Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do I Need to Consider Branding?


Here is my little disclaimer: I am not an expert on branding. Most of what I've learned so far I've learned through numerous mistakes, and I'm working to get on the right track.

When I attended my first Muse Online Writers Conference, I had already been blogging for some time. I was, and still am in many ways, a technology dummy. Thanks to a workshop from the Muse Con, I was able to create my first free website. Since then, I've spent the past five years making sure I had a strong online presence. I focused on molding myself as a time management expert based upon some articles I had written, and all was good. But most of my blogging had nothing to do with time management. It had to do with books and my writing in general, which included a women's fiction novel I was working on.

Facebook and Twitter happened. I continued to boost my online presence using these and other social sites.

Fast forward to 2010. By this time I've switched gears and am writing for the children's market. My first picture book comes out at the end of the year and I work my tail off to promote it. My new--no longer free--website is redesigned and I've branded myself as a "writer of faith-filled journeys for kids." Tiny problem--I have one Facebook account that is used to promote all my virtual book tour clients, my blogs, and my book. The same is true for my Twitter account, and every other social network I am part of. This year, as I pitch to agents, I realize that while my overall online presence is good, my brand is a jumbled mess of goo.

Every writer is going to need to consider branding. It's how you position yourself in the market. When you pick up a Stephen King novel, you can pretty much expect in some way he's going to scare the heck out of you. If you pick up Karen White, you expect Southern fiction that involves past secrets that come to life. Buy a novel by Lisa Gardner and you know you're getting an action-packed crime thriller. Though they may occasionally stray from their brand, overall, you know what you're getting.

While there are several books in every writer, that doesn't mean all of them should be written--at least not just yet. Finding a common thread in your writing that will make you recognizable to readers gives you an advantage over writers who attempt to publish every book they write without considering brand.

Have you considered branding? Feel free to share some of your books or current works in progress. Can you find a common thread that ties them together?

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