What’s Your Brand?
This post originally appeared on my critique group's blog, Pens & Brushes. We, Groggers, felt that the Grog readers could also benefit from this information. I hope it's helpful!
Recently an agent asked me what my author brand would be. The problem is that I write in topics all over the place. I write whatever stirs a passion. It’s hard to nail down a brand.
So I decided to do some research on branding. When I hear the word brand, I think of my two kids who debate over which athletic brand is better: Nike or Adidas. When we go out, they like to look at the shoes people are wearing. Nike vs. Adidas. But the take-away for me is that the kids associate Nike and Adidas with athletic quality.
So what does this have to do with being a writer?
According to an article on Huffington Post, “Why Every Writer Needs an Author Brand,” it states that your brand is a promise you make to your readers. “You’re promising your audience a particular kind of reading experience, and you shouldn’t let them down. From project to project, maintaining continuity in your voice as a writer is vital to building a successful author brand and establishing a strong fan base…Genre typically comes first, and branding follows after. Your brand will exist within the genre you’re writing in.”
When you hear the name Mo Willems, do you immediately think of Pigeon, Elephant & Piggy? Funny books for the very young? When you hear the name Grace Lin, do you think of children’s books with Chinese characters? These two authors have built a brand.
|Grace's new book coming in October!
So how does one build an author brand?
Kimberly Grabas, author of Quick Start Guide to Building Your Writer Platform, states, “Your brand stems from who you are, how you want to be known and who people perceive you to be.”
So I sat at my computer and thought. What kind of stories do I write? I looked through my collection of picture book stories + one novel and work-for-hire products. What theme or topic stands out? (to be revealed at the end)
Nina Amir said in the article “6 Branding Tips for Writers and Authors,” to determine this, consider:
· the types of writing you want to do
· the subjects about which you want to write
· the types of stories you want to tell
· the themes you want to cover in your work
· the ways in which you want to serve you readers
· the clients or customers you want to attract
· the spin-off books (sequels or series) you would like to publish
· your values
· your interests
· your passion
· your purpose
One of my critique groups was talking about branding this week. Writing friend Carrie Finison said, “In the musical world, I think of brand as the type of music I expect to hear when a band puts out a new album. Some bands/musicians have a very distinctive sound, while others are a bit more versatile, while still remaining in the realm of a certain musical style. I wouldn't expect Coldplay to produce a jazz or classical album, for example - that doesn't mean that they wouldn't use jazz or classical elements in a song.
In terms of companies, brand generally means what type of items I expect that company to produce. Apple makes computers. Would I be surprised if they started selling speakers? No. Would I be surprised if they branched out into a line of beverages? Yes. That's not their brand.”
Since I write a lot of nonfiction + fiction + Korean themed stories + American stories, another writer friend Hannah Holt helped me state it this way. DRUM ROLL…
My brand might be: an informational text and humorous fiction writer with an American/Korean fusion.
Let me know YOUR brand and what you think of this branding idea in the comments!