Inkwell Guest: Rebecca Bloomer

Hi, gang. Today I’m pleased to welcome YA author Rebecca Bloomer. I hope you find her post interesting as she’s here to talk about branding for those of us who haven’t quite figured ourselves out yet. We also have something in common – we both have ADD. 😉 Please be sure to leave a comment and let her know you were here, k?

Schtick and Branding for the Eclectic Author

I was never a particularly good academic. Mostly because academia (at least my experience of it) tends to revolve around the idea of choosing your niche and then working always within it. I wasn’t good at that because, well, I’m a busybody. I’m curious about absolutely everything and everyone. I’m also a little bit ADD in that when something takes my fancy, it really takes my fancy. I’ll explore it, discover it, drown myself in it…then I’ll move on.

This habit of mine, not only to makes me difficult for a university to manage, it also makes me difficult for publishers to promote. One second I’m writing romance, the next I’m writing narrative non-fiction for tweens, next I’ve got short stories being published, then suddenly I’m writing sci-fi for teens and young adults.

Because I’m published by an Indie publisher (Odyssey Books), I’m fairly free to write what I want (I’m not trapped by a contract demanding the next five books in the same series/genre etc). Still, despite my wonderful publisher’s willingness to indulge my whims, I found myself in the same quandary others experienced…how to promote this seeming mish-mash of a collection.

“So…what’s your schtick?” one interviewer asked me as she reviewed my book titles in preparation for her radio show. For a moment I was flabbergasted. Good question. Very good question. Why had I never asked it of myself?

“Ummmn…” I replied, sounding oh-so-intellectual, “I write strong teens. Girls mostly.” Bam! That’s it. In that one moment of desperation, I nailed what brought all my books together. “I’ve never written a ‘normal’ character,” I told this interviewer. “I despise ‘normal’, it encourages mediocrity and creates inroads for narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Einstein was never normal. What about Marie Curie or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? No great things have ever sprung from striving to be like everyone else. My characters give ‘normal’ the bad name it deserves.”

Viola! The birth of a tagline. My tagline nowadays is ‘Giving normal a bad name’.

I’ve learned recently, that finding a way to fit your wildly diverse creations under one umbrella, is called branding. Who knew?

Since then, I’ve done some research (I mentioned the ADD right?). This is what I discovered.

Your brand is you. It’s not an individual book. It’s not even the collection of your work. Your brand is your appearance when you do author talks and book signings. It’s your tweets and your bio. It’s the colours you choose for your website etc. Ultimately your brand is the undercurrent that pulls all these things together.

The following are some questions that work for me, when defining and re-igniting my brand:

What matters so much to you, that it appears constantly in your writing? or “What’s your schtick? You will note my instantaneous rant, when the interviewer asked me about my schtick…guess what matters to me.

What makes you different? You might want to be the next Stephanie Meyer…but do you really want your female characters mooning constantly over some guy (sparkly as he may be)? In my case the answer is ‘hell no’; I want them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get on with life.

Who is your fantasy self? In my dream universe, I am a warrior woman. I am not a genial queen or a pampered princess. I’ve got a sword, a shield and an awesome death stare. Probably why I write strong women!

What do people remember about you? If you don’t know, ask them. Chances are, the way you make people feel as an individual, will carry through to your work. Me? Just as an example…I’m an adventurer. I travel at every given opportunity, learn new languages whenever possible, and get itchy feet if I stay still too long. Are all my books adventures? On one level or another, yes. Even when I wrote romances, the word ‘cosy’ never applied.

Notice how I’m asking questions about YOU, not your work? That’s because you ought not fit your brand. Your brand should fit you.

That said, my fellow non-niche dwellers, I bid you go forth and research yourselves. Farewell and fun branding!

Where to find Rebecca Online:

Where to get her books:

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.