What is branding?
Well… do you want the short or long answer?
The short answer is that branding is how you make yourself recognizable to the public. Your brand is your personal ‘spice’ that helps people pick you out of a lineup of other writers. Author #1 writes historical romance, and her sentences are often short, choppy, and lacking detail. Author #2 writes literary women’s fiction, and her writing is long, flowing, and poetic. Even poignant at times.
Yes, those can be distinctions between brands… but the long answer of what makes a brand is a little more complicated than that.
Branding goes deeper than simply how you write.
Yes writing style is a part of your brand. You might write slow, romantic prose, or you might write quick, spirited, comedy. But ultimately, branding is largely about meeting reader expectations.
Now, I’m not necessarily speaking about genre, though there is a large portion of the industry that does feel you must only write in one genre to be on brand. I suppose there is something to be said for that. But again, I strongly believe that branding goes beyond genre. It has more to do with the tone you use and the message you deliver again and again.
Did you catch what I said?
Branding has more to do with your message that it does with your genre.
Let me see if I can explain. I’m not saying genre has nothing to do with branding, because it does. For example, publishing houses have to categorize you somewhere—they are a business, believe it or not—which means their authors writing within a genre is important to them. However, you could potentially write two contemporary novels that are so vastly different from each other that they hardly seem written by the same person. While they’d be the same genre, they wouldn’t necessarily be on brand, and you’d leave your readers confused. In other words, your genre plays into your brand, but isn’t the entire brand. I’m a firm believer that writers can write in multiple genres and still be on brand.
Because, again, branding has more to do with your message than your genre.
Your message–your ability to touch the lives of your readers–can span genres. So when we say branding is about meeting reader expectations, what we’re really saying is that your message is what readers expect to see when they read your books, visit your website, follow you on social media, etc.
Your consistent message.
If you know your message, then no matter what you write, you’ll feel more confidence in it. You’ll know it’s on target because everything you do comes from your heart of hearts.
How do you know what your core message is? And how do you saturate everything you do with it?
More about that next Monday. 🙂
Tell Me What You Think!
Do you write in multiple genres? Why or why not?
Do you know what your author brand looks like to readers?
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