Did you know you’re already an author brand?

Are you an author brand?

The minute you publish to Twitter, write your first blog post, or call yourself a writer on Facebook–you’ve started to establish your author brand. As soon as you layer your online identity with posts, pictures and anecdotes they craft a persona in the minds of readers and visitors that you can never fully shake. Your brand should be fluid across your social media sites, website and author bio showing your writing style, genre choice, and personal flair. However, the most difficult thing in marketing is not building a brand (though it’s a close second) but changing people’s opinions about a brand identity that they already know. And repositioning a brand can only come from a place of authenticity.

So how is brand positioning important to writers?

Once you’ve finished your manuscript and decided what your brand is–i.e. what makes you unique–you start to think about how your author brand would position itself with a partner: an agent. This agent already has a brand–the type of authors they represent, their representation style, their reputation with the deals they’ve done–and your best chance at success is pairing yourself with an agent whose brand umbrella you fit under.

Just like a publisher has a brand and their imprints fit snuggly, but uniquely, within it, agents manage their authors based on the brand of their agency and what fits within the areas of what they represent. An agent only takes authors on that they a) want to work with for a career and b) think they can sell, two things that are defined by their existing brand and for which information is available. If you want to be one of those authors you have to research agents and think about how you fit within the agent’s brand. If you aren’t a fit for that agent people’s time is wasted.

You can’t reposition your brand to fit with an agent. Your author brand is who you are and will shine through your work and correspondence. This is what leads to partial and full manuscript requests–and ultimately representation offers. And subsequently, what leads to queries rejected by form letter.

But, enough with the metaphors, everyone just do your research and submit to the agents whose clients you admire and whose sales reflect the genre you write in, mmmmk?

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

11 thoughts on “Did you know you’re already an author brand?

    1. Ghost writers brand themselves through their track record of previous sales, projects, and copies sold. Your voice needs to be professional and flexible to show that you’re able to work on a variety of projects. Or, if you are a specialist, you can use your track record to narrow the field and prove you are the best in the genre you work in i.e. cookbook writing.


  1. Thank you, Carly Watters. I enjoyed this blog post. You wrote beautifully about the author brand across social media. You are so correct – the author is who the author is, no matter what bran or genre that author happens to be. Can’t fake authenticity and should try to reach out to literary agents whose style matches our own. Got it. Nicely expressed. Hope to find a literary agent interested in my particular brand of hard-core reality faith based on my life experiences. We shall see.


  2. Love it. I’ve always thought about myself as a brand, so much so I developed a symbol for it just so eventually people will know this is a “Jacob Chastain” product/project/book.

    Although I’m gaining a larger audience through networking and blogging, I havnt written that “IT” novel yet, but I believe I am currently working on it. Everything is clicking just right and my voice is really showing it’s own flavor. Out of the two novels (this one being the third) I’ve written, it definitly the best.

    I was going to self pub the previous novels, but I’m apprehensive about what it could do to my brand since it is in a different genre altogether/I want a agent and traditional publishing contract later too…

    Sorry for the musings. Thought it was relevant :)


  3. I never thought of myself as a brand, but I can see that you are right. I woke up one night with a burning sensation on my backside. That must have been my trademark. It just takes too much effort to be inauthentic. So much easier just to be myself. Thanks.


  4. This was some great information. I’ve had the website, Twitter thing going on, but nothing was matching up. As of now my Twitter, website, new Facebook page, and blog all look the same, and I’ll be getting some publicity pictures to post across each of the platforms. Feels nice to know I’ll be ready to rock once I get published.


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