Building my writing platform

I have been thinking a lot about brand-building. As I put aside my WIP to give it a good think, I wonder if I am successfully carving out my niche.  I need to communicate my core identity, and I need to communicate it well. I’m not just a writer.  I am a…

A what?

That’s the part of the core identity I need to establish in the writing community.  I need to define who I am as a writer.

As writers looking to brand ourselves, we have to ask and answer some questions so that when people hear our names, they know immediately who we are, what we’re all about.

For starters, I need to understand that the writer Kathryn Johnston and the human Kathryn Johnston are two separate personalities that work together. How would I describe myself as a writer? How would I describe myself as a person?

Now, because I will be a published author soon :) I will be out there, in public, meeting people, talking about myself and my writing. How do I want the public to view me?

All of these questions should lead me to a common group of descriptors that I would use to describe myself as a writer, a human, and how I’m perceived by others.

Once I’m out there, people naturally dig deeper. They want to know more about me, so I need to be prepared to talk about my achievements, what I’ve been working on. Now, I don’t have a long list of writing projects, but this is okay because I can’t forget the other part to my brand—the person Kathryn Johnston. I need to include those achievements, too.

Many people like a person with a plan. They don’t want to hear that I’m mucking about on FB or Twitter just because it looks like fun or because everyone else is doing it.  What are my goals for the short-term (short-term will be defined differently by everyone)? What are my long-term goals (again, defined differently by different people)?

Here it gets interesting. Already, I can see how my goals will directly correlate to the kind of person and writer that I am.  Additionally, it would make sense that my goals should spin off from my accomplishments. In other words, if I completed a novel (accomplishment), then my goal should be to get it published.

Below, I tried answering the questions. Hopefully there will be something that can help me in branding myself.

  1. Who am I as a person? I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am reliable. I am kind. I am strong-minded. I am helpful. I am resolute.
  2. Who am I as a writer? I am dedicated. I am motivated. I am strong. I want to learn and grow. I share knowledge. I persevere. I get up at 4am to write.
  3. How do I want to be viewed by the public? I am not a quitter.  I am enthusiastic. I build relationships. I am supportive. I am hard-working.
  4. What are my accomplishments? I have a short story published. I completed a novel, mainstream fiction. I wrote the framework of the sequel. I survived two NaNoWriMos. I won a writing contest in my local community. I teach creative writing to children. I am a freelance writing coach and editor.
  5. What are my short-term goals? Fight for my WIP and get it published. Expand my writing coach business. Continue building and enhancing relationships with others in the writing community.
  6. What are my long-term goals? Write and publish more books. Make a living as a writer. Own a writing studio where I can teach creative writing workshops and hold seminars. Found a writing competition for writers looking to break into the field. Remain available to all writers from all walks of life.

I will continue to tweak and sculpt these tidbits until I am fully comfortable with my identity, both now and ongoing. Then I need to put it all into action. This is who I am, who I want to be, and I have to be ready to back it up.

How about you? Have you figured out your brand?