Everyone these days has to have an ‘author brand’. Or so it seems.
In particular, when an on-line presence – a web site, a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, an author’s page at Amazon – seems to be essential, it is no longer enough to be a good writer. I believe I have that covered anyway, and if I hadn’t, there are a thousand-and-one sites out there offering advice on how to structure a novel, how to allocate time, the necessity of beta-readers, the advisability of professional editors, and on, and on. Now, however, if you want to sell your writing, you need to have something on line that instantly identifies you.
It’s not easy for someone like myself. I freely confess I am a very private person, a virtual recluse. I have always put forward my writing as the milieu and medium in which I express my strength, and have left the rest as a matter of mystique. Often, when asked for a bio, I borrow and adapt from the telegram sent by the artist Balthus when asked for a summary of his biographic details
NO BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS. BEGIN: MARIE MARSHALL IS A WRITER OF WHOM NOTHING IS KNOWN. NOW LET US READ THE WORDS. REGARDS. M.
which is the way I like it.
An ‘author brand’ is so much more than a logo, or a slogan, or a web site layout; but all these contribute to it and, apparently, they tend to make an author as well-known as the famous ‘golden arches’, a true ‘persona’. Do I have one? I don’t know. I have the mystique, I have a web site that I try to keep ‘clean’ of clutter (I love a minimalist approach), I have that description of myself that someone gave me – ‘The Queen of Wow!’ – I have a lot of yellow. Whether this amounts to a brand, well, only you can tell me if my ‘touch’ is instantly recognisable.
You see, the recluse is truly who I am. The person who relies on the strength of her writing and her facility with language – that’s me! I’m a person, not a persona. La Danseuse Jaune and ‘The Queen of Wow!’ are only signs I hang on my door. What if all I had was a brand? No writing, no me, just a brand?
All front and no substance…
What’s that? Oh yes, thank you for asking, the new novel is coming along slowly but surely.