“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” (Jeff Bezos)
Over my twenty years in the writing business I’ve never stumbled across the concept of ‘author brand’ but now that I’ve been doing some research on how to acquire a literary agent I’ve frequently encountered it. So tell me, do I have an author brand?
Literary agent Jessica Fraust at BookEnds suggests you ask yourself what three words people would use to describe you? What would a publisher say as they try to sell your book?
“She’s incredibly talented.” (Not likely.)
“She’s prolific.” (Definitely not.)
“Her books are light, funny and will have you laughing out loud.” (No, no, and no.)
Jessica Fraust also suggests that a brand is something you should live. Hmm.
“Shelley is self-disciplined.” (Not always.)
“She is hard-working. (Well, maybe sometimes.)
So how would I describe my author self?
“I’m passionate about my work?” (Yes.)
“I’m generous with my time, mentoring new writers, providing manuscript feedback and writing reviews?” (Yes.)
“I’m a voracious reader, belonging to three bookclubs.” (Yes)
Recently a writer friend, Marion Crook, wrote to say, “You have been a courageous writer, tackling difficult subjects, so you’re a social activist I’d say.”
Courageous writer. Social activist. Generous with time. Passionate about writing work. Voracious reader. These are attributes I feel I can claim, but are they my brand?
I’m still working on it.