Branding–Am I selling my books or myself?

Sam mentioned “Branding” in his Friday post and I thought that would be an interesting topic to pursue this week. BTW, if you have a topic you would us at Tsaba House to discuss or a question you’d like answered, drop us a line, and we’ll each take a turn giving you our spin on it. This group has a lot of opinions so you may get more than you bargained for.

But back to branding. For those of you not in the marketing world, branding is what you do to make your product known to the consumer. Back when I was still naive and idealistic, I thought I would write a book, the grateful public would clamor to read it, and I could get back to writing my next masterpiece. Little did I know I had to market myself, not just my book. In fact, it’s more important to market the writer than what that writer has produced. Most of us writers like to think we have more than one book within us, so it’s important that we get people to want every word we write, not just the one they see at that moment on the bookstore shelf.

That’s where branding comes in. What do I want readers to think of when they pick up my latest release? We all know what to expect when we see a Mary Higgins Clark on the shelf. Or a Sue Grafton. Or a Tom Clancy. Wouldn’t it be a hoot to open the newest Stephen King only to discover he’s written a bodice ripper or a lowfat cookbook?! I might get a kick out of it, but I doubt his agent would find the humor.

No one even asks the store clerk what these writers’ books are about. We already know. So that’s where I am at this point in my career.

The only problem is I’m not sure how I want to brand myself. I love contemporary women’s fiction, which categorizes my latest books. My favorites are mysteries and suspense. I love reading them and creating them. I also love historicals. I even have two books in mind that would be classified as westerns. Romances are also fun, especially when combined with one or more of the aforementioned genres. My current WIP is definitely a Mary Higgins Clark type story. I’ve even finished the first in a mystery series for middle-grade readers. That was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see the series in print someday.

So what kind of writer am I? What is my brand? It’s been proven that branded writers sell better than those who write all over the map. I think we’re all in agreement that Stephen King should stay away from bodice rippers. Unless the “ripper” is a literal term.

I think I’ll go ahead and finish my whodunnit while I ponder which direction I want my writing to take. I believe the Lord puts these stories and ideas in my head for a reason, so who am I to resist. I can’t wait to see how the other Tsaba House authors have decided to brand themselves. Or if they’ve even thought about it.

Wishing all a blessed Monday and a prosperous & productive week,
Teresa Slack

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