Monday, April 22, 2013

Brand: organic not manufactured...

I have wittered in the past about branding (see here and here). As more and more authors have become their own pr and marketing managers, the concept of brand has become a goal. Surely the key to selling more books is for prospective buyers to recall your name in association with one of your sterling titles and want more of your sterling titles. I have tried to embrace branding and I have struggled with branding - the key common element in my writing has been my desire to make it as good as it can be, there are even a couple of common themes across my stories, even those for different age groups. But essentially each book is a new independent being. Did Roald Dahl or Margaret Mahy ever see themselves as brands? I guess they didn't have to because the publishers and booksellers and academics and educationists were willingly on the job for two such stars. Their branding happened organically. Yet now it's a required task - part of Build a Writing Career 101.

Then on a recent weekend I read an article in the NZ Herald's Saturday Canvas Magazine. It was about Mark Ellis, sometime All Black, try scorer, business partner, entrepreneur, TV personality and radio DJ. He rejected the notion of trying to be a brand. He wasn't interested in that. Despite his life in the public eye and the value of his name for new projects, being a brand hasn't been his goal. You do what you want and have to do. You try and do it well.

And then yesterday I came across this post by FictionBitch also debating the topic of branding (it's out there in the universal super-conscious folks). She railed against the type of branding imposed by publishers keen to capitalise on a winning book by repeating the formula that had produced it. Successful branding is more about style and voice (which makes perfect sense when we think of Roald Dahl and Margaret Mahy). It's a natural thing.

And me? My writing is the product of my personal style married to my world view and personal interests. The goal is and will always be great writing I am proud of (whether I always achieve it or not). The brand is a happy by-product. Be the best writer you can be folks. If brand is going to happen, I reckon it will come of its own accord. And hey, now I have one less thing to work on or worry about.

And I had another very nice review for A Winter's Day in 1939 here on the Booksellers website.

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