by Diane Holmes, Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book
This is the sixth in a series on Author Branding. Previous articles include:
1. Author Branding vs. an Army of Writers
2. The Author’s Branding Manifesto
3. The Gleam in Your Author Brand (Brand Building Technique #1)
4. Storytelling Your Author Brand (Brand Building Technique #2)
5. Yes, Your Book Is Part of Your Brand (part 1) (Brand Building Technique #3)
While YOU are your Author Brand, your book is an essential part of YOU.
In part one, we explored how to link your book to your personality, values, and story. In part two, we’ll look at how you and your reader are linked by a comment delight in genre, character, plot & prose.
Let’s face it, you’re building a brand because of your writing, to support your career. And it’s a rather unique career, especially for fiction writers. We write and write and write for the love of it, hoping that someday we can sell what we write. We tend to love our books fiercely, because it’s just us against the world.
So, today let’s look at that thang we love, because what jazzes us most about our writing can also be part of our Brand.
Brand Building Technique #4: Linking Your Brand to Your Book’s Genre, Character, Plot, and Prose
For each book you’ve written, ask the following questions. (Like last time, omit any book that doesn’t have a plot or topic you’d write today. If it’s not part of your current or future career, it’s not part of your brand.)
- When you find yourself talking to someone who loves your genre as much as you do, what do you both agree makes that genre so great?
- What books in your genre do you recommend the most to others? What are the similarities between those books and your book?
- What drives you nuts about your genre? How do you address that in your own book?
- What can you point to in your book that is a classic example of your genre?
- What did you do that you’ve never seen done before in your genre?
- What about your personality, your philosophy, and your experiences inform the creation of your characters?
- What do you hope your readers will notice and love?
- Look at the actions and reactions of your characters. Which pieces came directly from you?
- Look at the consequences, challenges, motivations, and desires your characters face? Where are you exploring things that are true for you as well?
- Look at the concrete facts in your characters’ lives: jobs, setting, family members, hobbies, tragedies, successes. Which pieces came from personal knowledge?
- One of the biggest decisions writers make is where to begin a story and where to end it. Which one of your reasons for your opening and ending comes from deeply personal insights? Sheer pleasure?
- Why were you drawn to the structure of your plot?
- What do you hope draws your readers to your plot?
- Look at your biggest scenes and your smallest scenes. What about these scenes needed to be told in this way? How is this “just so you.”
- What about this plot really challenged you as a writer? As a human being?
- What aspects of the plot are you most proud of? Why? Is this something that is consistent across all your books?
- How does your plot remind you of your favorite reading experiences?
- What authors and books do you hope your readers compare your plot to?
- Which lines meant the most to you? You know the ones, I mean. The lines in the scene that just nailed it. The lines that all your critique partners and readers love. The lines that still make you laugh when you read them once again? How do these lines relate to you?
- What themes and motifs did you explore in this book? How many ways are they experienced? Why do they appeal so much to you? What do you get out of exploring them?
- What’s the rhythm of your prose? The hallmarks? What does this say about you? About other authors you like as a reader?
- Look at your word choice. Find the words, the phrases, the details you don’t want anyone to change. Why do you think/feel those are the right words?
- What’s important to you when you craft the sentences that tell your story? How do you know when you’ve gotten to the right words, the right meaning?
- What’s the best compliment a reader could give you? Another author?
Jot down answers, then come back through and look for information that surprises you, that really gets to the truth about why you wrote this book, that gets to the truth of YOU.
Circle the ones that you’d like to be part of your brand. Compare them to what you came up with in Part 1.
BONUS: See if you can think of other authors whose Author Brand includes many of the same words. How are you (and your Brand) the same or different from these other authors?
See you next time!
Diane writes two columns for Freelance-Zone: Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone:Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.
She’s the Founder and Chief Alchemist of Pitch University – “Learn to pitch your book from the AGENTS and EDITORS who make their living at it. Learn. Pitch. Sell.”
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