Branding the Writer

No, I’m not talking about the kind of branding you do on cattle. I’m talking about creating an image for yourself as a writer to use in promoting yourself. Some writers create a persona or alter ego for themselves that makes them stand out, and be memorable. They will even go as far as creating a costume or particular outfit to wear to public appearances, book signings, conventions, so they are easily recognizable. 

An example is fellow author, Zombie Zak. He has branded himself as a cookie eating, world domination scheming, verse spewing zombie who writes poetry, horror, and fantasy. He has done such a great job of promoting himself that he has become quite well known with this persona.  So much so that I don’t even know his real name. Another is Louis Agresta, writer, role-playing gamer, entertainer, who wears a loud orange suit and hat to conventions, making him visibly stand out among the crowds. Author Richard Evans utilizes an online persona of a dwarf named Brodder Foamymugs, complete with an illustrated profile picture of a fantasy dwarf in armor with a tankard full of beer.

A fellow author and I were discussing promoting our works and ourselves as writers. We were talking about how projecting a certain memorable image can help you with book sales, and certainly make you stick in the minds of readers and fans. It got me to thinking about what my personal image, or persona as an author might be, or what I could develop to become more memorable.

My interests in life are quite diverse. I am a paranormal investigator, Qi-Gong Kung Fu martial artist, writer of poetry, fantasy, horror, science fiction, non-fiction among other things.  I am known for collecting  and repeating famous or infamous, quotes. As far as clothing goes, I have a penchant for wearing a full length black trench coat when weather allows. I also like to wear a lot of black or dark colors.  I own a long black cloak for a costume based on my dark fiction novel main characters called The ShadowRogue. I  have a pirate costume that I wear to renaissance and other historical faires, at Halloween and to costume parties. Also I’m actually quite short,  just over five feet tall, and people often remember me for that. Larry the short, story writer?

But which of these things makes me stand out, and will make me memorable? Do I want to be known as The Pirate Writer? Not really, since I don’t usually write about pirates. Although I did write a short piece of fiction creating a character based on my pirate costume. When I finish my ShadowRogue novel, I can see that dressing up as my main character to promote the book makes sense, but I’m not ready to do that yet. Paranormal investigation and martial arts are both things people identify me with, but how to develop those aspects into an image?

So what is my outstanding characteristic that typifies my brand? I don’t know. Larry the Quote Meister? Larry, the short guy who writes short stories? Larry the paranormal Kung Fu author? The black trench coat is certainly something I’m known for, but it’s not always practical when the weather outside, or the temperature  inside even, is too hot. And do I even need a theme or a  “look” that is representative of who I am as a person, or as a writer? Again, I don’t know. But it’s fun to think up ideas for it, and maybe by the time one of the next sci-fi, fantasy conventions rolls around, I will have figured it out.

Published in: on September 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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