Blogger: Mary Keeley
The Books & Such offices are closed over the Christmas holidays, but we’re re-posting some popular blogs from the past. This one is from a year ago. Enjoy commenting among yourselves. A blessed Christmas to all of you.
Often I talk to writers who are confused about the necessity of author branding and what goes into determining their unique brand. The quick answer is that the best way to guard your author identity is to establish and maintain a clearly defined brand. Readers begin to associate your name with your particular voice, style, content, and genre. They become synonymous. That’s the beauty and reliability of a well-established brand.
One client already told me she officially has put herself on sabbatical from writing until January. Unless you are working to meet a contracted manuscript due date, it’s refreshing for mind, body, and spirit to take a break from writing over the Christmas holidays and enjoy extra time with God, family, and friends. But you can spend free moments pondering some thoughts related to establishing your brand or evaluating your current concept of your brand while you aren’t in writing mode.
Establishing your author brand is essential to creating a consistent perception in readers’ minds. Think Karen Kingsbury. What comes to mind? Think Debbie Macomber or Rick Warren. What unique characteristics come to mind when you see these well-known names? Voice, writing style, personality, passion—these qualities establish your unique identity within your chosen genre. No one else can do these the same way you do. That is a profound thought.
You know your personality, but it takes lots of practice writing to discover your special voice and develop your writing style. This is why many authors don’t get their first, or second, or even third books published. But these works still have incredible value as learning tools. Blogging is another way to practice your writing.
Next, ask yourself the following questions. You might find them elementary at first glance, but bear with this exercise. You could gather additional insights into identifying your brand or refining your current brand concept:
- Have I chosen the genre that best suits my interests and passions, or am I going for what is currently popular? Genre popularity is cyclical, so choosing by that standard alone is a mistake and won’t result in your best writing if it’s the wrong fit for you.
- What are the characteristics of the readers I want to attract? How can I touch their deepest needs? How can I give back to them?
- Nonfiction writers: What topics am I most passionate about? How can I convey my message through my unique writing style? Fiction writers: What kinds of stories do I want to write? What values do I want to express in the characters I create?
Genre selection, voice, personality, passion, writing style. These have to be clear to you before you can define your brand with confidence. It may be helpful to ask your critique partners or mentors for their perspectives on you as well as your values and strengths. Others often see qualities we miss in ourselves.
So far, do you think you have identified your brand accurately? How might your current brand concept need refining? What areas do you think you need to spend time considering over the holidays?