B IS FOR BRANDING...BACKWARDS?
I call myself an eclectic writer. I’ve written five complete novels in four different genres. Four of them are trunk novels, one is published. I’m glad I wrote them. I learned from them and by writing in these different genres, I learned to tap into that story stream of consciousness and find my voice.
But writing in different genres does nothing to prepare an author for the dreaded branding process. For me, deciding on an author brand feels like one of its definitions:
-a mark made by burning or otherwise, to indicate kind, grade, make, ownership, etc.
There are many wonderful websites dedicated to helping writers choose an author brand. Unfortunately, when you are just starting out, branding can make you feel like a child dressing up in Mom’s high heels and expensive, oversized jewelry.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier and make more sense to brand backwards? To let your brand evolve as you evolve as a writer?
Unfortunately, writing is a business and to sell a novel, a short story, a graphic novel, an author must become a product. So say the Big 6 and countless others. But is this really true?
I guess I’ll find out. I have a website that I think represents most of what I write. I like the colors and the haunted feeling of the page. There is always an underlying darkness in my stories, but there is also usually a corresponding thread of humor in the face of this darkness and I don’t think my website conveys that at all.
“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” Gustave Flaubert
This is why I write. To make sense of the world. Branding feels like I have to make too many decisions. Decisions about what I believe, what I am passionate about above all other things, what kind of writer I am. I don’t know, you see? I’m still exploring. I’m on a writing journey. I am not a finished product.
So I have my website and I like the colors. I have a tagline that speaks to me some of the time, but not always. I’ll write more books and with each book, I will discover a little bit more about myself and I’ll discover a lot more about who I am as a writer. Maybe I’ll latch onto one genre and never let go. Maybe. What can I say? I’m a work in progress….
If you’re just starting out, I found this post by Ali Cross the most helpful as far as branding. I don’t have the answer to all of the questions Ali asks, but I think she asks the right questions to point writers in the right direction.