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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Vicky Adin on branding for writers

I’ve been thinking lately about brands. Ask anyone with a brand how important it is to their business and they will tell you it’s gold. Whether it’s foods, drinks, franchises, celebrities or events, their colours, style and what they are known for is vital to their success. So, how do we brand ourselves as authors?

One of the advantages of self-publishing is authors are not tied to any style or genre. Come to think of it, what is a genre? Some styles and genres are easily defined and are accepted and understood by everyone. The basics are whether it’s fiction or non-fiction; for adult, teen or children; for men or women. Within those definitions are the non-fiction sub-themes of biography, sport, cooking, health and travel amongst others and within those definitions there are a myriad of niche topics designed to meet a select market.

What market are fiction writers targeting? It could be anything – westerns, ‘chick lit’, romance, thriller, adventure, crime, comedy and so much more; light hearted or deep and meaningful. We are free to choose. Whilst the current trend, especially within traditional publishing houses (and TV and films), seems to be based on the ‘yuck factor’ in my opinion, we do not have to be controlled by trends.  These so-called entertainment modes are embodied by extreme gore and violence while trying to overcome the enemy, whether it is vampires, science fiction characters or evil monsters (including recent adaptations of childhood classics).  I’m all for wild imagination but from a societal viewpoint this trend of ‘winning at all costs’ by destroying another is disturbing.

I am not interested in subjecting myself to such concepts. It’s not going to be my brand and that is the glory of self-publishing. I can choose my brand and market it to people ‘like me.’ I can choose my colours and style and if I consistently use them through logos on my business cards, on my give-away bookmarks, on my website, through social media networks, on my advertising material and on my emails, invoices, notepaper etc, maybe people who like my style will notice me and when they do, then I too have a brand.

My brand will be stories about family, ancestors and history because I think they are important. About finding the skeletons in the cupboard that can be both heartbreaking and heartwarming and everything in between. My colours will be reds and golds, glowing, warm colours bathed in antiquity that hopefully will brighten and enlighten my readers.

            Without ancestors we are nothing; without us they are forgotten.

Do you have a brand?


  1. Good on you Vicky! On a diet of 'gore' and violence how will a society turn out? Well, we are watching the results now aren't we. We have it thrown at us on the TV news, newspapers, radio etc. until our populace thirsts for it. Thank you for writing books like 'Daniel'. I think we're part of a ground-swell for strong and interesting reading.

  2. Thanks jean. What ever happened to subtlety, intrigue and imagination? Aren't the best books and films those that hint at better/worse things to come, that tempt the reader/watcher to follow the story to the end to find out what happens? Wasn't it once said that our imagination gave us the never ending story?
    We need stories with strong messages, that reach out to a reader's mind and heart to linger there long after the book is finished rather than short-lived adrenelin inducing30-second sound/visual bites.
    Thank you too for your Iona who shows us a gentle way of living amidst some of life's difficulties.

  3. I like the term 'yuck factor'. You are so right, Vicky. Entertainment, whether its books, movies or TV, seems to be catering to the lowest of our animalistic vices. I find it hard to understand the popularity of, for exampe, serial killers, the mafia or various 'shades of grey'. I sincerely believe we should be trying to bring something a little more uplifting into the chaos of our world. We should (must?) continue to write as we do and hope our stories bring some order, reason, compassion into this sorry world.