Why Do You Need an Author Brand Story?

We chat with Author Brand mentor Isabelle Knight about promoting your book - and establishing what's behind the 'brand'.
Many of our authors start their creative writing journey, finish their book and then face the reality of marketing their book and themselves as an author. As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to establish what’s behind the 'brand’. For this article we spoke to Isabelle Knight, who is an Author Brand mentor, having spent considerable time working with and supporting self-published and indie authors since the launch of Build Your Author Brand.

Isabelle says:

When authors have poured their heart and soul into writing a book and bringing it to publication, they want to know: how can they make a name for themselves and get readers for their books? But I have seen first-hand how many authors are just not prepared for what is going to be required of them in order to get their book "out there". They don’t realise what readers need.

Whereas, the authors who put time, energy and thought into putting their books in front of potential readers, who create a compelling story and strategy behind why they wrote their book, who it’s for and WHY that person should care about their book, find they are able to confidently promote their book and find their readers. That can quickly lead to a raised profile as an author and increased book sales.

You may have heard marketers say before that people don’t buy objects, or things. They buy feelings. They buy stories; or in other words, what the things signify, the emotional attachment that they have assigned to the thing. The story that we believe about the thing.

It is the same with books. We’re buying what we believe the book is going to give us, emotionally. How the book will make us feel. This might be to feel cosy, warm, transported to another world and inspired, as author JG Nolan does with his book Jump! for children. Or to leave us feeling that we have really expanded our minds and learned a new perspective. Or gained a new insight into a part of the human experience with which we weren’t already familiar, as with author Pauline Tait’s novel A Life of Their Own that deals with issues surrounding domestic violence.

The first thing that professionals in the publishing space do in working out how to promote or publicise a new book is to establish "what’s the story", in the same way that journalists do when they’re in the newsroom. The story, as you’ll know if you’re a writer, is the driver. It is the thing that gives a book or an event or an action its reason for being in the first place. Stories are what connect us as humans to other people, places and things.

In order to sell your book, you firstly have to be confident in conveying who you are as an author, and what story is behind your book. The questions to consider are:

  • What drives you as an author?
  • Why do you write the particular book or books you have written?
  • What has led you, either circumstantially, emotionally or spiritually, to write your book?
  • And how are you going to convey this underlying story of your book to your potential readers, to compel them to want to find out more?
Your Author Brand Story will draw on your own life experiences, your passions, your personal motivations and your personal values. This is the principal concern we have when we embark on creating the Author Brand Story behind your book. The piece that is going to sell your book, to create the compelling WHY a reader should buy your book. Your reader wants to know why your book is for them. Why should they care enough to want to go ahead and buy (and actually read) your book? This is the work of the Author Brand Story. 

Promoting your book is not a simple "paint by numbers" game of putting this review in this publication. We want to get to the heart of your book and from there to the heart of your readership. Because no two books are the same, no two authors are the same, and no two stories are the same.

About Isabelle Knight

Isabelle Knight is an Author Brand expert and mentor, having worked with names such as JK Rowling and BBC in her 20 year career as a publicist. Isabelle now works with small press, indie and self published authors to build their brands, create impact as authors and sell their books. Isabelle runs regular workshops and mentoring sessions to help authors raise the profile of their author brand. Find out more on her website here. If you get in touch with Isabelle, please mention that you saw the article on the SilverWood website.

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J A Higgins