Back alley magic and branding.

​One of the most difficult parts for me on this blog is deciding what to post about and what not to. Do I stick with just writing things? I could, but while writer is a big part of who I am, it’s not all of me. Because I am not just one thing, nor will I allow myself to be defined that way. Even if it is something as crucial to my makeup as writing. Do I post social issues? That can be very polarizing but it’s important, I truly believe, for such things to be discussed. I think half the problems we have is because we so often and for so long refused to discuss them. What about my kids? Betty? Random day-to-day things? After all, this is my blog and what people do come here probably come to get an idea of this girl who maybe they heard of.

What ends up happening, usually, is a clusterfuck of topics with no real theme or rhythm. Pretty accurate representation of the girl behind the blog, actually. It works.

Twitter is the same way. I’m all over the place over there, which might be why I like it so much. LET ME TELL YOU MY THOUGHTS AND FEELS IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS. Facebook is basically useless, so it’s mostly limited to book stuff and only sporadically. Man, I hate Facebook. So much.

Wait. This is all going somewhere. I promise. Mostly. I’m just taking the long way around to get there. Like a Time Lord.

I feel a little all over the map sometimes, is what I’m getting at. But, as a person, I am all the map. I always have been. And that’s never been a problem to me. Maybe it has been to other people, trying to get a handle on a girl who is fire and ice, light and dark, quiet and noise, but not to me. I’m vast and complicated. I like that. I like being a walking set of possibilities and paradoxes. But as an author, I’m encouraged to brand myself, or have a brand, somehow, and how do I do that when I’m so many things?

A lot of people have opinions on it, of course, the whole idea of branding and how to achieve it. A lot of people have varying ideas of what effective branding entails. And, look. I’m just gonna say it. Right now. Just so we’re clear before we go any further. You should most definitely go check those opinions out first. Because these folks probably have science and math on their side where I’m gonna come at you with a slight of hands and some back alley magic talk and you should probably take every word I say with a grain of salt. But I’m gonna tell you what branding means to me and how I handle it and my reasonings behind it. There is a 89% chance I might put someone’s eye out in the process.

In the beginning, when the ink of my contract was still fresh and my eyes were still wide and slightly panicked, I gave not one thought about branding on a large scale. I knew what Wild Ones was, I knew where I wanted the Lane series to go, but as for what I was doing personally, what I was offering to my readers long term, I was clueless. I’m still clueless most of the time. I still listen intently when others talk about their brands and I stare because HOLY SHIT how have you figured this out already? How do you know? I don’t even know what I want for dinner tonight let alone what I want to be when I grow up. But, in life, there’s plotters and there’s pantsers and I will always be a girl who’s a panster. I make plans of attack and detailed lists and then I ditch those plans and storm the castle with a MacGyver-like weapon.

I look at it like this, which, for the record, may not be right: My brand is a promise I’m making to my readers. What I cross my heart, hope to die, swear I’ll bring to the table and what they can always think of when they think of me. But even that feels daunting sometimes. I’m scared to limit myself too much because I don’t know what I’m gonna be doing later. Maybe NA will die and I’ll age up to Adult or down to YA. Maybe one day I’ll decide to write a story with fantasy elements. Maybe I’ll step away from the heavy grit and write a lighter romance. I don’t know! I don’t know what the future holds, which is both thrilling and terrifying.

But I do know what I’m gonna start with every time and that’s honesty and a Girl Forged From Fire. I know, because I know how I will write that story, that there’s always gonna be a touch of poetry and at least a hint of grittiness. I know that I won’t pull punches and there will always be humor that’s borderline inappropriate, if not outright. And those are promises I’m confident I’ll always deliver on. What people can always expect of me both as a person and in my writing

So, boom. There it is. There’s my brand. My promise. This is what I’ll bring to the table each time I come. Honesty. Tough girls. Poetry and grit to varying degrees, humor, and punches I follow through with.

Ah, but how to tweak my social media to reflect that?

Here’s the brilliant thing. Because the stories I’ll write will always be me, because I will be the one writing them and those things are all things important to me as a person, I’m already reflecting that. Every time I tweet, every time I post, I’m my brand. I was always my own brand and all the stress and worrying and wide-eyes were for nothing because it’s always been there.

Does it fit in a handy tagline? Hell no it doesn’t. I can try to do so, and have, but it doesn’t all quite fit. But neither do I. Is it effective? Debatable. But it’s mine, it’s my promise, and it sets me apart from the people around me.

And I have to do literally nothing to maintain my brand.

I can post all of the random things I’d like, because there’s always going to be pieces of me woven in there. I can tweet my thoughts and stupid jokes, because they’re always going to reflect what I’m doing on a larger scale. I can still mostly ignore Facebook, because fuck Facebook. As long as I always stay true to myself, both as a person and in my writing, my brand is covered.

Tune in tomorrow when I talk about dragons and Chris Pine.


3 thoughts on “Back alley magic and branding.

  1. You are your brand — and your brand is pretty much damn awesome. I think that Neil Gaiman explained how to do Twitter well in that you look at it as a conversation. To me, blogging is the same. There are some people who niche their blogs, and that works fine for them. Because that’s what works for THEM. But everyone is different. And you are always authentic — which is one thing I adore about you.
    P.S. Facebook is SKYNET.

    • “You are always authentic.” Girlfriend, a love story wouldn’t have seduced me any more than those words did. Also, true story, hand to God, that authenticity is one of the things that drew me to you. “LOOK AT THIS GIRL BEING UNAPOLOGETICALLY HERSELF AND AWESOME IN IT.”

      The Neil, as well as Chuck Wendig, were actually who eased my panic over all the branding talk. They put it in such a way that felt less like work and a gimmick and more like someone was sitting down saying, “Alright, check this.” I went from wringing my hands to going, “Hell YES. I can do this thing! No sweat!”

      • *tackles you with a hug* That is seriously the best possible compliment ever, darling — so, thank you!! And holy gods, Chuck is magnificent, isn’t he? Definitely glad that he and Neil made you feel better about the whole branding thing. WOOT!

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