Whether you are a novice writer or an experienced author, branding yourself—preferably early—will help you in the long run. This may be challenging at first. As there are so many facets of you, it is sometimes difficult to decide what knowledge, character trait, or wisdom could help you reach your ideal target audience. If you are not sure where to begin, this post will guide you. First, it will show you the advantages of developing a unique five pillar foundation can have for your author brand. Then, it will give you a starting point to create your own set of pillars that will resonate with you and your audience.
1. Create a home foundation
Most novice writers make the mistake of wishing to appeal to a broad audience. Trying to please a majority of readers will prove futile, as you will not be favored by any particular group. Then, once you decide to focus on a specific target audience (who will enjoy your work the most), you may struggle to define this niche group.
One way to reach your future fans is by considering your brand as your author home. You want it to stand strong and be welcoming, hence the need for a five pillar foundation, specific to you and based on your values, beliefs, actions, general themes, and style.
If you are a plotter, you will enjoy the process. But if you are a pantser, this is the time to organize your ideas and come up with your own five pillar foundation.
2. Gain focus
Figuring out five main themes, attitudes, or values that define your brand will help you focus on creating solid and consistent content. For instance, you will not only be able to develop the content for your website, social media, and newsletter, but also the font to use, and even your color palette.
This framework will prevent you from hopping from one idea or style to the next without a clear pattern. Instead, it will drive you toward your end goal, which is to create a successful and lasting brand that sends the right message and still represents you and your values.
3. Attract the right readers
Your five pillar foundation should represent you but also relate to the readers you want to attract. If you find the right balance between pillars that focus on you and those that resonate with your target audience, you will gain a loyal following as your readers will feel that your work has meaning to them.
I suggest having one or two pillars centered around your readers.
4. An acronym to get you started
I have learned a lot from my mentor Gabriela Pereira, DIY MFA founder. Here, I wish to thank her for introducing me to acronyms, as they can be used as a starting point when defining your five pillar foundation. You could always create an acronym from your pillars after you come up with them.
Alternatively, you can either let your intuition guide you or use a five-letter word that speaks to you. For example, if your genre is fantasy, then the first letters of your five pillars could be represented by MAGIC. For horror, DREAD could be a good starting point, LIEGE for medieval romance, or GRACE for Christian fiction.
5. My five pillar foundation as an example
I used the strategy described above when deciding on my brand acronym and eventually settled on WRITE. While it may not sound imaginative, it is straightforward and captures what I do and why I do it.
W is for Wonder.
I write contemporary fantasy, so my goal is to induce a sense of wonder in my followers, both through my social media posts and the pictures I share. For instance, I kept magic and wonder in mind when I chose the background image for my website. Not everybody will like it, but those that do will know they are in the right place.
R is for Respect the Reader and Research.
As a professor and a scholar, I am passionate about research and creating new knowledge. Although I love history and other cultures in general, my main academic interest is sixteenth-century Spain. My scientific background reinforces the importance for me of getting the facts right, even when writing fiction.
I is for Immerse the Reader in Magical Worlds.
Over the years, I was fortunate to travel to many historic places full of legends and beauty. I therefore always try to share what I learned on my travels or transport my readers in a new mystical world based on the one we live in.
T is for Teach.
I am an educator at heart. I currently teach different languages, cultures, and literature. Thus, I like to share some of this knowledge with my readers. While I avoid giving lectures through my writings, I use them to inform my audiences about some lesser-known facts, such as a specific Moroccan tradition, or an interesting French recipe.
E is for Energy.
Maintaining positive energy is necessary to be productive and share optimism. As a writer, I do so by making my blog posts or captions upbeat and engaging.
As you can see from above, although branding yourself may sound daunting if you consider who you are as a writer and who your target audience is, your own five pillar foundation will come naturally to you. The pillars will serve as a compass to novice writers but may evolve over time, just as you will as an author.
Your author brand is five pillars away. Time to find them! Start by defining your unique acronym and expand from there. If it works for you, don’t hesitate to share your pillars with others and pass on the message.
Tell us in the comments: What acronym are you going to use for your five pillar foundation?
Soleah K. Sadge is a contemporary fantasy author. She enjoys traveling to places tied to legends and folklore that she can use in her stories.
She resides in the United States where she reads, writes, knits, and teaches. Her work includes flash fiction and short stories. For more information, visit Soleah’s website at https://soleahkennasadge.com or follow her on Twitter (@sksadge).