The Benefits of Author Branding and Professionalism
by Camryn Flowers
How does one become a professional author?
The answer is a difficult one to give. Professionalism can sometimes mean different things depending on what industry you’re in. When it comes to being an author, it means how you write and interact with others. To be a professional author, treat writing like a job. Whether you are over or underqualified for it is irrelevant. You are a single-employee business and your product is your work.
When businesses make a product, they have a brand they adhere to for marketing. Your name is your brand; it markets your book. Your book is your product, and it makes you money. For example, take John Green. Most people know him as the guy who writes YA books that make you cry and simultaneously as Youtube’s Crash Course guy #1. Crash Course guy #2 is his brother Hank Green, author of sci-fi novels and now also known for his TikTok explanations for literally anything you can think of. Want to know what the recycling numbers actually mean? Or why wildfires sometimes smell like plastic? He’s your guy.
So, what does looking at the Green brothers show us? Well, when people see John’s name, they know what kind of book they’re getting into and the quality of the writing. If they follow him on social media they know what kind of person he is. And that’s the meat of being a professional author: your image toward the public. If you’re on social media attacking people or being hostile, people aren’t going to want to read your books.
Here are some simple guidelines you can follow:
- Being polite can earn you respect from the people you interact with (including publishers and potential fans).
- Sending death threats upon receiving rejection for your manuscript is never appropriate, and is likely to incur legal action. Just don’t do it. It’s not cool.
- Follow the Golden Rule. It’s cheesy I know, but it gets the point across.
- Be self-aware to the point where you understand the impact of your words and what you share on social media. Not everyone has the same views, and it’s important to, as stated above, be polite and respectful toward others.
Simply put, professionalism is respect. In publishing, it’s respect for your fellow authors, editors, publishers, marketers, and countless others that help turn your work into a bestseller. Your book is your product. Your name is your brand. Both of these things are important and help illustrate a professional image. Following the guidelines outlined above (and in countless other resources on professionalism) can help you curate your brand alongside your novel.
For further reading on professionalism and author branding, check out these resources: