Monday, January 11, 2010

What's Your Brand?

I admit I don’t have my own brand, or at least I don’t have one just yet. To be perfectly honest, I’d never even heard of the concept of author branding until a few years ago when I joined the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors here in Albuquerque, NM. The idea of having a unique one-line slogan to describe your writing intrigued me and it’s something I've wanted ever since except for one huge challenge: I can’t for the life of me figure out how to group all my writing under one cohesive umbrella or brand name.

Perhaps because the romance writers I met knew exactly the type of books they wanted to write and why, or else they had already written and sold their manuscripts, it was a bit easier for them to identify their writing styles with a one-line author statement and logo. The practice of branding was something they used to help themselves stand out in a crowded marketplace, useful for both their readers and their various editors and agents. But what if you’re like me, writing across the genres, interested in all kinds of styles and formats, and fascinated by each new writing challenge you set for yourself? How can we describe our writing in a a few pithy sound-bites?

This year I want to figure out what my brand is. Not just so I have something snazzy to put on a gorgeous business card (at one time I toyed with the idea of “Romance Written in the Stars” which I still kind of like if I ever do write a genuine romance) but to help me gather in and identify all my various writing tastes and pursuits. Last night I made a list of what I need to ask myself:

What are my favorite books to read? Why? What is the unifying factor to them? What is my favorite writing style? For instance, if I never had to think or worry about marketability or selling my work, what would I write? And if I'm not writing in that genre or voice, why not? (Maybe it's time I should.)

What are my favorite colors? Favorite clothing? How would I dress if money or messy housework or conforming to a workplace dress code were no object? Do I have any personal symbols around the house or my workspace that identify me? What about favorite songs or music? A favorite painting? A favorite or preferred era in history? Where do I want to travel to? What is my favorite memory and why? Fill in the blanks: “In my dreams I am…” and “My personal statement about life is…”

I want to answer these questions over the coming year. My aim is to find a unifying theme to my work that will help me describe myself to an editor or reader in just a few words; a bio version of the “elevator pitch.” And yes, I certainly want that great business card to go with them!

So what about you? Do you have a brand? How did you find it? How do use it? Let me know, I'd love to find out more.

Tip of the Day: Consider creating your own brand. If you already have one, perhaps you might want to think of more creative ways to expand it to help spread the word about you and your writing.

2 comments:

pjreece said...

IT'S AMAZING WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO BE NOTICED. WHILE WE MAY OBJECT TO ALL THIS E-HYPE, LIKE BRANDING, I THINK IT'S GOOD DISCIPLINE TO PITCH OUR OWN WRITING ENTITY. JUST LIKE THE PERFECT 'ELEVATOR PITCH', WE SHOULD GET TO KNOW OURSELVES WELL ENOUGH TO IDENTIFY WHAT'S AT THE CORE OF OUR MESSAGE -- WHICH IS PROBABLY A MUCH REPEATED THEME IN OUR WRITING. I KNOW IT IS IN MINE. OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD, I WOULD USE THE BIO-LINE: "IN THE OPPOSITE OF OUR PRINCIPLES LIES THE TRUTH." THANKS FOR THE DISPATCH.
(pjreece@shaw.ca)

Rachel Fenton said...

It's a tricky one this, I think, because althought it's good for sales in one sense, it can be unhelpful in terms of pigeonholing...though perhaps that's more just a personal worry of mine!