Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday. Today I decided to expand a little on what I mentioned in last Sunday’s post. So here we go…
Your Author Brand
Each author has their own “brand”. In the beginning it’s not very well defined. Much like when we were born, and growing up we hadn’t yet discovered who we were to one day be, the same is true of us as authors. Each book we write, every path we explore leads us to discover something new about ourselves and gets us closer to something more definitive. Not that we ever truly stop growing as authors.
But our brand is a reflection of who we are, not so much what we write – although that does influence it some. So as a new author you need to make a conscious choice and effort to figure out who your author persona will be. For some it’s easy, comes as naturally as breathing, but for others it can be more of a struggle.
For example, if you are a very introverted individual being social, and outgoing is a daily struggle for you. Simple definition of Introvert: a shy person; a quiet person who does not find it easy to talk to other people. An introvert is the exact opposite of an Extrovert: a friendly person who likes being with and talking to other people; an outgoing person. Simple things like saying hello first, or being forward, or starting a conversation will make you break into a sweat. The setting, in real life or online, doesn’t make a difference to you. Don’t worry, this is all perfectly natural. And everyone is different, it’s finding a happy balance that will work for you, and keep you in the public eye that is important.
Now we all know THAT AUTHOR. The author who shall-not-be-named for fear of having the mob that practically swallowed them whole turn on you. THAT AUTHOR is an author who is bold, sometimes brash, and doesn’t give two figs about what they say or who they offend. Which is their choice. But it has some drawbacks too, especially in our bubble wrapped, politically correct, don’t breathe in case you offend someone society. These authors can garner labels that may well hinder them in some cases, but in other cases raise them above the rest of the ass-kissing, brown-nosing, supplicant authors out there.
My point is, before I degrade into a rant, you need to decide who you are and what you want to be known as. Yes, this will change in time. Yes, it’s fine if it does change over time. Yes, you can change your mind over time. But don’t start out as a mouse and suddenly turn into a lion before slipping back into mouse mode. In medical terms that’s a little too much like someone who might need a pill (or four) to even out the edges. Figure out what you are comfortable with, in all things, and work from there.
Your comfort level has to come first, this is a robe you shall wear from this day forth even if you stop writing. That name, your author name I mean, will be out in the world. FOREVER. Decide immediately if you are the type of author who shares everything, or very little. If you’re the type who comments on all manner of discussion, or who holds their tongue. While you can change your mind, slightly, any major changes in your online presence will be noted and questioned. So take your time and really think it through.
To give you an example I shall use myself. Moira Callahan, Canadian (eh?), caffeine addict, animal lover, bit of an introvert though I do have mild extrovert tendencies in the right setting, hate crowds, love small intimate gatherings, and will never discuss my family online except in the very broadest of terms. I also have no particular political view except when we, the people, are being shafted and I do vote regularly so I can be vocal when I choose. I am an atheist although I did attend Sunday school as a child, my parents giving me the option to be religious, or as the case is, not. I have also never, ever shared a selfie – nor will I ever (barring the fingers of my left hand during a promotional thing my publisher did a couple years back). Not on my author page(s), and not on my personal page.
For one thing, I hate having my picture taken – absolutely despise it. For another, I work in a place where the staff is 98% male, so having something like “oh you write romance” running around, too much fodder on a silver platter for them to even consider. It’s also a safety measure. If my face isn’t all over the place than the likelihood that someone could steal my identity (author or real) is narrowed down more. As well, the less personal information I share also helps narrow that down. It’s not only my author identity I’m protecting, but my real, day job working, coffee swilling life I’m looking out for.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t a couple pictures of me out there. There are. And I know exactly who took them. Individuals I trust, who shared the photos with care, and first asked if it was okay to do so. Like I said, folks I trust.
Back on topic though, it’s now time for you to decide who you are. Take care with this. Not only are you choosing your public persona, but one that will live down through the ages forever immortalized on the World Wide Web. And now, the last thought on this. Have fun with your brand, but also keep it realistic and conscious of your own real life limitations. Be true to who you are, to what you believe in, and keep those feet on the ground.
XO Moira Callahan