Friday, September 11, 2015

Tips on Building a Brand by Jacqueline Seewald

Let’s pull out the branding iron and get ready to sizzle! Businesses of all kinds are looking to publicize and advertise their product brand. In recent times, it has become important for business people to become a product, a brand themselves. Athletes and entertainers knew this long ago. You find their personal brands on every conceivable product. Let’s discuss ways in which people can build a brand:

  1. Create a website that represents the image you want people to see. If you’re an expert in a particular field, make that clear through both photos and words.

  1. Create a blog in which you discuss matters relevant to your area of expertise. Interview others in your field. Try to blog at least several times a month to build a following. Once a week would be even better.

  1. Do interviews on other blogs.

  1. Use social media to create connections. We’re talking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. to get your message across.

  1. Write articles for many types of media both in print and online to establish expertise in your particular field. TV is the best, but radio isn’t bad either. Personal appearances are always great. Meet and greet!

It has been observed that personal branding is one of the keys to success in today’s world. As such it takes time and effort. However, by branding yourself you are demonstrating who you are and the expertise you have to offer.

What about writers? Is branding a help or hindrance to authors? There’s been a lot of discussion among writers as to whether it benefits authors to be branded--by that I mean that writers want to market themselves by promoting their name, associating their name with a particular type, genre or style of writing. The premise? This is the best way to build a readership. For example, when we see the name Nora Roberts we immediately think of romantic suspense. The name Stephen King is immediately associated with horror. But these writers have also chosen to write under other pseudonyms as well. Jayne Ann Krentz, for example, writes her contemporary romances under that name, her sci-fi’s under Jayne Castle and her historical romances under Amanda Quick. The advantage is that her fans know exactly what to expect.

Many writers choose to use pen names. They write in a variety of genres and assume a different nom de plume for each. The theory is that it will confuse readers if writers use the same name for different types of work. There is also a tendency for publishers to try to place writers in neat categories. It’s more convenient to connect a name to a particular format.

But what if you resist branding? Are you destroying your chance to be taken seriously as a writer or build a readership? I don’t have the answer to this question. I can only admit that I don’t limit myself to one particular format or genre. However, all of my adult novels, YA fiction and children’s books are published under my own name “Jacqueline Seewald.” Does this confuse readers? I sincerely hope not.

 I have written the Kim Reynolds mystery series which includes: THE INFERNO COLLECTION, THE DROWNING POOL, THE TRUTH SLEUTH and THE BAD WIFE. Each of the novels stands on its own as a unique murder mystery although the main characters existing in each book grow and change much the way real people do. I’ve also written several stand alone mysteries like DEATH LEGACY which were critically well-received as well.

My most recent novel for young adults, THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER, was published both in print and all e-book formats by Clean Reads Press.

STACY’S SONG, another of my YA novels for girls, originally published by L&LDreamspell, has been rewritten and re-edited and will be published by Clean Read Press October 27th.

My latest adult romance DARK MOON RISING was recently published by Luminosity. I deliberately chose a cover that would indicate this paranormal romantic Gothic tale is for a mature readership and not young teens although it would be suitable for new adults.


My poems, short stories, nonfiction articles and plays, are published under my own name and with a variety of publishers.

I suppose if you were to ask me to elaborate on my “brand” I’d have to answer I really don’t have one. To paraphrase Shakespeare’s description of Cleopatra, I am a writer of infinite variety. Is it possible to build a readership without a definitive brand?

Your thoughts, opinions and comments are most welcome.


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great advice Jacqueline.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


Thanks for commenting and tweeting! Much appreciated.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Good advice, Jacquie. Figuring out whether or not to use a pseudonym is a tough one, as you probably know.

Nancy Means Wright said...

Good tips as always, Jacquie. But whenever I think of branding I recall my first husband who was branded on the chest with a red-hot iron into the DEKE fraternity at Middlebury College. Ouch! Horrible! So I resist the idea myself as a writer. Like you,I write in many genres. My 2014 novel is a mainstream historical. My 2015 book (almost out) is an historical mystery, and my forthcoming book (April)is a collection of poems. Forget the brand!

Bobbi A. Chukran, Author said...

I also resist branding, mostly because I haven't found any one niche I want to be known for. I do think that branding helps if you have a series. But it does get boring to write the same thing over and over.

Even Stephen King claims that he doesn't want to be known as a horror writer. It's all marketing. And unfortunately, that's what it takes to sell books sometimes.

L. C. Hayden said...

Super blog with great advice. I too write several genres. When people ask me, I say that I write mysteries, inspirational and children's books but have done other genres. Is that too big of a brand? Who knows? Thanks for making us think about that.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Susan,

I have resisted using other than my own name. But I fully understand the reasons other writers have for doing so.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Nancy,

I wasn't thinking of literal branding! But I think we'll both resist it on general principles.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bobbi,

Marketing does sell books. The thing about it is that it has to be approached in the right way. Not easy!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, L. C.,

I think all three of those genres can connect well. So it's not too broad an area.

D'Ann said...

I'm pretty clearly branded as a western author--fitting, eh? But I resist blogging b/c I think it's obsolete now. :) However, here I am. LOL Good advice!!!

Allan J. Emerson said...

Jacqueline, maybe your brand is not having one!

Nancy's comment got me musing about what it would be like if writers had to undergo literal branding. Publishing houses would want their names in large letters, (imagine the poor soul with Penguin-Random House) :)

Patricia Gligor's Writers Forum said...

Like you, Jacqueline, I write my Malone mystery series under my own (maiden) name and, also like you, I plan to use my name even if I should some day write in another genre. To me, the book cover and blurb should suffice to differentiate romance from horror from mainstream, etc. If that means I don't have a brand, so be it. :)

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, D'Ann,

I think your blogs are great, but I agree that they don't necessarily draw readers.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Allan,

I think being literally branded by a publishing house would be too great a price to pay for celebrity. It would shove me into self-publishing.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pat,

I do agree that cover art and blurbs should give readers an appropriate sense of how suitable the book is for them.

jrlindermuth said...

Those of us who write in more than one genre may have a tougher time establishing an audience than those who stick with a single genre. Still, I don't think it's a bad thing to be recognized by your name rather than a genre. Good advice, Jacqui.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thank you, John. I think that the important thing is that our names be associated with quality work.

Susan Coryell said...

Enjoyed your article and I know branding is the up-and-coming "thing." Like you, however, I prefer to write freely in different genres and cross genres. I'd like to be recognized as a literary writer who evokes theme as well as other writing elements. Thanks for another thoughtful post!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for commenting, Susan. Your name is your "brand" and it stand for both quality and diversity.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Branding is the name of the game now. Great blog, Jacqui.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

Whatever works to get our books read!

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