Have you written a book? Yes? That is fantastic! And yes – I really mean that.
Writing a book is difficult – believe me, I know. It can take hundreds (if not thousands of hours), intense discipline to stick with it for months, even years, and the fortitude to edit and cut and redact your very own creation. It’s tough, exhausting work.
But once it’s done it can be an amazing feeling of relief and joy to have finally manifest your ideas into the world!
But now what? How can you leverage this incredibly hard work to build something bigger than just one book, maybe even bigger than just a series of books, perhaps even into a brand?
You can certainly turn your book into a brand. And this will reap a whole world of rewards for you, beyond just som more revenue. Consider these benefits as you think about turning your book into a brand:
- Your brand can become inspiration (and maybe even more importantly, the focus) for your next book, or next three books, or even more!
- Your brand can help you develop other products and services beyond just books (that your readers actually want to pay you for)!
- Your brand can give your readers a way to continue their journey with you, find community around your ideas, and even become advocates for what you’re doing!
- Your brand can give you an anchor for finding and developing relationships with other brands and partners to extend your reach into new audiences!
- Your brand can turn into something way bigger than you ever dreamed, a whole world of media like podcasts, YouTube channels, courses, animations, even video games, movies, and TV shows!
So how do you turn a book into a brand?
There’s a few different approaches that anyone can take and they’ll depend on the kind of book and the story being told. But the key in any specific way you approach turning your book into a brand, is always to think of the Brand Story you’re telling beyond just your one book. Here’s the questions you need to answer in order to start building that Brand Story:
1. Who is the ‘hero’ in your Brand Story? This is your customer. Whom are you serving or helping – what is specific and particularly interesting about them – and what specific problem(s) does your book and future products/services going to help them solve? Get as specific as you can.
2. Who is your brand, as the guide in your Brand Story? What makes your book (AND other/future products and services) uniquely suited to help these heroes? Perhaps it’s your personal experience, or a unique perspective on their problem, or a system or process you’ve developed. Or even a world of characters and events and places they can get lost in. Whatever it is (and this is where your book itself could be a good starting point of inspiration), be super clear about what it is you uniquely have to offer your heroes in order to help them.
3. What happy ending does your brand offer to the hero? What intrinsic change can the hero (your customer) achieve with your book (and other offerings)?
Okay, now for the real nitty-gritty:
How can you turn your book into a brand?
There’s (at least) three separate strategies you can employ to develop your book into a specific brand. Let’s break them down:
1. An “Author” Brand Strategy
In this brand strategy, you are building your own name – your personal brand – as the identity moving forward. Leverage the content of your book to identify the larger Brand Story you’re telling in all of your content – whether that’s with more books in the future, other types of paid media, as well as any free media that you produce to build your audience.
This strategy is best employed with books that speak to a personal experience or a subject that you have particular expertise in or with themes that you are extremely passionate about.
Once you’ve identified your larger Brand Story that connects all your content together, good next-step is to take the most core of those stories, concepts, and themes from the book that speak to your larger Brand Story and start building those out into blog posts, presentations, webinars, videos, and the like. Then do outreach to events, publications, podcasts, other communities where your particular Brand Story heroes are at and get your story in front of them.
You’ll also want to be thinking about how you can extend your offerings beyond just your book – paid speaking engagements, workshops, consulting, other books, courses, and other products. Your first book is really more of a marketing tool to get your “author brand” in front of more people. Your follow-on books, paid articles in publications, speaking, consulting, etc. are your higher-tier products that really turn your brand into a business.
But either way, you’ll need to be publishing consistently and regularly. This is where starting a podcast, YouTube channel, blog, and newsletter will be powerful tools to not only solidify your brand but start to develop a following of like-minded people.
You’ll see this branding strategy used a lot by fiction writers too, as well as non-fiction authors, business/consultant writers, and journalists. It’s about building the brand around yourself as a consistent, engaging, content provider. “I really liked your first book and I’m interested in the next book or hearing you speak in-person or writing an article for my publication or paying you to come and speak to my organization.”
2. A “Methodology” Brand Strategy
This brand-building strategy works best if you have both a unique perspective on the world (or a part of it) AND you have developed an effective methodology for people who subscribe to your same worldview, to help them overcome specific problems. Essentially you are branding around your system.
This will definitely take work as you’ll need to use your book to introduce your unique perspective as well as your system. And then you’ll need to develop specific tools, training, and/or services for people to pay to use your system.
This is a common strategy business consultants, self-help gurus, and anyone who’s built a system or process to help themselves and can offer it to others.
With business consultants, business founders, and other management experts, you’ll often find that they’ve created a unique process for solving particular problems in their particular types of businesses and then they can package that process in a series of books, courses, training, and even licensing to other consultants. A good example of this to check out would be the “Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)” launched by Gino Wickman in his book titled, “Traction“.
3. A “New World” Brand Strategy
This is a common strategy in fiction writing where an author uses a series of books to create a following around particular characters (and the world created for them) that can then be licensed into other products and media.
I can immediately think of several science fiction and fantasy writers (or their estates) that have done this well, turning their popular series of books into movies, TV shows, video games, board games, toys/collectibles, and other licensing opportunities.
Think for a moment of “Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien, or George RR Martin’s ‘A Song of Fire and Ice’ books that were turned into the hit TV show, Game of Thrones, or the world and supporting characters developed in many of Tom Clancy’s books around one of his main characters (Jack Ryan). All of these have then been turned into movies, TV shows, and even video games. In every case, the brand is centered around a few particular strong characters but extends into the entire world of places, events, unique items, and even fictional history found in that world.
This strategy often requires publishing several books that take place within that world and developing a strong following of readers that are highly invested in that world and want to engage with it in other media beyond just books.
It’s Time to Build Your Brand
Are you still scared of turning your book into a brand? Hopefully with these strategies you can see a path forward that makes sense for you and your book. And if you think of other strategies that might work, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line!
P.S. If you’re stuck on the ‘what is my brand story’ part of the process, it might be worth taking a look at my Brand Foundations Course. This is a fantastic primer with explanations, examples, and exercises to help you lay a solid, consistent, and clear foundation on which to keep building your brand for years to come. You can find it here at http://remarkabrand.com