Sunday, August 14, 2011

Author branding: I am, I love, I believe (and I write)

In a guest post on, Laurel Marshfield (Blue Horizons Communications) describes authors' brands as messages they put out about themselves.  Marshfield says "Your brand is your author story ... you need to consciously make use of the intersection between your personal life story and the story your books tell. And then, you need to use that intersection to dialogue with interested readers."  She cites author Jodi Picoult’s webside as an example of effective branding.

This may not be the ultimate definition of "branding," but it's one I think I understand.  So I ask myself, do I have a brand?  Maybe so.  My two novels-in-progress share some characteristics, and they do reflect who I am, what I love, and what I believe.  (Also the kind of books I like to read). Here's a partial list.

1. Appreciation for ordinary people in a distinct cultural setting--in my case, wilderness, rural, and small-town.  In my reading, this shows up in preference for books set in other cultures:  A Fine Balance (Mistry), Brick Street (Ali), Cutting for Stone (Verghese), State of Wonder (Patchett).

 My two WIPs, The Girl on the Mountain and Ridgetop are set 100 years apart in the same Appalachian region. 

2. Fascination with the mountain wilderness, maybe because much of West Virginnia's terrain and flora present challenges and difficulties to overcome as well as spectacular views.  I never tire of the view from my windows. 

3. Love of history, especially the history of industry and everyday implements used by our great-grandparents.  I love old things.

4. Respect for people, because all creation is precious.  I think this means I will never have a villain who isn't partly sympathetic. 

Enough about me.  How about you?  What's the connection between you and your stories?  What's your brand?

See Laura Marshfield's full post:
What's an Author Brand?