We hear so much about branding in the writing world, and this webinar also touched on that theme. What is branding? I.J. described it as a combination of telling the world “Who I am” and “What I do”. In the who I am component, I must think about how I want to present myself to the world. What do I want people to think of when they think of me? What I do means telling people how I spend my day.
I think the question “What do I want people to think of when they think of me?” is very profound for a writer, and quite frankly, I haven’t given it the deep thought it deserves. There are certain writers whose work immediately brings to mind a thought, feeling or expectation. For instance, when I say to you “Steven King”, you immediately think horror, supernatural mystery, or psychological thriller. You will never think romance when you think of Steven King; he has a clear handle on what he wants people to think of when they think of him.
We should keep in mind that brand we want to project in any of our postings on social media. For instance, if I want to present myself as a person who can deliver funny and witty writing, maybe my posts on Facebook should reflect that.
But whatever brand we want to project, or however tempted we are to promote ourselves silly, screaming “Buy my book, please, please, please! It’s really good, I swear!”, we must resist. If someone posts constantly with messages exhorting readers to buy her book, to read excerpts from her newest release, or to comment on her latest review, it’s soon going to be ignored. You can only hit someone over the head with the hard sell for so long before they turn off. I.J. gave examples from the Facebook profiles of people he knows who have handled that delicate balance between the hardsell and the softsell very well. His friend, a freelance writer, will send several unrelated-to-writing type posts before slipping one in about his writing. For instance, he sent a post about the death of Lesley Nielsen, paying homage to the funnyman. It started a conversation among his friends. By talking about things not always related to what you’re trying to sell or promote, you build relationships in the online community. The hope is that once you’ve built those relationships, people will be more inclined to click on your profile and support your other endeavors.