Branding (for Indie Authors)

Image + some rights reserved by Paulo Brandã

Welcome to a new marketing series on Branding for Indie Authors.

In this series, I'm presenting a new interpretation of the concepts originated several decades ago by marketing guru Al Ries in his landmark book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.

This series will follow the general structure of his book, but my chapters will apply to the "unique and special snowflake" that is an Indie Author in the Digital Publishing industry (neither of which existed 20+ years ago when Ries wrote his book).

Obviously, I've had to do a bit of reinterpretation and adaptation but the fundamental of branding are the same in all industries. We just have some singular challenges in our business.

In each chapter of the series, I'll talk about how to define yourself, who you are as an Indie Author, how to figure out what one word best identifies--or brands--you, the Author, as the Company you want to keep. We'll begin with the definition of branding.

A brand is an idea in the mind of the consumer whose power lies in the ability to influence purchasing decisions.

Although there are 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (for Indie Authors), not all of them apply to being an Indie Author, nor will I go over every last one in fine detail. First of all, a lot of this book has been covered by me in my earlier series, 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (for Indie Authors), so I'll reference and link to that series often. You can also buy the marketing series as either an eBook or paperback to read offline or refer to as you read along in this new Branding series on the blog.

As I said, the branding activity for Authors -- Indie or otherwise -- is kind of a unique area. It's not the same for us as it is for widget makers (though most of the same principles and concepts apply). Also, far too many authors think "branding" is as simple as choosing a book cover designer to carry a theme or visual element across the books of a series.

The mere fact that so many authors are under that misconception illustrates the dire need for a clear and direct discussion on the Branding activity as it applies to  Indie Authors. This series, therefore, will focus on helping Indie Authors develop their own unique brand concept while still writing better books--books that will sell themselves!

I hope you'll enjoy and learn from this series, and share your own thoughts in return. Be sure to stop by and "like" the Webbiegrrl Writer Facebook Page or follow me on Goodreads, on Twitter @webbiegrrl or just follow this blog using one of the widgets in the right-hand sidebar. Thanks for stopping by!

Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer

The Chapter List for
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (for Indie Authors)
(some chapters may be combined or eliminated)

Introduction to the Series (this page)

1) Expansion
2) Contraction
These two Immutable Laws of Branding were combined in a discussion of lifecycle. Click here.

3) Publicity
4) Advertising
These two Immutable Laws of Branding were combined: Law 3 pertains to how you launch a brand while Law 4 addresses how you maintain a brand. Click here.

5) The Word
The single-most important Law of Marketing or Positioning. Click here to read the Branding slant on this single-minded idea.

6) Credentials
Your brand's success (or failure) lies in the authenticity of its credentials. Click here to read how to build your brand's credentials in an authentic way.

7) Quality
Not all brands are created equal. Even if your brand really is one of quality, remember, Perception is everythingClick here to read about how to create the perception of quality for your brand 

8) Category
A leading brand should promote the category, not the brand. Click here to read more.

9) Name
10) Extensions
These two Immutable Laws were combined here because for us Indie Authors, line extension boils down to diluting our name--or failure to use a pen name. Click here to read more.

11) Fellowship
Don't kill your competition--invite them to join you in your new category. Click here to read how the Law of Fellowship proves that promoting the category to everyone strengthens your own brand.

12) Generic
The Law of the Generic can help you understand how to use "generic" names for your series without sacrificing the Author Branding opportunity of a distinct book title (name) choice. Click here to read more.

13) Company
Readers buy Author Brands, not the Publishing Company selling them. Click here to understand the Law of the Company so you know the difference!

14) Subbrands
Understanding the Law of Subbrands can make or break you. You'll need to review the Law of Extension, too! See Immutable Law of Marketing Law 12 and Immutable Law of Branding Law 10 to refresh your memory, the click here to learn about Subbrands.

15) Siblings
Families of brands can strengthen each individual Author Brand contained within the family. Click here to learn how to use the Law of Siblings and insure you're not competing against your own.

16) Shape
Finally, book covers and book cover design enter into your branding efforts. Even if you don't design your covers yourself, learn how the Law of Shape can make or break your cover designs. Click here to read more.

17) Color
Even if you figure out how to correctly layout your book cover design using the Law of Shape, you still have to apply the the Law of Color correctly. Learn how colors work and why by clicking here.

18) Borders
Environmentalists say "Think globally, act locally." but when it comes to branding, you need to think and act globally to cross all borders and reach all markets. Click here to read more.

19) Consistency
People gravitate towards what they know and are apprehensive of the unknown. This is why it's important your Author Brand maintains a consistentn message. Click here to learn more.

20) Change
There are three--and only three--occasions when it is worth it to violate Immutable Law of Branding (for Indie Authors) 19. Click here to learn more.

21) Mortality
There are times when it's necessary and appropriate to let a brand die a natural death. Click here to learn more about when, how and why this happens.

22) Singularity
There is never too much focus in brand definition. Click here to learn more.