How to build your brand

I saw an interesting article by Mary Keeley at Books and Such about how to build a unique brand in your writing. She asks:

“What unique characteristics come to mind when you see well-known names? Voice, writing style, personality, passion—these qualities establish your unique identity within your chosen genre. No one else can do these the same way you do. That is a profound thought.

You know your personality, but it takes lots of practice writing to discover your special voice and develop your writing style. This is why many authors don’t get their first, or second, or even third books published. But these works still have incredible value as learning tools.

She shares my view that “blogging is another way to practice your writing.”

She suggests you should ask the following three elementary questions because insights may come to you that identify your brand or refine your brand concept:

  1. Have I chosen the genre that best suits my interests and passions, or am I going for what is currently popular? Genre popularity is cyclical, so choosing by that standard alone is a mistake and won’t result in your best writing if it’s the wrong fit for you.
  2. What are the characteristics of the readers I want to attract? How can I touch their deepest needs? How can I give back to them?
  3. Nonfiction writers: What topics am I most passionate about? How can I convey my message through my unique writing style? Fiction writers: What kinds of stories do I want to write? What values do I want to express in the characters I create?

Genre selection, voice, personality, passion, writing style. These have to be clear to you before you can define your brand with confidence. It may be helpful to ask your critique partners or mentors for their perspectives on you as well as your values and strengths. Others often see qualities we miss in ourselves.

In another blog, she goes on to talk about brand further in that it’s more than finding a commonality of experience, e.g. kidnappings, murder, etc. but more about the promise of a certain kind of reading experience. She makes an interesting point that sometimes we find our brand when we violate it. Also another point she makes is about communicating the types of book that you write and interact with your readers to build your brand. Read it here.

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