Episode 107: Author Branding

On August 8, 2020, Kasie was on vacation so we aired this pre-recorded episode recorded on July 31. Here are the show notes:

Theme for the day

Your Writer Brand

Agenda

  • Join our Patreon and keep us going
  • Branding — Marketing magic or personal identity?
  • Your author brand — the “why” you do what you do
Your brand is the unique image of your work held in the mind of your readers. Photo by Viktor Lundberg on Pexels.com

Link to the podcast

Segment 1

In July, we launched our Author Spotlights page on the site. You can become a spotlighted author on our site by becoming a patron of the show at Patreon.com/WriteOnSC.

We welcomed some new Patrons in July so thanks for becoming part of our community and keeping us on the air. We appreciate you! You become a patron for as little as $5 a month and get access to a full spectrum of behind the scenes content, shares and RT’s from our account, and participation in things like #wschat and YouTube interviews. Visit www.patreon.com/WriteOnSC for more information.

Today’s episode is about branding. We’ve spent the majority of the month of July in the SCWA Summer Series talking about publishing, including the creation of the writer’s platform. As part of that discussion a few things came to light:

  1. If you are to sell books and cross from “writer” to “author” you must consider your audience.
  2. Social media is only one way to build a platform; personal relationships, interviews, podcasts, workshops, and participating in the literary community is a worthwhile effort.
  3. There is an audience out there for absolutely every work of art. You just have to find yours.

This week, while preparing for my upcoming course The Business of Writing: Entrepreneurship for Authors at the University of South Carolina, I started reading the assigned text, The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman and she begins with this great discussion on branding.

Jane says we need two key things we have not yet talked about here or anywhere else:

  1. A brand
  2. A mindset of abundance.

Segment 2

We’ll start with the brand:

“Almost every writer is preoccupied with something, and it shows up in their work. Awareness of these preoccupations is the start of identifying your brand.” — Jane, p. 16

So what are we preoccupied with?

It could be your past — something that happened to you that haunts you, is part of you, defines you. Maybe it’s a critical failure by your parents to keep you safe: abuse, abandonment, poverty. Maybe it’s your own mistakes or failures. 

It could be your faith — something you believe in without evidence, something that feels like the core of you, a reality or truth you know intimately. Maybe it’s a religion, or a superstition, or a perversion of some kind. Maybe it’s your ambition or your own biases and insecurities.

How do these things manifest in writing?

  • Our characters are like us.
  • The social environments we create either support or attack these things.
  • Dramas we construct all have similar themes, slight divergences from our own core.
  • We hero-ize the side we think is “right.”
  • We demonize the side we think is “wrong.”

How do you find your own brand?

Janes says ask yourself:

  • Who are you?
  • How did you get here?
  • What do you care about and why?

Deep, personal, introspective questions. So yeah. Let’s take a break.

Segment 3

Do people confuse the author with the work?

What responsibility (if any) does the writer have to present material that is morally acceptable? And who’s to say what’s moral?

We are both old-fashioned free speech libertarians and believe it should all be available for consumption. Let the free market decide: if the product is no good, it won’t sell.

Segment 4

Your vision of yourself as “Author” is what matters. How do you see yourself? What’s the next logical step to take to get closer to your vision?

Jane goes on to talk about revenue streams and how writers really make money. But this discussion was meant to be about seeing a vision of your writing future and then plotting a journey to get you there.

What challenges have you had in establishing your author brand? Go to Facebook.com/WriteOnSC and watch our mid-show footage to discuss.

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