Author Brand Part II: Comments

A few people were kind enough to contribute excellent comments on author brand. I wanted to highlight two.

First Theresa Meyers: “If you still are confused, remember also that your author brand isn’t about your books as much as it is about you as a writer, which is why you aren’t going to be boxed in by it. Your brand will cut across genres, and it will be inherent in everything you write as fiction.

Sometimes your brand isn’t an obvious statement that you are going to use out in public. It’s deeper, hidden in things you repeat in your stories and how you tell them. Sometimes it can even be cliched (You can never go home. Still waters run deep. Family Matters.)

Look back through your stories, find what you consistently put in your stories as themes. What do they have in common? Whatever that is, that’s the core of your author brand.

You can then build on that using taglines like Debbie’s “Wherever you are Debbie takes you home.” Debbie’s core brand is that Family Matters. That’s why all her stories are about finding connections, building a family, even if you don’t have one you’re born into. Learning how to cope with the ties that bind because they are part of who we are. Small towns and people who need family.

The coolest thing about an author brand is that every author is unique. Unlike other consumer products like soda, nobody else can produce exactly the same thing as you. Yes, your brand might look similar to another author’s, but the taste, the texture, the experience of your story will be what keeps readers coming back over and over again.

How do I know all this? In my day job did branding work with Carly Phillips and Vicki Lewis Thompson before they were picks for the Kelly Ripa Bookclub.”

And Elise Logan continued: “In a similar vein, I think of branding as being based a lot on author voice. You know when you pick up a Nora Roberts that you are going to get that sort of flowing magical prose that may lean a bit toward frothy, but always comes back to the emotional punch. You know you’ll have fully formed, interesting characters, even in the secondary and tertiary characters. When you pick up a Linda Howard, you know you’ll get harder-edged, more abrupt prose with an edge of wry humor in strange places and raw sexuality. You know when you pick up Jacqueline Carey that you will get dense, descriptive prose, thoughtful and intense characters, and extremely dense, expansive plotting. These are the things that make each author unique, and why six authors can write the same trope and come up with six very different reads.

Distilling your unique author voice into a phrase is hard – very hard. But I think it’s definitely worth it.”

Thanks to both insightful women.

Next week is RWA. I am on a digital panel on Thursday at 4:30 and the Harlequin corporate session on Thursday. I’ll post a more complete schedule when I’m back in the office.

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