Just when I get to the point of knowing exactly who the hell I am, I go and find out I should also be a brand. When I think brand, for some reason, I think of Campbell’s soup. The red and white label, the cute Campbell’s kids who aren’t chubby anymore, the time my son said the soup he made was really thick because he didn’t know he was supposed to add water (i.e. he didn’t read the directions).
I don’t really want to be a can of soup.
But branding makes sense if you want an identity in the bookstore, in the public eye or on the internet. One wiggly thread that weaves through what you do, who you are, what you write. I’m thinking it’s more like being a variety of soups on the shelf, not just one. Like being Chicken with stars, rice, o’s and alphabets. It’s all chicken soup with a different twist. But in the end, it’s chicken soup.
It’s the consistent taste and quality is what keeps people coming back for more. You know what they say…
Mmm, mmm, good!
OK, too much soup talk.
So I have thought about what noodles (couldn’t help it, sorry) its way through all of my writing. For the most part my non-fiction articles and essays are parenting-life related in some way. Not necessary about parenting, but about life as it revolves around the world of parenting. Perhaps we could go further and say nontraditional parenting since I’m not in a traditional family. Not too many people are these days, but if you read parenting crap, I mean articles, you’d never know that. I think most of my pieces also put a positive spin on things, because frankly any other option is relatively ridiculous to me. I think that complaining is a waste of time, so you better just make the best of it all, make it work. If you waste a day, don’t spend another one crying over it. Harsh? No, economical. Time is something you can’t make more of or get back.
Are you branded as an author/writer and if so… what’s your brand? What is the piece that makes it undeniably you and what in your writing holds onto readers through various media, books, magazines, journals? Is it just darn good writin’ that keeps people coming back for more of your fiction or creative non-fiction or straight non-fiction. Meaning, could you write about a glass of water and make it interesting or do you need that thread that goes through it that links it to your work. Water for a family because you’re a mom or a dad. Water for horses because you write about ranches and animals. Water for swimming because you write about athletes?
See? It’s not really about soup.
Author Allison Winn Scotch has recently adopted a brand for her work, and that’s working for her. I tend to think along those lines, of making headway with many different stories that all emerge from one small place.
I think that may be key in these tight publishing times, to position oneself as an expert or a damn good writer of a certain type of story or book. Anything that helps is worth exploring, right? Or am I nuts?
No, maybe I’m just hungry.