Branding, as I understand it, means what I am known for as a writer. Do I have an area of expertise or a particular type of content that will make readers look for my stories or books? Will my unique voice or my writing style give me an edge in the world of publishing? Right now the answer to all these questions is “No.” So one of the things I need to work on is building my name recognition and having it associated with the type of writing I want to do; I need to build my brand.
My interests are varied, and numerous. Unfortunately there isn’t a market for all of them and I want to have some of my work published. As a beginner I need to focus on the area of writing that interests me most and is still potentially marketable. In this difficult economic environment, branding is becoming more relevant to fiction than it’s been in the past. When I prove my proficiency in one area, I will have a better chance of moving into other genres.
From what I’ve read, there are several steps involved in building a brand, including:
Identifying My Strengths
Identifying My Unique Voice
Developing My Writing Style
Everything I do as a writer should reflect the brand I choose to promote; it should identify me, as I want to be known.
With all these things floating around in my head, I’ve realized that I don’t have a clear direction for my writing at this time. I’ve noticed a trend with other writers on the forums and blogs I read, and some I already associate with a particular type of writing. I doubt that anyone knows what type of fiction I write; I’m not sure myself.
The first story I wrote for the Editor Unleashed contest is totally inappropriate for my audience, according to my son; and the second attempt he says is “really demented.” I don’t want to be known as “that demented writer;” and I know I need to identify my audience before submitting something. The trouble is I don’t want to write for the market. I want to find my niche and write for readers who like the same things I do. To do that I’ve got to decide what I want to focus on as my brand—what will set me apart from all the other aspiring authors. So, I guess I need to add another step to the branding process: Know Who I’m Writing For.
Edit: See my related post dated June 8, 2009 for info on building a brand.
Edit February 10, 2010: Agent Chip MacGregor wrote a great post today about branding : http://chipmacgregor.typepad.com/main/2010/02/what-is-a-brand.html
Have you been building your author’s brand? Do you specialize in one area or genre?