Branding Without Fire (BWF 1)

Discoverability is such a nice word.  It reminds me of voyages and tourists taking pictures while finding drops of paradise not on any map.  Oh, and it also gives me undiluted nightmares.

I’m terrible at branding.  I don’t write fiction, so characters are not going to be a brand.  I don’t have BOOKS, so similarly stylized covers aren’t possible.  Even my genres are all over.

So, how do you brand a poet and short fiction writer who writes horror, and literary, and fantasy, and (on occasion) romance?  I don’t want to “just pick one” and I can’t split an audience I don’t even have. None of those sections of people would ever amount to NEEDING their own categories.

I write short pieces.  Maybe that’s something.  I don’t always write from a female point of view, but mostly.  I don’t often write about my disability, but it’s exceptionally visible.  I don’t know if I want to “use” my disability as promotion, though.  But I don’t hide it from editors.

Everyone advises you to start your “platform” early, even before completing a book, and every effort I have made has fallen into churning waters.  I’m pretty damn hopeless at it, though it could be because I DON’T have a book.  Or maybe because I’m boring as hell. 

Does having an audience matter when all a writer has is a scant amount of pieces circulating on the Internet?  When does a writer realize they obsess more about finding an audience than actually pursuing art?

I wish I didn’t have to worry about these things.  Maybe I only worry because everyone says writers should.  But, if I don’t try to find my readers… will they find me?

What do you hate most about branding and promotion?  What is the best advice on marketing you have ever received?  What has been your largest branding/promotional/marketing failure?


  1. I've definitely struggled with this, too. It's an uncomfortable thing for more introverted folks. Some things are taken care of for me by my publisher (consistent look of series book covers), but here are some things I've been doing:

    *picked an image of myself, an icon, and a blog name to use consistently across platforms to make it clear that all those Samantha Bryants are the same person
    *thought about "branding" in more "personality" terms: I'm going with my enthusiasm and optimism in my public persona. They are part of who I am for real (not fictions), and let me geek out over things I love. I save my kvetching for friends and family.
    *I do series of themed posts as an audience builder. Like this year, I'm posting about a poem I read every day, a recipe I try weekly, and books I read as I finish them. I've done shorter series, too: like "song in my head" for a month, or "my sneakers" showing all my Converse sneakers, or "teeshirts" showing all my geeky teeshirts. It was fun, and let me share those interests with anyone who might share them.

    So far as failures, the saddest things have been the time I had a signing table at Barnes and Noble (too big a venue for an unknown like me) and the times I've had a giveaway that I didn't have to give because no one signed up for it.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  2. The giveaways no one cares about are always disappointing... had it happen, myself.
    If I could travel, I would've definitely been there for your signing!