Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Branding myself

It was this or a scarlet "W." Text effect created by me, use as you will to brand yourself for your sins.
I found this post on branding for writers by way of Roni's weekly links post (that's twice you've hit a nerve in a week, Roni... :) )

It hit close to something related to that Lucky 7 meme I posted a while back. The meme rules were to post your text as it was written, and I couldn't do that without editing it. I did the editing publicly, but I could not bring myself to post raw text. I flailed out a post trying to figure out why, but deleted it because it was just a bunch of flailing.

Now I can say clearly why I could not post that text un-edited.

I'm not a branding expert, but I've been a graphic designer for 15 years now and I've seen how it's applied. What's described in the Creative Penn post is the more theoretical side -- here's my take. Branding is about consistency. Consistency of language, style, of color palette, of associated images, visual motifs, etc.

I've done some of that. If you've seen me around the internet, you know I always use the same Jupiter icon/avatar. My name is always some variation of L. Blankenship or Louise Blankenship (depending on what's available for a user name). I have a color palette sketched out, but it hasn't come into play much yet.

Most importantly, I try to maintain a consistent level of language. And the reason I balked at posting that raw text for Lucky 7 was because it was not up to par.

I don't have a publisher. I don't have a marketing department. I am solely responsible for how professionally I present myself. And if I wish to be considered professional, I must present myself professionally.

As for the post that set this off, it talks about focus, having a core message, and using these to find your audience. I've heard advice that one should define one's audience as clearly as possible.

So far as this here blog-about-writing, I suspect I can say this much about my readers: they've been writing long enough that they're wrestling with the layer of questions that comes after the basic plot/dialogue/info-dumping questions. They're pursuing those answers that aren't easily defined or universally applied. Questions about voice, pacing, character arcs, world-building. I'm wrestling with them too.

We're all in pursuit of clarity.

So far as an audience for my writing, well, they're going to be readers who like grit and detail, action and consequences, a dash of snarky humor too. I don't know if I can put an age on them -- mature enough to appreciate that there are consequences.

How would you describe your audience?

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