The Art, or Lack Thereof, of Branding

celtic knotI recently attended a seminar on author marketing. A fledgling seminar, but one that evoked introspection. The presenter talked about world view, framing, audience, using social media, brand/voice, etc. Then there came the dreaded audience participation. She asked for a volunteer to talk about their work in progress, or WIP.

All fingers pointed to me. Did I mention that most, no all, of the people in this seminar belong to the same writing group? Yeah, they were all quick to volunteer me. Thanks a lot.

The question posed: “What is your brand? Why did/do you write what you did/do?

I think several snide and smart ass remarks (mostly aimed at said volunteering friends) flew through my head. I bit my tongue. Why do I write what I write?

ravenI did get one snarky “So I don’t actually do what I write about.” comment in. Referring mostly to my horror short stories and not the paranormal novels in progress.

I thought about my first manuscript, the one that’s shelved for the moment. And, then the novel I’m currently working on. That’s the one I chose. I’m writing it mainly because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to write, the one my daughter told me she thought I would write first. She can now say “I told you so.” every day until I’m ready to publish it. This novel has been incubating for–well, for more years than I want to disclose. I’m not ready to say what it is just yet. All because I’m still thinking about what my brand is and why I’m writing it and anything else I write.

On the surface, my brand is that I believe in the possibility that there is something to myths and legends, something to our tenacious hold on subject matter beyond reality. For me, there is a knowledge at my very core, you could say built into my 529263_438050886289531_2114181660_nDNA, that shapes this interest.

I know I’m being vague, but this seminar really got me thinking and I’m still hashing all this out. Believe me, you’ll know when I do.

In the mean time, what is your brand? Whether you’re a writer or artist or entrepreneur, why do you do what you do?

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How Social Are You?

I feel like a slacker. Not overall, just when it comes to social networking.

I kept up better when I wasn’t working full time. Now it seems that I go to work, come home, cook dinner, clean up dinner, and then, if it’s not a snbuttonscritique night, I sit down to the computer. It’s at that point that I have to decide if I’m going to try to squeeze in some Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or the many Like for Like events on the afore mentioned FB, as well as writing.

Writing almost always wins out, which could be on one of two novels. One which is in revision, the other which is just beginning. Or, it could be on a short story, two of which I have written, but need revising, one at about the mid-point, and a couple that haven’t made it past the notes stage. To say my mind is busy might be a tad of an understatement. It pretty much goes all the time.

I can hear some “What about the weekends?”

To which I reply, trying to get things done that I haven’t been able to during the week, plus write, plus anything that comes up that might throw off the whole “plan” for the weekend, which my friend Murphy is always happy to provide a wrench for.

And, “You’ve got a smart phone, post, etc. on that.”

(the buzzer sounds) Think again. I can get quick things in. Nothing like a blog. Not to mention that there is no connecting of personal devices to the wifi at work, so lunchtime SN is nonexistent, well, at best, slow. I do not post, text, or otherwise endanger my life or others while driving and most stops involve doing what I came for and getting out as quickly and with as little crowd/human contact as possible. No, I’m not phobic, but outside my friends and family I often find masses of people a bit disconcerting/annoying/unnecessary. What can I say, I’m an introvert, who can social-networking-images-1flip that social switch when needed, but prefer the serenity that alone time affords. Also, I hate shopping and errand running even though they are a sometimes necessary evil.

And “Well, you don’t have to have eight hours of sleep do you?”

To which I answer, no, and I don’t. With the exception of early childhood, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten eight consecutive hours of sleep that wasn’t forced by parents or sickness.

And, my favorite, “They say you have to, so you’ve got to make time to do it.”

“Meh. Who’s they? And, ‘have to/got to’ makes me want to do just the opposite. I understand that it’s a good thing to develop a following and interact with other writers, but I want to write and work on my writing and I don’t want to post that I had Wheaties for breakfast, or went to the dentist, or other personal inanities. I don’t mind publicly thanking a group of friends, or celebrating a success or milestone, or promoting someone’s work.

Other’s can post what they like, but for me, I have to choose what gives and what I have time for. So, I’ll be selective in my social networking. I will answer direct tweets when I can, save Pinterest for waiting in doctor’s/dentist’s offices or other waiting situations, blog when I can, post/answer/view/like on Facebook as I can.Vintage-Social-Networking

How social are you when it comes to social media and networking? What are your tricks for fitting it into your day or time management scheme? And, for those of you who are writers, do you have a day job and, if so, how do you social network, plus write, plus handle the day to day?

Open to suggestions – RG

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