books for me to sift through personally, so if I find a person on Twitter or blogging and I love their style and sense of humor, then I might feel inclined to check out their book.

  2. Great post! I don't look up the author unless I really liked the book, either. When I do, I love finding the stories of what ideas shaped the book, so it made me laugh that you do that, too. As for internet presence, it wouldn't necessarily bother me if the author didn't have any, but I'd prefer that she/he did.

  3. Angela: very good point. I'm now an indie so I know it's important to get the word out somehow about the book. But if I can notice the book without having to know a ton about the author, I'm happier. That is until after when I'm ravenous for info.

    Jenna: I know! It's like reading how the stars aligned for that person.

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  5. (Sorry, misspelled like 5 things in the last post. Had to change them. Ha.)

    I agree with reading a book before knowing too much about the author. I just want to focus on the characters and plot first. But after, if I'm really enthused, I definitely want more of the author. STAT!

    I don't think an author can really go wrong with branding as long as they stay true to who they are. And for Indie authors, a few good placements (by what I've read from others' experiences) seems to be the most effective, along with a blog or some type of media outlet. And anything an author has fun doing, because that shines through to the readers. It's awesome to see authors create buzz and energy. It's important to be yourself. I like to see that an author has a business side, but people relate to the silliness of everyday life, as well. That is what will make an author memorable (other than their work, of course). If you have no personality, or you spend time holding people at arms length just to look totally professional, you come across as boring. And nobody remembers boring (unless it was truly horrible). People relate to sincerity and personal quirks and flaws. So, unless you're a Terminator, it's better to just be yourself. (And we all know what Linda Hamilton did to the Terminators... :)

  6. I'm the same way. I always come across the book first, and then I start to get to know the author on their blog, twitter, facebook, wherever I can find them. I think the key is to brand the book, because that's what will really grab people. I'm not following the author's blog right away, I'm investing my time in their story first.

  7. Blakely: I agree with everything you said...right down to the STAT.

    Jenna: Exactly. I think that the book needs to show more than the author does. I'll be more than happy to google the author after I read the amazing book.

  8. If the story is good, I definitely want to know what else the author has written and who they are. Branding is important from the writer's perspective. It lets people know who's behind the writing and creates a positive or negative impression.