Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Standing out is perhaps one of the most most important things for an author to do in a crowded field. You often hear words like distinctive, unique and memorable being applied to an author or his work. We know why it’s important to stand out but do we know how to achieve that distinction. Let’s Explore. . .
Why is standing out important?
- We need to become memorable. The market is more and more crowded every day and the publishing spots and readers are harder to nail down. If we are forgettable we don’t stand a chance.
- We need to connect with a jaded audience. Whether our audience is an agent (for the unpublished) or readers (for the published), both have a plethora of superb choices these days. Only the distinctive will rise above the crowd.
- We need to have a “handle” to help generate word of mouth. It helps to define what makes us unique and work it into a memorable “brand”— an easily recalled hook.
- We need to stand out to eventually stand a chance of becoming that go-to person for a particular subject or genre. Once you become the go-to person— the one whose name first comes to mind for that particular subject— your career is set.
How can we stand out?
- Our background— Perhaps you have a background that makes you memorable. I’m reminded of Tessa Afshar who grew up in Iran and walked the very roads she writes about with her biblical fiction.
- Our personal story— Sometimes a memorable story is what makes a writer stand out. Debbie Macomber was dyslexic. She didn’t even learn to read until fifth grade. When she confessed to a teacher that her dream was to be a writer that teacher replied in a knee-jerk fashion, “Debbie, you can’t be a writer. You can’t even spell.” Now that’s a great story for an author with over 100 million books sold to tell.
- Our place in a particular field— Mega pastors usually stand out because of this. They’ve already risen to prominence in their field. If you watched the last Republican primary debate you hear Dr. Ben Carson stand out from among seventeen candidates when he joked, “I’m the only candidate who has separated Siamese twins, done brain surgery on a baby still in the womb and removed half a brain. . .” It made him memorable.
- Our writing— An author who carves out a spot for himself because of unforgettable writing is in an enviable position. The tough thing is that readers have to pick up the book to experience the writing. And that’s the rub. But once we love your storytelling or your writing, you’re standing out.
- Our voice— Think of Anne Voskamp. Her first book was all it took for people to fall in love with her voice. It’s rare, but it happens.
- Our skills— What you do could make you a stand out. You may be an outstanding, well-known counselor, a gifted organizer, a top chef. Those skills make you memorable
- Our audience— If you regularly blog to an audience of tens of thousands, you are unique. If you have a television career or a huge loyal following, that’s a distinction that will have you standing out. Building a strong audience will differentiate you from the masses.
How can we begin to discover our own distinctiveness?
- Ask others— it always helps to ask your friends (your posse) how they see you. Write down what they say so you can chew on it later.
- Listen— Listen to how people talk about you. Very often they will hit on the very things that make you unique.
- Ask some questions:
- When people introduce me they mention ______________.
- Which details of my bio do people comment on?
- In my online communication, what comments, blogs, subjects or posts get the biggest response?
- People remember me because ______________.
- When I tell my own story people respond to ______________.
- When I read reviews of my work the same thing that comes up over and over is ______________.
- People always come to me for ______________.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. A few suggestions. Take it from here. What other things can an author do to stand out from the crowd?
Standing out in a crowd is important. Here’s how to do it. Click to Tweet
Seven questions to help you discover your distinctiveness. Click to Tweet