Branding Yourself: CWC Session III

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Author Highlight: Laurie Scheer

We live in a world of rapidly changing media where follower count, platform, and exposure are highly valued commodities for every writer. Laurie Scheer has embraced this future, and to me, her session on branding oneself as an author paid for the whole conference by giving me such an incredible outflow of ideas. This CWC Recap blog series and my developing Radical Fantasy subgenre all stemmed from this session (although I admit I’m still in the planning stages). Anyway, I hope it inspires you too!


Branding Yourself. Sit down, think about your work, and answer these questions: What separates your story from others? Does your content fit into a new genre, or is it a twist on an established genre? What type of voice do you use and in what favored area of interest? This isn’t about your query letter – it’s about you. About what writing subject are you the go-to person? You can’t just market a book anymore – you have to market yourself.

To establish the needed voice in today’s market, I’ve paraphrased (badly?) some of Laurie Scheer’s tips below:

  1. Be True to Yourself – Not the “Market.” Branding yourself is like getting a tattoo. Your brand should have real meaning for you; it shouldn’t be the same infinity symbol that everyone else has, or you’ll regret it when you get older. Be true to yourself, and don’t consider the perceived market, when you decide on a brand.
  2. Study the Media Marketplace. Know where you fit in, and where you can break in. Take note of the most followed people in your general field, read their stuff, and think about the kinds of posts or tweets they would like to see themselves linked in. Buy into their ideas, and you can learn something – and they might buy into you in return.
  3. Don’t Envy. This goes along with studying the marketplace. Don’t be jealous of your competition. See what they’re doing that’s working so well, and put your own spin on it. And don’t forget to “friend” them; the good thing about the writing community is that we’re really all in this together!
  4. Study Similar Writers. Evaluate how your work and voice fit into both the past and current market. Don’t stop reading in spaces related to – or the same, but previously unnamed as – your established brand. You’ll have more to offer the more educated you are in your field. Having trouble finding similar work? Use Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought” or “if you liked this, you might also like” functions.
  5. Prepare with Confidence. Know what you need to know before launching a marketing campaign. Have an open-ended plan. Create a marketing schedule you can stick to (social media is an unrepentant time sink, so learn to rein it in). And remember, social media is for connection more than for money-making. Use it for networking above all else.
  6. Own It. Prove It.  You represent something new to the world. Be sure of it. And make your audience sure of it too, by giving them samples. Get your work out there. Otherwise you’re just blowing smoke.

The next post will go over the content side of the Branding Yourself presentation.

Session I Missed: To see this session, I had to miss the Meet the Publishers session. If you attended that session, consider doing a simultaneous or guest blog to correspond with my CWC Recap!

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