Branding for Nonconformists

Developing an Author Brand When Your Passions are All Over the Map

Do I have to pick ONE thing to be known for?

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Photo by Alice Achterhof on Unsplash

Get super clear on why I’m doing this (or why anyone should).

I don’t need 100,000 Twitter followers; what I need is to position my work so that it’s as easily findable as it possibly can be. Here’s how I articulated this challenge to Heather in an email the other day:

I’ve been thinking about my initial attitude about all this — ‘oh, I just need to get this content out there and if people are going to find it, they’ll find it’ — and I have replaced this with a much more useful evangelist-on-a-city-corner analogy, which is that we can have insightful and potentially life-changing messages to share, but if we’re sharing them on a backstreet overlooking the railroad track, then we ain’t savin’ nobody.

Having a website with SEO keywords isn’t going to accomplish that in and of itself. Posting daily on social media isn’t automatically going to do it either. So what is?

Find the through-line.

Is there a unifying theme across my seemingly disparate body of work? Can I create my brand along this through-line without letting go of the things that bring me incredible amounts of joy—all of which make my work worth reading?

Connect with my ideal audience where they’re already hanging out.

Back in May I started a weekly Youtube challenge so I can become more comfortable in front of the camera (and with being seen in general). No matter how solid the content and production values, though, building a channel from scratch is tough going. When I got back on Medium recently after publishing a piece on Tenderly, it occurred to me that the readership here values fresh and innovative writing on creativity and personal development. Reading great Medium content, becoming an active community member, and publishing my own work here is the most natural course of action.

Get as clear as can be on this one, too: what’s the need my work is answering?

In the case of Life Without Envy, the book’s promise is clear from the subtitle: Ego Management for Creative People. Many people have told me they knew they needed to read it based on the title alone. But my forthcoming book on veganism and creativity is going to be a trickier title to position, since I’m articulating a need that potential readers don’t realize they have, highlighting a connection between emotional wellness and unethical food sources that they may not feel ready to make. It doesn’t surprise me that the only readers who seem to be excited for this one are the already-vegan—but do I want to build my author brand with an underlying attitude of “oh well, maybe I’m too far ahead of my time”? Baloney. Over the past few years I’ve become a teller of uncomfortable truths, and I have to figure out a way to work with this.

Authoress: LIFE WITHOUT ENVY (“a self-help book that’s actually helpful”) and assorted fantasy novels.

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