Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Be the Brand~ Brand Management for Writers

Often times, because we as writers are typically a one-man outfit, we don't think of the work we produce as part of a brand.  We don't think of ourselves as a "brand".  Yet each one of us, different as we are, has a particular brand and it's utilizing and promoting this fact that establishes us as separate and unique from our colleagues and competitors. 

Danielle Steel has a brand- she has a targeted audience demographic, a certain style, a certain form of content that lets people know this is a 'Danielle Steel' book before even having to look at the author's name; and her brand works for her, doesn't it?  (Diamonds and ball gown skirt included.)  Every author from Fitzgerald to Stephen King has a brand that makes their work uniquely associated with them.  When the authors would switch mediums to do short fiction, journalism or non fiction, these were merely off-shoots of their brand.  It's a certain mix of style, standards and expectations that the audience comes to expect.  Part of an author's brand includes how they conduct themselves in public- interviews, signings, speeches...  Some are extremely private, some cynical, some gregarious, some gracious.  How the author presents themselves physically, the manner in which they dress- (creative personas like the gypsy coutured singer Stevie Nicks or all in black Johny Cash)-  furniture lines emulate Hemingway's style, Issac Denison's safari style is in high fashion this season.  The lifestyle of a writer is another aspect of their brand.  Swinging Manhattan, old English fortress or rugged retreat.

In each aspect of yourself that you present, in how you conduct yourself, the ideas/causes you champion or oppose, all of it makes up who you are as a writer.  The important factor is to, above all, be yourself and let the distinguishing traits show through.  Too many contemporary writers feel the need to self-camouflage and risk being lumped together by genre instead of distinguished by traits as individuals.  For your site, your book covers, your correspondence, your public appearances, pull together a comfortable theme that fits you and will have you standing out in the minds of readers, reviewers, editors and publishers.   

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