Sunday, November 30, 2008

Brand Melinda Szymanik

Yesterday I read yet another interesting post on Maureen Crisp's blog. The topic was branding. And I'm not talking the permanent mark on the skin kind (although I want one of those too). In one of those slightly freaky coincidences that sometimes dogg me, only the day before at a Kiwiwrite4kidz workshop on marketing and presentation skills one of the presenters, Brian Falkner had been talking on the same subject and recently it has been something I have been thinking quite a bit on myself. I've wittered on before about the need for authors to get out there and publicise themselves and their books. Now, with a reported trend in overseas publishers who have previously taken on the pr and marketing role themselves, encouraging writers to DIY, whether we like it or not, we must step up and do as much as we can ourselves. We kiwis seem to have been one step ahead of our foreign counterparts with this trend but I don't think we are necessarily better prepared. But whether we are or not, i think it comes down to brand recognition. When a book buyer goes into a bookshop intent on making a purchase, I want my name or the name of my books to be uppermost in their minds. There is an ocean of book titles on offer. The only way I can rise above the waves is to increase my brand recognition. There is debate about whether reviews sell books. I think anything that spreads your name and the name of your books across a wider audience will benefit you in the long run. I am in this business for the long haul. It might take me a while to build up my brand and achieve recognition. And i can't afford to focus just on branding. I obviously also need to devote time to my core business - writing children's fiction and getting it published and as we know that isn't a simple process. But the two are linked. If I have a recognised brand then I will be a more appealing publishing prospect. It is important that my brand reflects what I do. I don't just write one genre in children's fiction. So far I've had short, novel length and picture book fiction published. I'm now working on a YA story. My branding shouldn't pigeon hole me. I've got a lot still to work out yet but in the meantime I'm going to improve my presentation skills and do as many school visits and author talks as I can fit in.

1 comment:

maureen said...

Melinda you said it so well...
I am sure that the Szymanik brand is the right way to go for you. Sometimes an unusual name can be the catch phrase you need...
Over Christmas when you are bored with reading the latest blockbuster chic lit have a look at some online marketing books...there are heaps of tips there to think about...but you are already well ahead of the rest!
You have a blog you regularly update, you write a column, you have written across the age groups. I have heard you described as a hot new writer...so you are there...you just need to believe it yourself...
The 1st news release to everyone about the conference will be at the end of the week.So everyone can add it to their Christmas wish list.
maureen