Sunday, March 17, 2013

Branding Yourself


Author, Christina Farley, has been doing a great series over on the MiG blog about what a post-sale, pre-publication author can do to ready herself for the big book debut. Link is HERE

Like a good, A-minus student, I was happy to see that I've actually tackled a number of these things already. But the point she makes on branding oneself as an author has adllepated my brain.

Brand Myself? Like in a neat little box with a shiny bow and recognizable stickers all over the side? See me shudder in horror.

Because the thing about me is my brand would have to be change. I had a major change in my life years ago that when I told one of my high school besties, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Well the thing that's consistent about you is you're always changing."

See?! I can't brand myself. I'm a Gemini for peets sake, two for the price of one. I'm business in the front and party in the back. How can I lock myself up in a big box store?

Cue the voice of responsibility: Calm down, oh fair, frisky one. This is not a life sentence. It is but a look inside your deeper soul. Your brand is nothing more than an extension of your writer's voice.

What?! So the sub-conscious went all Yoda on me, but does the sub-conscious realize how elusive the writer's voice is? The Yoda voice does have a calming effect so I took a few deep breaths and gave it some thought.

And here's what settled:

Branding yourself is not a life sentence. It's the images, colors, and core beliefs that are a constant in your life. I am a nature girl. I am irreverent. I am rarely judgmental except about judgmental people. I believe in family, but not necessarily blood family. I love animals. I love teenagers. I love art and deeply looking at the world. I think laughter IS the best medicine. I care about social justice. And I love telling stories. And all of these things end up in my stories.

I'm still not sure how this translates into a brand. But I think I've started. The dandelion will continue to play a role in my on-line image presence. My author shots were taken at the Botanical Gardens. My books involve family and irreverence, social justice and always an animal or two. I teach high school students and I love all of the colors. Some days I'll dress business, some days geeky, some days hippy, some days middle-aged farm frau - but what you can expect from me is a genuine smile and someone who'll laugh at all the stupid jokes. Can I name my brand?

Yes. Me.

What are your thoughts on the 21st century demand for author branding?

18 comments:

  1. Sing it, girl. Fantastic post! <3

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  2. Great post Jaye! But I draw the line at dressing "business"... :)

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    1. Your right, perhaps it should have said school marm! LOL. (I told my partner if I ever came home with an appliqued jumper or themed holiday sweater she was to shoot me on sight)

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  3. Great post! I love how you emphasized the 'me' of it all. It's really about who you are and that will come out in everything you do.

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  4. Well said! I think branding is overrated. If you eventually publish in multiple genres, just go with a pseudonym. Worked out okay for Katherine Applegate, aka K.A. Applegate. :)

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  5. Ahhh, I SO love this. Also, love your Yoda-subconscious (hubby is looking at me wondering what the heck I'm lmao at!). I've been completely flummoxed by the brand thing. The best I can do is the nerdy science-geek that I am. Still, there's way more to me than just that and I don't want to be boxed in. I think this is really important to keep in mind--the best brand we can present is ourselves!

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  6. Love this! I've been totally wondering about this a lot lately. The brand thing is so strange, but I love your take on this. It's just getting at the core of ourselves and what we're most passionate about.

    And yay for writers who write social justice into their MSS!!

    =D

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  7. You're lucky I don't knit. I have the worst desire to make you a Christmas themed sweater with kittens on it--and "oh, frisky one' appliqued on the back.

    As you know, I'm thinking about this very issue. So far the head monkeys are telling me my brand is sepia toned with splatters of colors. Luckily, I have a wise friend who is willing me to help me discover what the 'me' in my brand is. Hugs and thank you so so much!

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    1. If you knitted it, I'd wear it. No. Never mind. That was not a challenge.

      Careful about what the head monkeys splatter, just sayin'.

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  8. Great post, JRo. I have no idea what branding is, really, so my mind just continues to think of it as my voice. Who I am as an artist will never change, even if the art itself does. There's that thread of tracyness that will be stuck all over whatever I produce. It helps me stay calm around all of this. That and the fact that both my agent and editor have reassured me, more times than they should, that I just have to keep writing books and the rest will fall into place. I choose to believe them most days :)

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Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'