My crit group and I had a blast this week by coming up with some of the member’s brands who hadn’t as yet created one. It was a lot of fun but more than that, I think with the group of us working together we really nailed a few of them. I don’t think you can ask someone who’s only read one of your books (or even worse, only write one book yourself) and expect that person / yourself to know what your brand is.
Branding is much more complicated than just coming up with a catchy slogan. It’s your voice, your tone, what makes you unique in your writing, and the best thing is, it develops over time. It evolves and changes. Which is a good thing. I know that I do not write the same way or the same things that I wrote fifteen years ago when I started. At the time I had very little idea what I wanted to convey to my reader or even that I needed to convey something to the reader. If you’re just starting on your writing journey, my best advice to you is to write more books. One just doesn’t cut it. It’s your practice run. You learn and grow over the course of writing the book. You find a pattern and learn how to cope with being a writer in general (which is not easy by anyone’s standards.)
But if you’ve been writing for a while and you’re looking to query agents or even self publish. Before you do either, I recommend finding your brand. It gives you a much better understanding of who you are as a writer as well as where you want to go with your writing years down the road.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.
It’s important to know the definition of something you’re trying to incorporate into your career. The reason why this is important is because of these last little words here: to differentiate them from those of other sellers.
Your brand will mark you and the products you’re selling as unique. Interesting. Individual. Think of the popular brands and their slogans:
Have It Your Way - Burger King
I’m Lovin’ It - McDonald’s
Just Do It – Nike
Melt’s in your Mouth, not in your hands – M&M’s
Spending time on your brand is as important as the time you take writing your book. There are several things to consider.
What message do you wish to convey to your reader?
When readers put your book down for the last time, what do you want them to remember about you and your book?
What is your target audience?
Here are a few tips for you: Identify your strengths. Whatever you’re good at is what you want to push. For example my strengths are definitely my action scenes. If your strengths are love scenes, or perhaps it’s dialogue, either of these should be considered during your process of creating a brand.
Look at more than one project as well. What is your genre? Are all your books regency? Or only two? Perhaps they’re all historical. These are things you’ll want to consider, because you don’t want to have a regency brand when you also write Victorian Steampunk as well. Look at the broader spectrum when identifying your brand.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead focus your energy on your target audience. A regency writer doesn’t want to waste time on a reader who’s never read a regency before. Narrow the camera lens and focus on a brand that calls out to the readers of YOUR genre.
And then when all is said and done, stick with your brand. That’s not saying that it can’t evolve because it can. But you can’t go from a historical writer to a contemporary all in one day. It doesn’t work that way. Take the time to build one platform first. Then once you’re on solid ground, cross over to the next world to conquer. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither will your brand.
Now think of your favorite author(s) and try to nail down their brand for them. Let’s test to see how much you know about them. Give me an example of your favorite author(s) and what you think their brand is. You don’t have to use their exact brand and remember this is all in fun. Good luck!
Btw check out my website and see if you can distiquinsh my own brand here www.suziegrantauthor.com and while you’re there be sure to check out the half off sale for Wrong Kind of Paradise. Pick up the coupon code and download from Smashwords. You can also check out my free short story on Smashwords as well. Enjoy!