Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Every writer's conference I've been to has had sessions pushing the idea of brand.
Create a brand for yourself and you will sell.
Brand is what potential consumers recognize in advertising campaigns or marketing blitzes.
Coke has the red can with the white curvy thingy.
Brandilyn Collin's "Seatbelt Suspense" brand has become a promise to readers that they won't be able to sleep at night!
John Grisham's brand is the legal thriller. Sure he's dabbled in other genres, but his legal thrillers are what made him famous.
Brand is a promise to fulfill customer or reader expectations.
James Patterson seemingly breaks The Rules when it comes to writing. Most of us hear, "pick a genre and stick to it." Patterson writes anything from mystery/suspense to romance. And he holds a record number of New York Times best-sellers.
The most recent issue of Writer's Digest features an interview with this guru of sales and fan base.
Patterson firmly believes the best advertising trick is to create a sought-after product. If the product isn't good, no amount of marketing dollars could launch a best selling brand.
"I've always concentrated on the product. There are very few cases where people or enterprises or franchises have succeeded unless the product is really good for that audience. [Writers] always want to hear it's the advertising. It isn't--it's the product."
As writers we need to ask ourselves what Patterson is delivering that readers are clamoring for.
"...I want to create a book that I think people are going to enjoy, that I would enjoy, and I get a kick out of that. Some writers don't. Some serious writers, the last thing in the world they want to do is entertain people..."
Back to the basic foundation: storytelling.
Readers want stories. They buy stories that grab them and hold their attention. If you want to succeed as a writer, put your craft first, tell a killer-story and everything else will fall into place.
This interview by Diane Page Jordan is well worth the price of the magazine.