Hello, All! It’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to unleash our fears and insecurities onto the world without poking out anybody’s eyes.
Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
But now, on to the nitty-gritty of today’s topic: author brands. But first, I have a confession to make: I’m fresh off of a three day bachelorette party that was held in Myrtle Beach. We stayed at the Island Vista (if you’re ever in Myrtle Beach, you should definitely stay there. It’s really nice). It was my first true bachelorette party that nearly turned into The Hangover (but without Mike Tyson or that tiger, and no, I didn’t yank out my tooth) and that I’m sure will provide lots of fodder for future novels. My “bachelorette” party involved a cake, words of wisdom from good friends, and a contest to see who could make the best wedding dress out of toilet paper. But this past weekend? Lord hammercy. I’m still recovering.
But I digress.
Anyhoo, I don’t tell you all of this to gloat about the fact that I woke up every morning, walked out to the balcony, and saw the ocean (although, I’m sure you can detest a slight hint of “nan-nanny-boo-boo). I reveal all of this to say that this was a much needed break because I’ve been working hard on my novel (among other things), and now that I’m back and refreshed, I’ve been giving some serious thought about this author branding thing.
I’m almost done with my WIP (woo-hoo!) and I’ve been thinking about my next project. I have another novel outlined but the more I think about it, the more I realize that, even though it could potentially be a good story, I don’t want to write good stories. I want to write great ones. Now, when I say “great,” I don’t necessarily mean life-changing. I just mean a terrific story that’s uniquely mine and screams out, “Quanie Miller all day, yo.” A story that, when people read it, they can’t imagine anybody else but me writing it. So I’ve nixed that particular story (apologies to Kat, the protagonist of that tale) and set my sights on another one that I think I could put that Quanie swag on. Yes, folks, it’s official: I have swag on fleek (shout out to Beth Ellyn Summer, who I know will appreciate that:)
I used to worry about whether or not I should be writing humor or paranormal, but as you good folks have said to me a million times, genre doesn’t really matter: voice does.
So that’s where I am right now. Trying to figure out exactly what I want my brand to be and nixing stories that don’t align with that. There’s no way for me to know if I’m making the right choice (or if Kat’s story would have been exemplary) but I have to follow my gut, and my gut says that if I’m going to successfully build my author brand, I have to write stories that are uniquely mine, and that means not writing the trends, following my heart, and digging deep to create stories and characters that are memorable.
What about others? Do you give much thought to this when you’re writing? Do you think I’m overthinking things? I’d love to hear your thoughts!