We are all familiar with authors who are brands: Seth Godin, Deepak Chopra, Suze Orman, and in fiction, Maeve Binchy and John Grisham. Even if you don’t know the title of a single book they’ve written, you likely know the author’s name. They are brands. People buy a Grisham book without even looking at the title. They know what the brand delivers and that’s what they want. You can tell who’s a brand author as their name on the cover is usually in a larger font than the book title! (The opposite of most other books.)
In the case of a franchise brand, such as For Dummies, the franchise is the brand. Again, you buy because you have a belief that the brand will deliver what you expect, even if you’ve never heard of the author. With some fiction authors who write a series, such as R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books—the author and the franchise name are in a dead heat. Readers ask for an R.L. Stine book or a Goosebumps book in equal numbers.
Most nonfiction authors, choose to write a book to support an existing business brand. It may be a business with history, a brand new brand, or a re-branding. In all of these examples, authorship supports your business brand. Your book is a marketing tool. Just as a video or website does, writing a book supports your brand by increasing your brand’s visibility and credibility.
Writing a book can also open the door to new opportunities, especially if your business brand is new or pivoting. For instance, a personal trainer who writes a work-out book may be offered a role as a spokesperson for fitness equipment or vitamins, or a regular spot on Breakfast TV. If you want more clients or more speaking opportunities, if you want to increase your partnerships or sell more widgets, for instance, these too are supported by writing a book.
But a book behaves like a brand because it too needs to be marketed.
Like a business brand, a book needs what marketers call a brand statement. In publishing, it’s called a positioning statement. You want to summarize in a sentence or two the value your brand/book delivers, for whom, and why it matters to them.
If you are writing a book to support your business brand, don’t make it do all the heavy lifting alone. Your book supports your brand and needs support from it. For instance, let’s say you’re using email marketing to promote your book. Excellent! But if you send out emails to your business network with the title of the book in the subject line, that book title has no brand identity. It means little to the recipient. You or your business name are the brand.
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