When it comes to creating your author persona, some refer to this as your “author brand.” Understand that you aren’t branding your book – you’re branding YOU. Simply put, your author brand is about connecting with your readers on a person-to-person level.
Everyone’s persona (or brand) is unique (just like you) and it’s your own personal story that you choose to convey that will draw your readers to you. As Dr. Seuss said, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” After all, it’s so much easier to be you than someone else!
4 Ways to Figure Out Your Author Persona
Ask yourself these questions to create your unique story and message that will create a strong emotional connection with your target readers and, in turn, increase their loyalty and trust.
- Do soul searching. Ask yourself … Who Am I? What do I have to say? What matters to me? Why do I write what I do? Where am I going? Look to … your passions and purpose for this. You are a storyteller and want to create an appealing author story (the story behind the story). We need stories to make sense of the world around us and to feel a sense of belonging. This is why people read! 😊
- What are your unique strengths and qualities – and what are your flaws? Base this on … where your confidence shines (for me: sharing what I learn to inspire others), what is important to you (for me: self-improvement), most passionate about (for me: my son), and fumble with (for me: patience).
- Who is your target readership? Base this on … Your book’s genre and the age range of your readers. For example, I write fantasy for middle grade (8- to 12-year-olds).
- What keywords and phrases do you want people to associate with you? Base this on … your standout traits.
- Conduct a survey of family and friends: Ask them to describe you in 3-5 words. What are the positive things about you that draw them to you? What are your quirks? Circle what resonates with you.
- Look to your long-term goals: Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years as an author? Having written more books in the same genre, conducting school visits, doing book clubs, etc.
- Set boundaries: List all the things that make you uncomfortable about the life of an author. What are you willing to do – and not willing to do?
- What authors do you admire?: Why are you drawn to them? Why are others? What traits do they possess? Can you draw similar connections toward yourself?
From all this research and soul-searching, create your public persona that is an extension of your writing and who you are. Your persona will then be the words and images that people associate with you.
After gathering your research, write a one-page story from the heart about yourself. Read it aloud. Share it with your family, friends, and writing peers. Does it feel natural to you – to them? Are you passionate about what you’re saying?
Polish your genuine story. Once you’re comfortable with it, share it. This is “who you are”! Now you can start building a community of writers and readers by sharing your persona online and in person.
- Using multiple headshots across social media platforms. Make sure people can recognize you.
- Thinking you should create different personas for different audiences if you write across genres or age-ranges. Find themes that cross over to all the stories you write and create one persona.
- Posting on social media or blogging outside the scope of “who you are”. For example, if your persona is to share travel stories and books you love, then you won’t suddenly be talking about parenting tips as your growing audience won’t expect this from you. Be genuine and consistent.
Go the Extra Mile!
Find similar authors. Connect, follow, and engage with them. Do some friendly stalking and see where they hang out. Discover how they brand themselves, connect with readers, and promote their books. Some of their personas may resonate with you that you can model yours on.
Your author persona is a promise to your audience. Promise them your unique self, consistently deliver on it, and they will come to expect it. Now use your creativity and imagination (just like your writing!) to create that author persona that best fits you.
Are you struggling with your author persona? What techniques have you tried to create one? Have you found what works for you in branding yourself as an author? If so, share your success with this!
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About Donna: Donna Galanti is the author of the bestselling paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at writing conferences and presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at www.elementtrilogy.com and www.donnagalanti.com. She also loves building writer community. See how at www.yourawesomeauthorlife.com
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