Sunday, May 27, 2012

What's Your Brand? And what is that, anyway?

My new Brand...or not?

An author is known by her Voice. But promo is often the tool that gets you recognized.
And branding is an interpretation of the artist's Voice.
Isn't it?
I have heard so many speak of Brand. Few have defined it well for me. The speakers have included editors, authors and agents. Everyone thinks they know.
I would say it is that definable look and words, if any are needed, that capture who you are and what you represent when a reader picks up your books. Branding is not only a feel, but a statement about your essence. It represents your world view that comes out in your writing.  Your brand must connote an attitude and a concept of who you are and what you convey in work after work.
Few writers can declare that, IMHO, when they first begin to publish. In fact, I think it takes at least 5-10 books before you can truly define what it is you tell your readers, work after work, time after time.
ME? What do I convey to my readers in my themes, premises and morals?
First and foremost, I tell them that marvelous, invention, tender sex is a vital component of any love affair.
I have lived that. I believe that.
Next? I would say I tell them that, hey, life ain't easy, but if you work hard, be good to yourself and to others, you not only deserve a great love affair but also a loving long-term relationship.
Finally, I would say I imply to my readers that love enriches your life. Finding one to love who loves you as a worthy mate is a worthwhile endeavor. And yep, there are a lot of potential partners out there who are not worth your time!
But what about your brand? How to define yourself?
Combing all your elements into one visual is a huge challenge. As one who worked in advertising and PR for decades, I know this from the very practical end, wherein a client would yearn for a Brand. But could he put his finger on  not only what he was, but what distinguished him from others in his industry?
Few could.
I had to dig deep to get it right. I want to say I did, because I owned my own PR business for 21 years.  But now to consider a Branding change for myself is another turn!
What is it?
This pix at left of the blonde was one that Nicole Austin (www.nicoleaustin.com) chose for me when she designed the Sassy Seven website.
Now I wonder, do you like caricatures as expressions of authors or do you like something else, like my cherry as a substitute?
I think the cherry is me. It is bright. Upright. Perky. But not too smart that it hits you in the face. It says, Cerise, red, cherry, succulent, tasty. All those things I think my books are!
The blonde up there? She says, sophisticated. Okay. I will say that's me. So is my writing. I'd say she looks like she is nice, but not too aggressive. Okay, me too!
But is she CERISE? More than the cherry?
Tell me.
One person who posts and give me food for thought gets to choose one book from my backlist:


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Cerise. I agree that at the beginning of a writing career few know what their brand is. And as the career evolves, many times that brand changes. I began writing romantic comedies (very little explicit sex) and now I write erotic romances. Like Madonna, you have to keep reinventing yourself to stay ahead of the curve. :)

Tim Smith said...

Great post. I agree that it takes time to "find" yourself and you must constantly re-invent. I don't present the same public persona now as I did 10 years ago when I started, but my writing style has evolved, too.

I'm not real clear on the "branding" thing but I believe we need to present a public - or online - personality that gives readers an idea of what to expect when they read our books.

jean hart stewart said...

Agree with the both the two wise previous posts. I know I'm not the same writer as I was when I started. And I love the simple cherry as a standout symbol of you.

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Thanks for coming, all of you! I think one of the most difficult task any business owner/author has is to brand themselves.

Brenna Zinn said...

Cerise, excellent post. I think the cherry is perfect for you too.

Fiona McGier said...

The sexy blond looks like she's ready for fun, but the cherry makes me smile for it's tart and sweet taste, and the reminder that cherry pie is my family's absolute favorite! Interesting conundrum. I've been told by readers that my voice always comes through, as if they are sitting and talking to me while I tell a story. I guess that's my brand.

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

abbra cadabra! Fiona, come email me because you win your choice of one of my romantic suspenses!
email: cerise.deland@ymail.com