If I say “Western Movie Stars,” perhaps John Wayne, Paladin, or Matt Dillon come to mind.
Movie stars that were typecast because they most often played a “villain?” Boris Karloff or Peter Lorre are the first ones I think about.
When you hear the names of James Patterson, Lee Child, John Grisham, or Stephen King do you automatically think of mystery/thriller/suspense?
You do this as a result of BRANDING.
Here are a few definitions of branding from my research:
”…marketing messages that create emotional bonds with the consumer…” ~ Heidi Cohen
“…the name, the logo, the design, or a combination of those that people use to identify and differentiate…” (a person or business) ~ Gini Dietrich
“…the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships…that account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” ~ Seth Godin
So, if I am reading this right, branding is building an emotional tie between yourself and your readers. And, this branding makes the author instantly recognizable in their eyes/minds.
So, how is this done and when?
I believe it is the perception of the author by the consumer that creates the branding.
Here is how it happens: an author writes a book, the author writes more books in the same or similar genres. Over time, readers get to know the writer as a suspense writer (Mary Higgins Clark) or a romance writer (Nicholas Sparks), etc.
The author’s work becomes predictable to their audience.
New authors may try their hand at writing in several different genres, but pretty soon they find their way and settle into one that is comfortable for them. Once they do, readers begin to take notice.
They become followers.
Because the author meets their expectations…gives them what they want.
They buy books.
A symbiotic relationship is formed.
An emotional bond.