Faye Rapoport DesPres

As an Author, is My “Brand” Me?

My publisher, Huntsville Independent Press, recently published an article about developing an author “brand.” I found the concept interesting.

Do writers really have — or need — a “brand?”

Writers who work in creative nonfiction are familiar with the concept of the “I” narrator, and the continuous debate about how much of that “I” represents the actual author, and how much is a persona created by the author to serve the purposes of a particular personal essay or memoir.

Just as news writers choose certain quotations or facts to include or not include in a news story, invariably slanting the story even when the journalist is doing his or her best to remain neutral, a writer makes choices for that “I” narrator. What words will the narrator choose? Which aspects of the narrators thoughts will be included in the essay or memoir, and which will be left unexpressed? Which aspects of the narrator’s personality will play an important role in the story, and which will be left in the background? All of these choices build that narrator into a persona that represents an aspect of the author — after all, the author is relating a true story about his or her life. However, the narrator is not the entirety of the author.

We can’t put our entire selves into the words of an essay or story; it’s just an impossible task. It wouldn’t be all that interesting for the reader, either.

The same could be said for the concept of developing an author “brand.” The way we present ourselves on social media, in blog posts, and in public appearances is not a complete portrait of who we are as people in our personal and public worlds. It is hopefully, however, a true representation of who we are as writers seeking to express what is most important to us and what we hope will reach (and in some cases, entertain) our readers — the values and reading experiences we seek to forward in the world through our work and our writing.

To read more about developing an author brand, read the publisher’s post, Unlock Your Potential: Author Branding.