So you can read my books

Thursday, August 14, 2014


No, AUTHOR BRANDING is not the new hate crime

where gangs of illiterates grab a writer off the streets and brand the letter "A" on his forehead!

Think "Woody Allen Movie,"
and you will come up with a specific type of movie, although his filmography contains varied storylines and genres.
The same applies with Quentin Tarentino, although his range is slightly more narrow than Allen's.
What did the ghost of Samuel Clemens tell me the other day?

"Earn a character first if you can, and if you can’t, then assume one.”
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

You see, when readers hear Jack Reacher, they may not know who the author is, but they know what to expect --
So much so that when they walk into a bookstore, they ask, "Is the new JACK REACHER in?"

That's a brand.

Both Allen and Tarentino have such a brand that when you hear of a new movie from them, you generally know what to expect --

And if you're a fan, you'll make a note to keep an eye out for the premier.

PIXAR and MARVEL have established strong brands.  No matter the title, you know generally what to expect.

And rather than limiting those studio's, their brand allows them to experiment as with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

The audiences knows that they will be entertained.

Take Stephen King -- Say he'd write a mystery. 

You'd know there would be memorable characters, unexpected surprises (and deaths), and quality prose.

MR. MERCEDES gave us just that.

Should Mr. King write a romance or a comedy, his brand would let us know to expect the same things as above.

People would buy that romance or comedy solely on the strength of Mr. King's brand.

I want readers to be that way when they see the name, VICTOR STANDISH or MEILORI'S or SAMUEL McCORD.

Rites of Passage Official Sample on ‪#‎SoundCloud

Samuel Clemens, writing as Mark Twain, was one of the first American writers to become a celebrity. He practiced many aspects of personal branding.

He wrote in a distinctively sardonic, conversational style. His writings and talks presented a down-home persona, a homespun narrator full of folk wisdom and tall tales.

He assumed the trappings of brand image: a white suit, a cigar, a distinctive mustache, tousled hair.

 He got out on the lecture circuit, testing and honing his best stuff. He developed a knack for the “sound bites,”

the short, quotable epigram (such as, “Man is the only animal that blushes—or needs to.”)

In addition to his novels, he published many brief pieces:

 speeches, articles, short stories. And most notably, he adopted a pseudonym:

Mark Twain,

a wonderfully punchy, memorable, plausible name, imbued with a folksy, easily spoken resonance

(taken from a Mississippi riverboat call on sounding the depth of the river).

Clemens/Twain knew the secrets of personal branding

 Creating a brand involves, as he noted, both earning it and assuming it.

Each of us has a unique worldview, a characteristic way of expressing ourselves, and distinct thoughts on what constitutes a meaningful life.

We can help distinguish our Brand by
1.) COVERS --
       a.) In a stand-out style that are one of a kind.
       b.) Just a glimpse of your cover should bring to mind your name.
       c.) Please! All those bare chest covers blur together for me.
2.) TITLES --
        a.) Distinctive of you.
        b.) Travis McGee's titles are had a color in them.
        c.) A DEADLY SHADE OF  GOLD, etc.
        a.) Distinctive of you.
        b.) Memorable lines
        c.) "She lived life as if it were a grave illness."

What is Your Personal Brand?

Your brand image is not how you see yourself,

but how others perceive you—quickly, clearly, positively.

What comes to mind when they think of you as a literary professional?

Prompt? Reliable? Humorous? Thoughtful? Broad-ranging? Laser-focused?

Do you deliver the goods in a friendly or fun or factual manner?

How do others describe you if they recommend you to another person?

So tell me.  I'd be interested to know.



  1. Branding can be beneficial or it can wall off an author.

    You're right for sure when it comes to covers and titles, what potential readers first recognize, and how they see a series.

    But branding can be limiting to an author, especially if one gets known for a specific genre or writing type.

    Often there isn't crossover of readership from one genre to another. I don't face it as much as I write fantasy and SF, and there is some crossover, but even then, those that enjoy my fantasy are less likely to pick up my latest release, if it's SF, as opposed to my latest fantasy release. It's sort of like having two audiences.

    I write mainly in first person POV, and the stories are action/adventure in nature. While the characters are far different, including the POV protagonists (from Fantasy to SF series works), the structure of the chapters is much the same.

    It's just a part of the business. Just like how some actors struggle if they started their career in successful comedies. Moving to drama or action, even though their acting skills are up to it, it's not what the audience expects. And how many actors in TV have played a character for a number of years in a series and get typecast, such that when the series ends, it's hard to find another job playing another character?

    Just my two cents on the issue.

    I don't complain. I just write the best stories I can and hope folks want to read and enjoy them.

  2. You definitely have established your brand, Roland.

  3. Sorry, Everyone:
    Strange days at work. I am just in. Whew!

    I believe Branding can only hurt you if you become popular. We should be so lucky!

    And with self-publishing, Branding can free us to experiment with different genres and styles, so long as we stay consistent in our quality.

    Like you, I try for quality and hope for the best. :-)

    I have certainly tried! Thanks. :-)