Branding… are we cattle or something???

“Step right up and let me assess your brand,” said the man in front of the velvet frosted counter. He tipped his top hat at me and then the magician at the eclectic carnival waved his magic wand.

I responded, “okay.” Because, well, who doesn’t want to know what in the world our brand is.

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(image found on entertainment.inquirer.net)

His cape, tinged with green silk, and bow tie, pressed with perfection, moved with grace as he bowed down in front of me. His gaze lingered at my shoes because, well, look how awesome they are.

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Our eyes met again and when they did so, I noticed them glint behind his round spectacles.

“You obviously use your pen to wield great and terrible poetry,” he said. “You are a poet. Come hither, oh great one, and let me sale you a tale or two.”

****

None of this exchange actually happened, but my over active imagination saw this in full detail. I think the only real comparison was the perfectly coiffed mustache that splayed out from the corners of his smiling mouth. I do remember that fabulous mustache and maybe that is what sparked my imagination.

How this really played out was that I was at a fun fantasy and sci-fi writers conference for a bit this weekend. The guy behind the table recruited people as they passed to enter into his competition for short stories and poetry anthologies that he published.

“You write poetry. Don’t you?” he said as I walked by. I thought of the boxes and boxes in the basement full of discarded rhymes and riddles that I had marked as steaming piles of garbage that should never see the light of day.

I nodded my head. “Why yes, yes I do.” Okay, so maybe there were a few of them that deemed worthy of sunlight.

“Great, I knew it. I could just tell.”

I raised my eyebrows. A bit suspicious and a bit flattered.

“Well,” he said, handing me a flyer. “Let me tell you about this really cool opportunity…”

****

Earlier, like cattle, the crowd mooooved between class rooms where we could feed ourselves and munch on what other authors had to say. I sat through horror classes because I love to read and write horror. I sat through the genesis of mythology and folklore class because I use an over abundant display of that in my work in progress. Then there were the paranormal romance what-nots and the marketing do-nots.

That conference experience didn’t really fill my brain with new, mind blowing insight, but I did learn some fun things and I went because, as an author, I believe we should remain teachable as I have shown in this post. But my experience with that conference did leave me wondering… what is my brand?

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When I show up, do people envision me wearing armor because of my rally cry like in this post? If they do, I sure hope I have a sharp sword and majestic shield. Or do they see me as a prude?

Or am I seen as a skier or a rock climber or a gardener?

But what about when it comes to writing? I know I am still a novice author. I probably should have thought about branding as a child and decided that I only wanted to write in one genre of fantasy, or horror, or romance. I should have, but didn’t. Now I am stuck here with a polyglot jar of genres.

I believe my brand will evolve as I evolve in my writing. As I publish more books other than the two that I have out, I will find my niche. Or maybe it will find me as I just continue to write for myself and not for others.

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Beginners, I suggest you just write. Don’t follow the crowd that often leaves you confused. I don’t think any of us know where we are going anyway. Maybe we are even following each other to the slaughter houses. So just write what is in you.

The world doesn’t need your story at this point. You need your story.

I have a vision what I would like my brand to be. But then again, who didn’t dream of being the homecoming queen, or a cheerleader, or the captain of some sports team, or even the school newspaper photographer. Yes, I am referring to the cliques we find in high school. The more I go to these conferences, the more I see the similarities.

But people do classify, and readers often find an author they like because of writing style and genre. They become loyal because they know what to expect from you. In the meantime just write, write, write and your brand will show up… just like magic.

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I love to hear from you. What is your brand? Do you have one? If so, how have you created your brand?

Happy writing –

Tara

2 thoughts on “Branding… are we cattle or something???

  1. I’ve been actively building my brand by becoming more entrenched in all the different fandoms of what I assume fantasy readers like. It’s been kind of crazy, but fun. Met lots of Whovians at LTUE… The t-shirts make great conversation starters.

    Like

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