Building My Brand . . . Or Being Me?

One of the difficult things about being a writer is putting yourself “out there.” Shortly after I started going to writing conferences, I realized that I was hearing one word over and over. Branding. Agents. Editors. Publicists. Everyone talked about the importance of building your brand. I’ve struggled with that. I mean, what is my brand? What is it about my writing that appeals to people?

Then it occurred to me – I am my brand. My brand is me. If you’re struggling with capturing your brand, take a minute and write down who you are, what interests you, what you do. Here’s a partial list for me to get you started:

  • Animal lover (especially dogs, cats, horses, turtles . . . )
  • Drive a Jeep (lifted, big tires)
  • Paralegal
  • Empty nester
  • Crocheter
  • Papercrafter
  • Scrapbooker
  • Shoot guns (I prefer my Browning semi-automatic pistol)
  • Love watching old TV (especially Star Trek, Wonder Woman, Batman, and recently discovered Dean Martin movies)

The idea behind this is to recognize that you have lots of interests, and a lot of things in common with your readers. Chances are, your interests will come through in your writing. For example, I’ve always loved horses . . . and my first book, Denim & Diamonds, is set on a horse ranch. Your readers won’t connect with a single book you write – they will connect with you.

Share with us in the comments below – what are 5 words/phrases that describe you?

Miniature Diamond J

When I was growing up, I always said I was going to live on a farm surrounded by animals. I wanted dogs, cats, horses, goats, cows . . . I wanted it all! I spent my summers armed with a recycled jar with nail holes in the lid, determined to catch lightning bugs, frogs, crickets and praying mantises (OK – that word has shown up twice today . . . I really need to look up the plural for that. Manti?). And I awoke each morning horrified to find the tiny dessicated carcasses of whatever creature I had caught the day before.

But I digress. Animals, whether large or small, were destined to be part of my life. When I met my husband, I was delighted to learn that he wanted to move to the country. And we did. Several years ago, we bought the 10 acres that we live on, then we bought a modular home, built a shop and built a barn. We’ve had cattle (and, oh, boy, are there some stories there. When you read Denim & Diamonds – which you will, right? – the scene where Andi helps deliver the calf is the story of our first calf), horses (tip: If someone offers to sell you a horse named “Satan’s Lady” – run.), dogs, cats, turtles, fish.

Cali, Cinnamon & Jasper

Cali, Cinnamon & Jasper

My favorite farm animals by far are our miniature horses. We bought Jasper when our kiddos were little, and gradually added to our little herd over the years. We’ve had babies and we’ve lost horses. Right now I’m sitting on the back deck watching Jasper, Cali and Cinnamon graze in the small pasture behind the barn lot. There is something so calming about the snuffling of horses, the small of fresh hay, and their soft nickers when you talk to them. Though I dreamed of having a horse ranch like the Diamond J, I’m quite happy with our little mini farm here in rural Missouri.

When you were a kid, what was your dream home?