A great many independent writers are perplexed and frustrated about devising a marketing plan for their books. One suggestion I’ve seen repeatedly is “You have to first have an author brand.” This reminds me a little of my acting days, when my aspiring actor friends wondered how best to increase their chances of working in a very competitive industry:
“Well…who are you?”
“I dunno. I’ll have to ask my shrink.” Pause. “But whoever I am, I don’t want to be typecast.”
Disbelief. “Are you crazy?”
You really do have to be crazy NOT to want to be typecast in Hollywood. Why wouldn’t you want to be the go-to guy or gal for a particular role? Casting is done by type anyway, with calls going out for “a young Brad Pitt” or “Vanna White” and the like.
One successful actor marketing workshop I heard about sent its participants out to airports and large, public places to ask a bunch of people the following question:
When you get a large number of responses telling you that you look like a nerd, I guess you’d be successful nerd-type. Personally, I tended to be cast as a cop. Don’t know why.
I had two actor acquaintances who weren’t traditional leading men types who worked all the time as THAT guy. Both are pretty big stars now, but they didn’t get there by trying to be all things to all people.
My problem? I had a hard time accepting who I really was an an actor, and kept pushing for what I wanted to be instead. That tack didn’t work out well. These days, I’d like to be THAT gal as an author… but I have a better idea of who I am at this stage in life than I did back then.
Hopefully, my author brand represents fiction that is adventurous, wholesome, and uplifting. Ideally, my stories encompass classic ideals, with well-defined conflicts and characters, as well as fun, witty dialogue. I’m not worried about being typecast, but maybe I’m crazy. *wink*
How do you develop your own brand as a writer, artist, or businessperson?
~ S.G. Rogers