HOW TO CREATE YOUR BRAND AS A WRITER
Although this post is essentially about how to create your brand as a writer, reviewing some fundamental definitions and distinctions with examples will provide the best clarity.
Genre refers to the classification of your writing (essay, poetry, short-story, novel, etc.).
In contrast, Voice encompasses attitude (your worldview, convictions, and feelings), personal style (your use of grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation), and tone (the overall effect of your writing based on attitude and personal style).
Your Brand, on the other hand, emphasizes your voice. According to author Heidi Cohen, “Brands are shorthand marketing messages that create emotional bonds with consumers… including logos, graphics, colors and sounds.”
Here is an example including the above three concepts.
- Genre – Gangster Rap
- Worldview – Life is unfair
- Conviction – It is unfair because of double standards (e.g., Many parents declare, “Do as I say and not as I do.).
- Feeling – Anger
- Personal Style
- Grammar – redundancies, run on sentences, verbosity
- Vocabulary – profanity
- Punctuation – frequent use of exclamation points
- Tone – Righteous Indignation (type of anger)
- Book cover or website logo – gorilla head
- Book cover or website color and design – red and black swirls (to indicate anger)
- Book or website images – two shirtless male rappers in a fist fight, a woman screaming with smoke coming out of her ears
- Website sounds – synthesizer, electric guitar, percussion
- Website sound effects – gunshots, explosions, breaking glass
In other words, your brand as a writer emerges from your voice, especially your tone. It is your signature mark and should be a single idea or characteristic by which you want others to identify you. As evidenced in the examples above, the theme of the brand is synonymous with the tone of righteous indignation, and the logo, colors, images, sounds, and sound effects promote that message.
Author Nina Amir maintains that most writers do not bother to brand themselves and that those who do wait until they are already established. She further states, “Serious writers who want to succeed as authors should include branding in their early success planning. It gives your name recognition and helps you sell your products.”
Additionally, Amir lists the following considerations that will help you create your brand:
- The types of writing you want to do
- The subjects about which you want to write
- The types of stories you want to tell
- The themes you want to cover in your work
- The ways in which you want to serve your readers
- The clients or customers you want to attract
- The spin-off books (sequels or series) you would like to publish
- Your values
- Your interests
- Your passion
Should you have difficulty with some of the above determinants, you can always ask friends or close associates what they feel are your strengths and growing edges, how they perceive your values, and how they would describe you in general.
In summary, as a writer, you should create a portfolio and a website or blog where your best writings can be displayed, accentuated with your brand. Anyone viewing your portfolio, visiting your site, or even looking at the cover of your book should immediately know what you represent and want to communicate.
McClellan, Leah. “Writer’s Voice: What it is and How to Develop Yours.” http://simplewriting.org/writers-voice/ (accessed January 29, 2017).
Cohen, Heidi. “30 Branding Definitions.” http://heidicohen.com/30-branding-definitions/ (accessed February 1, 2017).
Amir, Nina. “6 Branding Tips for Writers and Authors.” https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/07/6-branding-tips-for-writers-and-authors/ (accessed February 1, 2017).
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