In my most recent blog http://bbtaylor-books.co.uk/who-are-you/ I wrote about having a voice. One that is truly yours and tells the story only you were meant to tell. But with writing any book, story, poem or creating any illustrations, it’s only the beginning.
What most people don’t realise is that being an author or an illustrator in this day and age is the same as having your own business, the only difference the product you are selling is yourself. Without you the words and illustrations would not exist and therefore the business wouldn’t either. It doesn’t matter whether you’re traditionally published or self published the principles are the same and the hard work often begins after you’ve got your book in your hands.
And just as with every good book, every successful business has that all important hook. That brand that everyone identifies them with. For creatives a brand can be a vital way to get their work noticed, to stand out in a crowd. In a modern world where everything is more accessible now than ever, getting your book out there and recognised can seem like a daunting challenge. It’s very easy to fade into the background, if you allow yourself to.
So then what do we mean by a brand? A brand can be many things. A look, a style, a catchphrase. Something that people can immediately identify as you and connect to your work.
Take the very talented Chris Riddell for example, his brand is his style of illustrating. A distinct look that is easily recognisable, and attributed to both him and his work.
Or the amazing Sarah McIntyre. Her out of this world style that complements her books and wows readers wherever she goes. Something a reader would never forget and would immediately recognise and connect with her work.
Then we have the fantastic Philip Ardagh, comedic in every way. From his books to his social media presence you immediately warm to his persona and want to hear more. (And of course there’s his epic beard, the envy of many!)
And not forgetting the wonderful Cathy Cassidy, from her beautifully crimped hair to her gorgeous dresses with trendy trainers, down to earth and completely approachable, open and warming to all her readers. Her following speaks for itself, a writer that her readers find they can relate to a connect with in a way that leaves a beaming smile on their faces.
Four well known and extremely talented authors, who are all completely different, unique and fantastic role models for being true to themselves and their work.
It doesn’t matter whether it is a physical conscious look, a personality trait, or a specific style of working. It could be a connection to your heritage or a common interest/hobbie you have with your readers. Each of us has something to offer that makes us unique, that helps us connect with our readers and make them remember and care about the stories and pictures we share.
All you have to do is find the hook thats right for you. You don’t have to be flamboyant or loud, you don’t have to go to extremes that make you feel uncomfortable. In fact its all about you feeling comfortable in your style and your brand.
For me I see my writer side like my alter ego. I can step out of myself and into her becoming someone completely free and fun, especially when I’m writing or sharing my stories. My ‘brand’ is B B Taylor, my character, my persona I suppose is a good way to describe it and my look is all part of who I am and how I promote my writing. With a weakness for the colour purple, and pretty bright bows, I do have a distinct look that many remember quite easily. I’m bouncy and childish enjoying every minute of sharing my stories and I often get told it shows through at events and when I’m meeting readers. I have routines and catchphrases that the children always remember and associate with my stories that help them to identify with me. I want to excite and encourage children so they go away bouncing and excited about reading books, just as much as I am when I write them. And my animals and monsters that help me with my stories add to who I am and what I offer to my reader.
Don’t be afraid to stand out and be unique. Your stories are and so are you. Find who you are and share it with the world.