Branding is a simple concept. For an author, in a nutshell, it’s what people expect when they hear your name attached to a book (or story). If you think of the name Mark Twain, or Stephen King, or Toni Morrison, or J.R.R. Tolkien . . . many things likely pop into your head. For me, the name Tolkien conjures up images of a professorial fellow with a pipe, the smile of a raconteur on his face, eager to spin long tales that I suspect I’d like hear, maybe sitting close by in a comfy easy chair by the fireplace in his study, sipping a littleRead More →

Here’s a simple concept: You and your literary work are a brand. An older term was identity. Now, brand is a newer, broader term to talk about the perceived, implicit promise of what your writing will deliver to a consumer of it. Stephen King is a brand. His brand: thriller writer, author of familiar dark-fantasy works like Carrie with modern, everyday things like proms and favorite but spooky old cars, etc. He’s from Maine, and is a bit reclusive . . . His brand is that overall expectation that pops into your mind when you see his name on a book or story. Based onRead More →

If you’re a book author, a great feature for your professional website is an author interview. Surprisingly, one of the best approaches is a self-interview. At first glance, this might seem immodest or an inferior version of a “real” interview with an outside journalist. But done well, it can be as good . . . if not better. There are some things you can do in a self-interview that you can’t in a regular one. Get it done, anytime, on your schedule. Control the questions, to highlight the best features of your book or other work. Range freely, to bring in any offbeat, auxiliary, cross-marketingRead More →

(This is part of a mini-series for writers, with marketing value to almost any small business. For related posts, click here: “blogging for writers.”) In the last post, I talked about the benefits of a low-key, minimalist blog: one that functions as a mini-website, an online business card or directory listing. You post your contact info, bio, and services, and be done with it. Except . . . hey, now your blog exists . . . and can be used for a couple of easy online marketing applications! One is to post a public thank-you note, as a simple blog post, at the end ofRead More →

I’ve been reading several biographies of the peerless Dr. Seuss, and realized how gifted he was . . . not just in the field of children’s literature but also as a practitioner of personal branding for writers. If you’re like me, you grew up with Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, The Cat in the Hat, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, and all the other zany creatures, places, and situations devised by this master of the rhyming, readable children’s book. Pick up any Dr. Seuss book, even one you haven’t opened before, and you have a good inkling of what you’re going to get. AndRead More →

“Earn a character first if you can, and if you can’t, then assume one.” – Mark Twain (pen name of Samuel Clemens) Samuel Clemens, writing as Mark Twain, was one of the first American writers to become a national celebrity. Clemens recognized and practiced many of the features of personal branding: He wrote in a distinctive style. He adopted a downhome conversational style, a homespun flavor, full of sardonic humor, laced with folk wisdom and dialect. He made fun of fools and pompous people. He championed the virtues of plain speech and storytelling, the richness of choosing the right word (“the difference between the lightningRead More →

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