In college, we engineering students are forced to partake of a class that essentially FORCES us to get a job, and a good one. I know, I shouldn’t be complaining. But hey, I’m just a freshmen. Getting a stable job is something I’m supposed to worry about senior year…right?
Well, whatever the case, as always in the business world, there is a serious amount of stress placed on BUILDING YOUR BRAND.
And let’s face it. As writers, if we are truly aspiring to be famous authors, we naturally become a part of the “business world”. At times, it sucks. It would be so SIMPLE if we could just say to the people of the world, “I’ll write my books, and you buy them and turn my stories into movies.”
That would be the life.
But no. As writers, we are marketers. We must promote ourselves and go through the tedious process of establishing a business-savvy identity for ourselves.
As we do this, we encounter the usual suspects.
All right, so apparently LinkedIn is the “Facebook of the business world”. I really just thought it was for old people that were trying to connect with each other, but apparently it’s a very sophisticated website. I’m not sure if it works for writers, but I thought I might as well try, right? At my school, we were all forced to make LinkedIn pages, so I have one! Find me on LinkedIn if you’re interested, and I’ll follow you back.
For writers, I’d say that Goodreads is a great place to network your stories. Note that I said your STORIES. Maybe also your prowess as a book-reviewer/critic. Nothing wrong with that. I know that I need to be more involved in Goodreads, since so many people use it.
For building a PERSONAL network, I’m happy to announce that I think WordPress is great for that. All in all, I don’t think fellow WordPress bloggers respond well to the “business” side of being a writer. Simply put, WordPress bloggers are here to encounter other PEOPLE and fellow writers, not businessmen/women. If you’re too heavy on promoting yourself, people will start to ignore you. I’ve both learned this the hard way and watched as other bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by being all about “ME ME ME”.
The first step to building a brand is identifying what it is. You have to make sure people understand who you are and what you’re trying to promote. No, don’t say, “Being a writer is your brand”. Maybe that’s part of it, and that’s great. But you have to be more specific.
The more general you are, sure, you’ll reach a wider-range of audiences. But if you can’t hone your focus in on one particular audience, you’re going to turn some people off. If you say you write about mystery and romance, but are constantly posting things about horror and fantasy, you’re going to confuse your audience.
Simply put, your brand is who you are and what you’re actually trying to promote. All of your actions should flow from your brand-identity. It’s like a mission statement. This is who I am, this is what I want to do. And then you have to stick with it.
When institutions do something uncharacteristic of who they are, or they deviate from their mission statements, things will go wrong. People will not respond well. It’s a simple, cheesy Disney idea, but it’s true: Be true to who you are.
Rock the World, Love What You Do
It might go without saying…but I’m going to say it anyway. Love your brand. Love who you are. If you don’t, it’s going to be hard to draw OTHERS to yourself if you’re a conflicted, irrational mess. You must be invested in yourself before you can convince others to do the same.
Take some time. Think about what you want, how you’ll get it, and if it’s worth it to you. Believe me, this exercise will be worth it.
And, as always, persevere. Writing is hard. Business is competitive. You’ve gotta be strong to make it in this life.
As always, I want to know, what do you think?