Branding is important, but how do you do it?

Branding. What is it? How do we do it?

Thea Atkinson

We read the term all the time; we even get the advice and much much explanation from blogs like Kristen Lamb’s. Her book, We Are Not Alone goes into much detail about branding and marketing as an author. There are other blogs and sites that discuss branding at length. And there are a ton of books too. John Locke’s book (yes, I succumbed to the hype and bought it) details his journey on branding and suggests to authors how they can use his method to build an audience.

All great advice.

But really. How do you actually DO it?

I’m not sure how you can, but I can tell you how I’m going about it. It’s my own style of soft sell marketing mixed with information from both Kristen Lamb’s and Johne Locke’s books. It’s all good information, but I needed to find a way to make my brand in a way that suited me and that I could manage.

And I hope perhaps with a little explanation of what I’m doing, you might find a comfort zone with this whole concept for yourself.

At first, I struggled with the notion of my brand. I did the keywords thing like Kristen suggested. (Want to know more, just snap up her book, it’s a great read and very helpful) The trouble was, I had a hard time describing myself with tags and keywords. If you check my Amazon tags, you’ll see just how much I struggle. For a writer, I’m woefully inept at summarizing, but I digress.

After many frustrating weeks of trying to find my own comfort zone with tags and keywords and branding and trying to be helpful to others, (which I do anyways) I picked up John Locke’s book How I Sold a Million Ebooks. I read it. I tried his method–or at least I gave it the old  Thea shot, which means I did as much as I was comfortable with. I don’t have a newsletter and tons of fans to help spread my word, nor do I feel comfortable asking people to do it for me. But I did discover I was already doing some of the things he suggested.

So.

I mixed the two self-help books into one Thea concept to find out what the Thea brand is. The information from both of these as well as a few weeks of reflection told me I was already doing what I should to build my brand. I just needed to fine tune and focus.

You see, I write character driven fiction (a keyword combination that I found thanks to Kristen’s book). This means that what drives my own writing motor is the same things that drive my characters. I want to know how they will act/react/ and grow/evolve from a plot. So I started thinking:

What are all those events in my life’s journey that propel(led) me to the page in the first place? My brother’s addiction, the suicide of a friend, the heart attack my mom suffered, the death of my favorite pet. All those things and more send me to the written page and infect the things I write there.

That’s what drives me.

And I bet those things will interest a reader who is interested in character driven fiction. And so if I blog about those, my target audience will appreciate it.

Will those posts interest a pulp fiction, vampire loving, shapeshifting time traveller reader?

No.

And that’s ok, because a pulp fiction, vampire loving, shapeshifting time traveller reader probably won’t like my books anyway (unless they happen to love those genres but also REALLY care about how the characters will evolve/grow etc. THEN they just might like my stuff)

So I blog about those things and I ask people to read them and share if they like it. Recently, I’ve been asking folks who share my posts through Twitter to add a hashtag of #theagimmesome and then each Monday, I draw a name at random and email that person a coupon for a free ebook from Smashwords.

All little things that build the Thea Atkinson brand, the brand of a writer who enjoys the journey and struggles of life whether fictional or real life and blends them.

That’s my brand.

What’s yours?

-30-

If you liked this post, please do share. If you tweet it with the hashtag #theagimmesome I will enter you into a weekly random draw to win a Thea ebook.

Plus grab a free short story: God in the Machine from Smashwords just for visiting.

Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction.

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Posted in writerwednesday exercises
15 comments on “Branding is important, but how do you do it?
  1. […] Branding is important, but how do you do it? (theaatkinson.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Lindsay B. says:

    I might try to tackle this in a blog post of my own. I’m not an expert, but I’d say branding would be being out there in a lot of different places so that readers in your genre keep stumbling over you. I’m skeptical that it has anything to do with keywords (that’s search engine optimization in my book, and a whole different beast), but I haven’t read the book you’re talking about.

    • I agree, Lindsay. i think branding is about making yourself synonymous with your content. I think keywords are just one small piece of that. I can’t wait for your post on it. Please do write it

  3. Hi, great post. Your thoughts on how to brand sound eminently sensible – as commented above, mix-and-match and spin to suit your needs. Still, it’s a very difficult thing to do – particularly given the highly ‘soft sell’ nature of marketing via the internet (more so with social media, where ‘evanescent’ also springs to mind). Good on you, and thanks for sharing.

    Matthew Wright
    http://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com
    http://www.matthewwright.net

    • thanks for your encouragement, Matthew. i appreciate it. So far it works for me, albeit modestly. I don’t sell hotcakes the way indie author Amanda Hocking does, but I’m happy with what I do sell.

  4. Thanks for sharing your branding experience. Im still working on creating a brand. I really enjoy the wrting process and if Im able to make my audience enjoy it with me, that’s the experience I crave for.

  5. Rosen says:

    Hi Thea, I’m looking for blogs to visit during a virtual book tour for my new comedy-romance novel. Would you be interested is posting a quick interview with me? I’m sure I could be persuaded to return the favour. Rosen.

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I think many of us are in the same situation – trying to find how to do what we need to do in ways we are comfortable with. I’ll be passing this along on Twitter and coming back to your blog for more!

  7. Tina Lee says:

    Oops. I meant JANICE

  8. Tina Lee says:

    I really enjoyed your post at Janet Hardy’s so I came over here to let you know. I struggle with the same thing. And your approach with the character driven slant to what you write about makes a lot of sense to me and gives me hope that some day I will be able to summarize myself! Thanks so much. You have given me a lot to think about.🙂

    • I am so glad you came here. i’ve tried to post a comment on Janice’s blog 3 times and all three times the internet chewed it up and swallowed it. I got tired of writing my comment over and over.

      So YES! I’m glad you visited and let me know I’ve helped in some small way. I’ll be over to visit you very soon.

      t

  9. Hi Thea, great post.
    You’ve got the right idea there I believe, in terms of putting the advice of others together and putting your own spin on it.

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