Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What is your brand?

I confess to closing the barn door after the horses have all escaped. When I decided to start writing for publication, I spent a year learning everything I could about the subject. But writing was writing. Marketing? It never entered my mind. Seven years later, I’m still out looking for the missing equines!
There’s a lot of information in the writing world, and it can be overwhelming. Taking things one step at a time is always a good ploy, so that’s what I’m doing:  reading widely, making notes, formulating/adding to a detailed marketing plan, and implementing one strategy before moving on to another.
I’ll admit my ‘author platform’ isn’t as sturdy as it ought to be, but after reading several articles, one of the planks—namely branding—isn’t as wobbly as before. Ranching was an integral part of the culture and the economy of the West Texas town where I grew up. So when I thought ‘brand’, I thought of a bawling calf being roped and thrown and having a red-hot iron plunged onto his flank, marking him as the property of his owner.
Most people think of ‘brand’ as a certain kind of product—shampoo, paper towels, canned vegetables, cars, and so on. We usually visualize a picture—a logo—differentiating said product from its competition.
So what about an author brand? Do we own it? Does it set one author apart from another? And last but not least, is it really necessary?
Most writing gurus agree that a brand is necessary. As a recipient of their combined wisdom, I’ve also found the process of branding myself almost as painful as the calf probably finds his branding experience. However, one pearl of wisdom stood out:  your brand is who you are and what your writing is. So I thought about it.
Not writing in one narrow genre made the journey a bit more difficult. I write ‘vintage’ romance, contemporary romantic suspense, cozy mysteries, and short stories which likely defy genre pigeonholing. But one thread ran through the lot:  they’re clean. And, yes, there is a reading audience out there who looks for and enjoys a good clean read.
Eureka! I found it! A good clean read—that’s me. I added that to my email signature, ordered a banner for my table at book events, and finally found the perfect ‘logo’ in the form of a graphic on Fotolia, which I added to my blog and website.
You can read a lot more about branding here and here and here—and I’d recommend these articles. But when I finally realized that branding is just figuring out who you are and who you want other people to know you are, it got a whole lot easier.
I’d love to hear from any other writers who have made this journey to self-proclamation!
Meanwhile, visit me at Someday Is Here,  and follow me on Twitter.

And don’t forget to get hooked on a good clean read!

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