“Brand isn’t just a statement created spontaneously. It is made up over time of many little experiences.”
Five minutes to go, I thought, while valiantly attempting to work off on the treadmill my over indulgence of Christmas treats. Thank fully I had t.v. to distract me. And distract me it did! Twenty minutes later I was still huffing along, engrossed in the Bloomberg’s story about the future of advertising.
It made me think, as I prepared for the end of 2013 and the new year- 2014, that as authors every word we write speaks to this concept. Our stories are our brands. But so too are we. Which one of us hasn’t heard the advice, write what you know? I believe this goes much deeper than a research suggestion. This is about being true to ourselves when we write.
If I don’t believe in my characters and the life they lead, how on earth will my readers? Our passions for the settings we explore in our novels, whether it is renaissance England, modern day Moscow, or the planet of Zeezee, will shine through in how we describe them.
But branding isn’t as simple as picking out a few words which fit our personality or writing. Branding needs to provide focus for our efforts, so that the choices we make reflect the experiences we want our readers and fans to have.
As we toast in the new year it is a perfect time for us to consider the brand we have created for ourselves, be it stated or unstated. Does it fit our values, our dreams, and our goals? Do we live by it in what write as authors and what we do as people? And finally, would others recognize it in the experiences they encounter with us?
Last year I made a handful of resolutions which may or may not have been kept. Unrelated to what was most important to me, I have lost track of what they were. This year I plan to keep it much more simple. I have one resolution only: To formalize my brand, Journeys Inspired by Love, in what I do, what I write and who I am. At the end of the year I hope to be able to look back and find specific ways that I created this experience, not just for my readers, but also for myself.
Here’s to the very best of New Years for each of us.
p.s. last day to get your comments in for a chance to win $10 to the non-political charity of your choice. Check back next week to see if you won.
“The winner of Master Chef is… Luca. - Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!”
I ran to my office and finally got onto twitter (something I had been avoiding so that I could watch the show and learn the outcome that way.) I typed that after meeting Luca Manfe only one time, I still somehow felt vested in his win.
It was true. As a general rule, I really, really dislike reality shows. I find the personal interactions, at best, distracting and contrived and at worst, harmful examples of conflict resolution. But in this case, after meeting the tall, good looking chef in person I was hooked.
Authors often talk nowadays about the changing world of publishing and what it means to our interactions with readers. With so many books being sold electronically, it takes away the ability to create events based on book signings. For some this may seem unimportant, even a blessing. But my interaction with Luca shows why this is so very harmful to building our readership.
It is not that I personally know Mr. Manfe in any meaningful way. During my brief interaction with him I found him to be humble (he did not come right out and tell us he was on Master Chef), kind (he took the time to sign an autograph for and take a picture with my daughter) and generous (he gave me his twitter handle and told me he would follow me back.) But most importantly, he captured my attention and my curiosity, and had a specific call to action – watch Master Chef that night – which was easily managed.
In what ways, I now ask myself, can I take the lesson I learned from him and apply it to my own life? Granted, my books have a much smaller platform than a prime time t.v. show. But still… the lesson is just as valuable. Find ways to meet my readers. Be willing, although it is difficult, to let people know about my work. And offer an easy way to learn more about me and my writing.
And, while the first and last items may seem like the difficult ones, it is actually the middle one, being willing to share my news, that is most difficult for me. Everyone has important things they have done or are doing. No one has time to look up my website, or read my book.
But what if Luca had thought this way? (Or, perhaps he did, but he forced himself out of his comfort zone.) It is true that I too was proud of my work, was in fact going the very next day to pick up the print version of my book. As well, it was our first night in NY. We were hot, tired, and distracted by the sights and sounds. On the surface we should not have had time to chat about his life event, or to watch his show when it came on. But we did. And now
I feel as if, not only was I in some small way part of an amazing event, but also through it, made a new friend… And this, ultimately, is why personal interaction is so very important- Because life is fundamentally personal.
Here’s to you Luca! I can’t wait to someday eat in your new restaurant. Ole, Ole, Ole Ole!
Did you watch Master Chef? Who were you rooting for? Or, do you have a favorite chef in general? You know I am on a campaign to interact personally here… And to prove it I’m giving away a copy of my book BETTING JESSICA to one lucky commenter during the month of September.
Leave a comment for any of my blog posts and at the end of each month I will randomly select one visitor/commenter to receive a free download of my book. (Note: winner will be notified by a reply linked to their
original comment…. Check back at the end of the month for directions on how to claim your prize!)
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Link here to Betting Jessica on Amazon.com