Personal Branding for Authors: Fake It ’til You Make It

Startup Stock Photos
Startup Stock Photos

Personal branding. It’s a big thing these days. It doesn’t matter what you do, what you are or what you want to become, you can develop your very own personal brand. And you should. I’m not the only one who thinks that, there are hundreds – nay, thousands of blog articles on Personal Branding 101.

A quick refresher: On the subject of personal branding, contributor to Forbes magazine Lisa Quast says, “The overall goal with branding is to differentiate yourself (the product) in the market so you can attain your objectives, be those landing your dream job or becoming a famous singer. The process includes defining your brand and brand attributes, positioning your brand in a different way than your competitors and then managing all aspects of your personal brand.”

Of course, on my blog we’re talking about personal branding for authors and writers. And personal branding and how to do it is something I’ve blogged about before, with posts like Does Content Marketing Really Work for Writers? and Make Sure Your Content is Tweetable, so I won’t go into the “hows” in this post. Instead, I want to talk about personal branding at a higher level.

If you write, then you already know what your objectives are, and what your personal brand is (… I hope … right?). But what astounds me from making connections with some great authors (published, self-published, aspiring, etc.,) is that far too many of them appear to have a distinct lack of self-confidence that they are a brand worthy of developing. One author friend of mine even admitted that she felt like a phony by trying to give writing advice because she only had one published book (soon to be two) under her belt.

My internal reaction: *Sob* Really? Only one book? Sweet friend, no. You already have one published book (soon to be two) under your belt!

Here’s the thing: Personal branding, especially for authors, requires self-confidence. Writing for Personal Branding Blog, contributor Ken Sundheim says, “Self-confidence, while hard to build, is a key component to any personal branding. In nearly any type of business, successful job search or fulfilling career, when we are confident in our personal brands through a strong sense of self-worth, our capabilities are as limitless as our imagination. Conversely, when we lack the self-confidence necessary to succeed in today’s business environment, that insecurity quickly becomes apparent to potential buyers, employers and co-workers, and just about everyone else. Self-confidence can never be faked.”

(That bolding, by the way, is his formatting choice, not mine.)

And, no offense to Mr. Sundheim, but I strongly disagree. At least where we scribblers are concerned. It’s the age of the internet. If we know anything, it’s that you don’t have to answer to anybody when posting content, Tweeting, sharing on Facebook, etc. You absolutely can fake it!

Let’s make a critical distinction, though: As an author or writer, you’re not faking your personal brand. It’s not like you don’t have anything to say or share. You do. You’ve written, or are writing, a book, for crying out loud. How many people wish they could do what you do? How many people try to do what you do? You are a superstar, no matter where you are in your career. You do have something to share, whether it’s writing advice, life musings, poetry, marketing tips, whatever.

What you’re faking is your confidence.

I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter how you really feel inside. Pretend like you’re the best damn author out there. The amazing thing about faking self-confidence is that, after a while, as people start to comment, share, repost, etc., you no longer need to fake it. You actually do become self-confident. And as you begin to be more active on social media, as you write that next book, as you host that next giveaway, or as you sign that long-awaited publishing contract (or whatever it is you do and however you do it) … your personal brand will begin to take shape.

I know it’s a cliche, but really … fake it ’til you make it!

child using laptop

What advice do you have for your fellow writers and authors on how to project self-confidence? Do you have any anecdotes to share about how you found the courage to become self-confident?

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