Building Your Writer's Brand


Indie authors are jack-of-all-trades. Not only are they writers, but also promoters and marketers of their finished product. This for most writers is difficult and for some an afterthought. Before you finish your book, you should have a well-defined marketing plan established and the first step is to create a mission statement.

In simple terms, a mission statement is short, concise sentence or paragraph describing your business and purpose (who you are, what you do, and your purpose or goals). This single statement is your marketing message, disseminating your brand, and the writer’s guide to reaching his/her ultimate goals.

Most people believe a mission statement is for major corporations or nonprofit organizations but for anyone building a brand whether you’re a painter, architect or writer, a mission statement is a crucial piece to crafting your image. For indie or traditionally published authors, a mission statement conveys your passion, your expertise, and your vision to the world. In essence, it’s a vital part of your marketing plan and focuses and motivates writers to achieve their goals.

Now that you understand the mission statement is a core element of branding, the next step is writing a sublime statement as unique as your DNA. No one else has your background, your experiences, your talent, so the statement should be as distinct as your genetics. Crafting a mission statement takes deep introspection. So find a quiet place, sit with pen and paper, and delve deep to find words descriptive of your character and purpose. There are five questions that should be addressed in every mission statement:

1. Who Are You?

You're not just a writer or author. Use your talent and craft creative and exciting words such as:

  • A builder of worlds

  • A master of words

  • A spinner of mystical tales, etc.

2. What Do You Do?

Yes, you write fiction but that's a little boring. Provide the world with a vivid picture of your writing. For example:

  • I bring life to paper

  • I plant seeds for intriguing characters and set them on a path of discovery and growth

  • I fuse magic with ordinary lives where there are no boundaries between reality and fantasy.

3. Who Do You Write For (specify your audience)?

You can specify your genre—mystery, suspense, horror, romance—but a more detailed description helps delineate your target audience's demographics.

  • My fans are females who thirst for deep erotic, passionate stories with strong female protagonists

  • My readers are seekers of an enchanted realm where fantasy is as ordinary as the real

  • My audience are adrenaline junkies seeking page-turning, nail-biting, fast action, on the edge of their seat thrillers

4. What's Unique About Your Brand?

You are unique with a different set of life experiences that set you apart from other writers. Therefore, your brand consists of a distinct union of experiences, talents, and aspirations. Personal distinctions can be emphasized as such:

  • I’m a Southern Belle and love pulling my readers into an imaginative world of rich, Southern folklore

  • Self-professed lover of philosophy, I love involving readers in thought-provoking dialogue

  • I’m passionate about photography and have a keen eye for detail. I use vibrant characterization to pull my readers along.

5. What Are Your Goals and Visions?

For Google, it’s “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. For Nike, it’s “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world." As a writer, your goals and visions should be just as concise. For example:

  • I strive to entertain the world and bring my stories to life via novels, short stories, and novellas using both traditional and self-publishing platforms.

Putting It All Together

The answers to these five questions should result in a mission statement such as this:

I am a spinner of mystical tales, fusing magic with ordinary lives where there are no boundaries between reality and fantasy. My readers seek enchanted worlds where the supernatural is as ordinary as reality. With Southern roots steeped in folklore, I bring my passion for the supernatural and magical realism to life in novels, short stories, and soon, novellas, which I seek to grow and publish through both traditional and self-publishing platforms.

If you don't get it right the first time, keep trying. Write, rewrite, and edit until your mission statement reflects you and your special brand. Good luck!

Copyright 2017 by E. Denise Billups

Photos: Courtesy of Pinterest

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