Personal branding? You’re probably wondering what that is. And, if you’re a novelist, you probably have some negative prejudices about it. “Sounds like a marketing term, dad gum it!”
Well, yes. It is. But it’s got a lot more to do with it than just marketing. It’s really a key to finding out who you truly are and what you stand for. Plus it is essential to making a living as a novelist, so grab a seat and have a listen.
Just What Is Personal Branding?
Well, it entails a lot of things but, it is essentially who the public sees you as being. For example when I say the name Steven King horror novels immediately come to mind. When I say JK Rowling you can’t help but think of Harry Potter which is planted firmly in the Fantasy genre. When I say Ernest Hemingway you think of African safaris, The Spanish Civil War, drinking and a life of adventure.
Well, there you have it in a nutshell.
The public wouldn’t even consider Steven King writing a Historical Romance. And, personal branding is so powerful that JK Rowling chose to adopt the pen name of Robert Galbraith to publish her novel The Silkworm so as not to confuse readers of the JK Rowling brand.
Pen names and genres are all part of branding as are also how you present yourself on social media like Twitter, Facebook and others. Or, for that matter, IF you choose to use social media at all.
But, at the heart of personal branding is the Unique Selling Proposition.
OK, So What Is A Unique Selling Proposition?
A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a short statement of who you are and what you bring to the reader.
Here are some USPs from the commercial world just so you have an idea.
- “The Greatest Show on Earth” Barnum and Bailey Circus
- “Diamonds are forever …” DeBeers
- “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight” Fedex
Ever hear of these? I thought you might have.
In a world where thousands of things are vying for the attention of the consumer these USPs tell the buyer exactly who they are dealing with what they are getting in the space of less than a sentence.
There is absolutely no confusion.
So Where Do I Use this USP And How Do I Develop One?
For example, my USP for e-novel-advisor.com is “Your first step to writing a novel and the last word on marketing it.”
Because this is my target market and the people I can benefit the most.
My USP for my novels and my author website is “Break out of the reality society has imagined for you.” Because my fiction has to do with the illusory nature of reality and the problems that causes.
OK, so how do we develop a USP? Well, start off by asking yourself these questions.
- What are my values as a writer?
- What are my strong points?
- What do I do for the reader?
- What benefit does the reader receive?
- How do others describe my writing?
- What are my goals?
- Who am I trying to reach?
- What is my purpose, why am I writing?
- What is my core message?
- What is my central theme?
You see, when it gets right down to it, personal branding is a lot less about marketing than about finding out who you really are and what you stand for. And, in the end, this is going to make you a better writer anyway.