I know what I know about branding from trial and error and total cheese-covered fuck ups. This has become a delightfully twisted journey to publishing full of encounters with big bitches like hindsight and a bunch of lessons learned too late.
I am not a marketeer by profession, so don’t expect technical wordery, theoretical mumbojumbo or any other professorial nonsense. This post is just the culmination of my obsessive fascination of all things marketing and brand creation.
Do you know who you are as an author or what your brand is? Or even how the fuckins you’re meant to figure it out? No? Let me help…
This week, I am a hand-flapping squawking school girl because the seriously awesome Allie Potts, founder of Axil Hammer Publishing and Productions, made me something I’ve been hankering after forever. A super spangly glitter covered
unicorn Sacha Black logo. Three of them actually:
I’ve wanted something to identify my brand visually in the blink of an eye for the longest time, and finally, I have it. The cog means a lot to me for a variety of reasons, most of which you will have to wait for in a later post. But for now, what do you think?
Allie is open for business and requests. If you need a book cover, a logo or marketing materials designed, drop her a line here. In her own words:
A brand is a mechanism to set you apart from everyone else in your field. It’s a symbol (physical, visual, emotional or otherwise), a concept, a trigger, something that jogs customers minds all the way to your doorstep.
THING 1 – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CONCEPT, DARLING
“A concept frames (or, more frequently, re-frames) the issue entirely. One of the seminal concepts in advertising history is Avis Rent a Car’s “We’re #2 so we try harder.“” Steven Pressfield, Nobody Wants To Read Your Shit Anyway, P.18
He goes on to explain the reason it’s that’s a concept is because it turns a negative (being second best) into a positive – they will try harder to make your experience better than our competitors (which at the time was Hertz).
Fucking genius. When I read that I had one of those eyeball popping orgasmaphy moments (a hybrid of a big O mixed with an epiphany).
THING 2 – WHO THE FUDGEFUCKLES ARE YOU ANYWAY?
At this point, knowing who you are as an author really helps. If, like me, you recently found yourself wondering around wearing a gormless expression only to smack into a glass-clear door in your local library, then watch mortified, as your glasses ping off your face and you rupture the blissful silence by giving three old biddies coronaries because you bellowed “fuck” at the top of your voice, then trust me, it’s time to sort your shit out.
Dig deep. Figure out what in your life is a hell yeah v.s. a fuck no. It’s those details that help you define who you are as a writer, and as soon as you know that, you can use it to brand yourself.
If you don’t know who you are, let me tell you who I am and it might help you figure out what’s hiding in your secret author brand draws.
I’m an (almost) thirty-year-old teenager, with a potty mouth and a twisted sense of humour. I’m the teenager your parents were terrified you’d make friends with. I eat rules for breakfast because fuck rebellions they’re child’s play, I want a revolution. My darkest secret is that my big black heart has a mushy centre full of ALL THE WORDS AND STORIES, romance, love and shit ton of meliorism. And if you tell anyone I will kill you… slowly…silently…and with a blunt knife… while you’re watching Big Brother.
That’s why my tagline is: Book Business and Bad Words.
I will NEVER stop swearing because I love it. I like the way it tastes dirty and how the words knock against my teeth. But more than anything, I adore the look of pure horror on people’s faces as I drop some obscure swear word in an inappropriate situation. *snigger* (see told you I was a naughty teenager)
Seriously though, that paragraph might read like nonsense, but it’s not.
- The naughty child writes non-fiction and blog posts using bad language and strange made up bullshit.
- The soppy meliorist teenager writes YA fiction.
Annoyingly for me, I am one person, but I have two identities that will lead to two brands and two audiences (I hope).
It comes back to why. Why are you writing? Why does your story matter? If you don’t know, don’t expect me or more importantly your audience to know either.
Who are you? And what is your brand? Let me know in the comments.
THING 3 – VOGUE IT LIKE YOU’RE ON A RUNWAY
I have zero fashion sense. Seriously less than fuck nothing. The other day I was forced to go shopping because I had four tops left and three of those had bloody holes in. I’m worse than tragic, I’m pathetic. But at least I have a consistent style – the clothes I do have are ALL the same colour… the same colour as my heart… Black.
Why am I talking about my threadbare wardrobe when I should be talking about authorly brandage?
Because style matters.
I might not have style when it comes to donning frocks. But I sure as shit know what I do and don’t like on my blog and across my platform. It matters for you too.
- What imagery do you use?
- Do you use the same voice across your platform?
- Do you use certain colours in your media and designs?
- Do you use certain fonts?
- Have you got a logo, or image or something that sets you apart from everyone else?
- Do you always write about life the universe and the number 42 or do you give people information on the latest scientific breakthroughs in hair re-growing maggot juice?
Be deliberate. You know like when you deliberately trip the bimbo-bitch up at work and pretend it was an accident? That kind of deliberate. Everything you put out says something about your brand. The internet is a fucking virus with a memory like an elephant. Remember that Christmas do when you were catatonically drunk and thought it was a good idea to flash your vaj at the copier boy to see if he passed out and then someone took a photo at a particularly crucial moment? Once you put it out there that shit ain’t ever coming back.
PUT YOUR ‘BRAND’ EVERYWHERE. That’s when it becomes branding. It’s what identifies you as you instead of Chad the chunky butt cheese chunderer.
It’s why you know there’s only one boy with a lightning scar and only one drinks brand that comes in a red can with white swirly writing.
Style matters. Choose yours carefully.
THING 4 – CONSISTENT LIKE YOUR 8AM COFFEE
I’ve already said I’m calculated and deliberate. But I do it for a reason. It makes me consistent. Being consistent builds brand awareness. You’re reliable, people know what to expect. People are sheep. They like consistency and they like knowing what to expect. That’s why everyone reads the same genre, over and over and over and over……. times eleventy cuntzillion.
You need to be deliberate and you need to be consistent when you deliberatize yourself.
(that’s totes a word).
It’s subtle. I doubt anyone would even notice without me highlighting it. But some of the things I do deliberately and consistently are…
- I use the same three fonts in all my imagery
- I use a lot of purple and black in my website design (not on my blog header photos)
- My blog header photos have a ‘look and feel’ to them, even though each post has a completely different image and colour scheme
- I swear constantly
- I always post on a Monday and always a lesson I’ve learnt recently about writing
- I deconstruct everything I come across into a forensic level of detail so I can use it as examples to learn from
- I share my learning because I believe we’re all in this together
- I HATE detail and am beyond shit at grammar so I always have typos no matter how many times I proof read.
If you come here often, those things should ring true to you. What do you do deliberately and consistently? Let me know in the comments.
If you don’t believe me, Charli Mills is a marketeer by profession, she wrote a fantastic series on decoding your author platform 18 months ago, I read it way back then and although it was some time ago, I haven’t forgotten the impact the series had on me. If you haven’t read them, you really, REALLY should. Find her posts here: Decoding the platform, Branding, Why, Voice, Community.
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