Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where is your place?

This post follows upon last week's post, Who Are You?

In the previous post, I asked you about who you were and how you would define yourself as a writer. In short, I asked about your writer identity.

I'm sure a lot of you must be wondering why I posted that. The reasons are:

Branding and Positioning.

In the writing world, you need to brand yourself to better position your works and your persona in the cut-throat arena of competition.

Basically, what are branding and positioning?

Branding is a term used mostly in business management and advertising. It implies a brand creates a defining identity for itself so as to emerge from the lot and be in pole position. Positioning then follows logically, in the sense that the branded product tops every other product that is at one single level, and shines as a beacon in the flat landscape.

As daunting and as regretful as it sounds (no, you cannot simply write, publish, and sell. If only it were as simple...), as a writer, you will need to brand yourself to better position your work in the market.
The term 'Branding' sounds barbaric. It isn't. It's simply finding your own identity and playing upon this. Here's the gist of it - ever wondered about the tag line for a story, you know, the one-line zinger that tickles your fancy on the back cover of a book? You need such a tag line for yourself.

Examples of writer tag for btanding:

Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural romantic fiction, with a twist
T.J. Killian - Romance on another plane of existence
Nolwynn Ardennes - The promise of fulfilment
Angela Guillaume - The poetry of romance with a sensual flair
Chiron O'Keefe: Journeys of self-discovery in both romance and psychic suspense
Diana Castilleja/Diana DeRicci ... Romance that thrives in the dark...Sizzle that satisfies
Sandra K. Marshall - Romantic mystery with a twist

Simply from the one-liners, you know what these writers write, and what sort of story/fiction you can expect from them.

Branding thus helps a writer position himself/herself in the writing, publishing, and marketing world. Branding helps determine what you are about, how your stories are unique, and in a nutshell, what you deliver.

Thus, a writer with a powerful, defining brand positions his/her work better. Look at the following example:

Cultural romantic fiction, with a twist

A different take on romance

Basically, these two lines tell the same thing. Something is different. But the first line attracts the attention and stimulates curiosity better.
What's the twist? What is this cultural romantic fiction about? Lovers of cultural elements know they will surely find what they love here.

At the same time, the branding tag line helps to position the writer in the area he/she writes in. In the above example, it is already implied that this is a niche/specific area - romance. Next, cultural elements.

There are a lot of culture-based writers out there, yet in this line, it says that there is a twist, which means something out of the ordinary or even something unique is present in this writer's work.

The tag line already helps the writer position herself above the lot of 'general' culture-based fiction writers.

So, how do you brand yourself?

Identify what is unique about your work. Do you write historicals set in the Viking era? Do your contemporaries all have funny, quirky heroines? Is your writing voice funny? What sort of issues do you tackle in your works? Is there a recurring theme in all your works?

All these help to distinguish you from the lot. Use this uniqueness to create a specific, attractive and intriguing tag line for your work.

Until next time, I'd love your comments/questions.

Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural romantic fiction, with a twist
With stories set amidst the rainbow nation of Mauritius, a multicultural island in the Southern Indian Ocean, author Aasiyah Qamar brings you tales of today's young women battling life on all fronts and finding love where they least expect it. Indo-Mauritian culture wants to stifle them in traditions, customs and antiquated morals while the world is opening its arms of modernity and globalisation. Where do these women belong? And more importantly, with whom?
Find out more about her first release, The Other Side, here.


Sandy said...

Wonderful post, Z. You're so right you have to brand your writing and yourself. It may limit you, but if you want to step out of the boundaries of your brand, then you can always change your name. Grin.


Chiron said...

Thanks for a wonderful post, Z.

Branding is such an intriguing phenomenon. For beginning writers, the thought can be overwhelming, as they are still exploring what their focus truly is. Once you *know*, it's gold.

Thanks for such an informative post!!


Angela Guillaume said...

Oh such a lovely post Z - something I need to learn lots more about. In fact I'm thinking of a more catchy tag line for my brand right now. This blog is fantastic. Thanks!


Chicki said...


I've recently changed my tag line to "Contemporary women's fiction in color" because I want people to know I write multicultural and don't write strictly romance.

Right now I don't have any plans to venture outside of contemporary, so I'll stick with this tag line for a while.

What do you think?

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Thank you very much for your response, ladies. I'm glad this post could shed some light on this aspect.

A tag line defines us, but it needs not be constricting. It can also give scope.

*wink* More on this to come on Thursday!

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...


I love the new tag. It opens up your perspective and still provides your and your works' identity.

Would you allow me to use it in my next post? I think it would illustrate a very important aspect of branding.