Blogger: Kathleen Y’Barbo, Publicist
Location: The Woodlands, Texas PR Office
Weather: Another Blue Norther due this afternoon
I’ve enjoyed reading all the responses to my question about branding. As I wrote last week, the consensus is there’s really no consensus. Still, you had great comments and gave me much to think about. This week, I would like to share some of those thoughts:
Tamara Cooper, a reader, writes about what brand means to her: “On branding, I ONLY buy authors that I know their works. I want no surprises as to genre or content direction. (Author’s name deleted) blew it with me because for years, I felt confident picking up any of her books (and buying every one of them!), knowing I would get a good romance with a tiny bit of mystery… I knew I would get a good story with her. But then she changed her branding. She started writing “occult” and “witches” stories. I didn’t trust her. I stopped buying her. . . So branding, to me, means EVERYTHING when I purchase a book. That’s branding: identifying yourself as an author with your reader.”
Ane Mulligan had this comment on knowing when a brand fits: “For me, it tells readers what to expect from your books. My Southern-fried fiction lets them know Southern people, places, and issues fill my stories, and a bit of humor.”
From Jennifer Degler, a great comment about the search to find brand: “I’ve struggled with as I work on my own “voice” and just what story I want to try sending out. I think it is important to ME in how I approach my own writing. I’m moving forward, but I’ve written reams of stuff, tossed aside, and tried again as I find my own sweet spot in writing. It’s like hitting that perfect shot in golf–-you know it when it comes off the club head.”
Kathleen Maher, a pre-published author, had this to say: Marketing is obviously something we all have to immerse ourselves in, and branding for me as an unpublished writer still challenges me. I know I write in the Civil War era, and that my characters are Southern transplants up north, but I have not yet found the right sound byte/slogan to capture the essence of what I’m about.”
I love what Crystal Layne Miller says: “Many people don’t always know what they don’t know-– branding and tags helps them to begin to know. Follow it up with a great book.”
And finally this from author Andrea Boeshaar: “My agent, Steve Laube, says branding is only for cows. ROFL!”
On a personal note, I think a brand is most often something an author grows into. A career that begins with an I’ll-sell-anything attitude is shaped into a more purposeful direction with time. So a brand is not only what you write, but also what readers expect you will continue to write.
So tell me, what have you learned that will give you insight into your own brand?