I have to say I’m struggling with this concept of a brand, as it relates to marketing books and authors. I attended a conference this past week, and in one panel, Whitney Keyes (a very nice lady and author of Propel) said that a brand is not a logo.
That made sense. Up until that moment that’s exactly what I thought a brand was. As in branding a cow. In the two books I have out, there’s a cougar paw print. I’ve used that as my mark, so to speak, and plan on having it in each book. I thought of that as a way to easily identify the series, by having that mark on the spine. A brand, right?
Apparently not. It seems a brand is actually more like a theme, if I’m understanding correctly. How do I want to be perceived, how do I want the books to be perceived. A suggestion was made to think about how you describe yourself as a writer, and pull the key words from that, which then gives you an idea of what your brand can be. I haven’t been able to do that.
This evening a friend and I had a great visit, and during that we talked about an author we both like. Elly Griffiths and her Ruth Galloway series. One of the things I said was that the author has such a sense of place. And I realized that place, land, setting, is vital to me as a reader. It’s also something I’ve always wanted to be able to do as a writer. I want to be able to sink into a place so completely, that the mountains and rivers and forests come alive in the imagination.
That’s the kind of writer I want to be known as. One who has that sense of place, one who can connect a reader to the mountains, through a story. I don’t think I’ve reached that place, but that is what I would strive to be.
I have a vague sense that somewhere in that is a brand. I just haven’t been able to pull it out yet. Until it does, I will have to stick with the cougar print.
How do you perceive brand vs. logo? What would you consider your brand, your sense of self to be?
3 thoughts on “Branding”
I am not quite sure if I got what the difference is but if I would find a word for you that describes your books its the mountains. You called it the mountain mysteries series and thats what I would label you with. You know, like HMR, like the North West, rough, scruffy, green…
Maybe thats my label of you in general. But that is actually most of what I read from you. And if it is not directly in the mountains it is still rough, scruffy, green and rocky. At least in my mind…
Even if it is on the coast, I could never see a story of you play on a warm sunny, sandy beach with turquoise water. But then the Highlands totally fit! 😉
What a compliment! Rough, scruffy, green. Rough and scruffy would also label my favorite kind of man. And you’re right, I’d never be comfortable somewhere warm, sunny, and sandy. Now a beach that is stormy and rocky like the Oregon coast, that sounds appealing.
Ugh, I always have trouble summing up my “brand” too, though other people are often very good at offering things that I make them think of. Recently one of my former writing instructors redid his website and I loved the way he presented himself not as a writer or a visual artist, but as a multidisciplinary artist whose work touches on several recurring themes. I made a note to think about my own work in that way, at some point, and maybe revamp my own site to reflect these themes.
I do think your writing has a wonderful sense of place. In fact, this is mildly embarrassing, but until I read your books I never had any kind of consciousness of a northwest mountain culture/landscape/world — I simply didn’t think of that area at all, except to know that Seattle is around there. That shows my limitations as an urbanite, I guess, and urbanites hate thinking there are things they don’t know… 😉 But truly, you’ve brought whole communities to life for me, and that’s one of the many reasons I love your work. 🙂