“What makes your stories unique?”
Such a simple question, yet of all the challenges I set participants of my Branding course this is the one that seems to bring many to a trembling halt.
Maybe they’ve never given their work a critical look before. Maybe they think they know what sets them apart from the rest of the herd but when asked to articulate it they are suddenly full of doubt. Maybe they’ve just never had to articulate it.
If you don’t yet know what it is that makes your work unique you won’t be able to communicate that to the world through your brand, so it’s worth a bit of angst to work it out.
This is part of what we do when we look at ‘BrandYOU’ toward the end of my online workshop, Branding: Why you need it before you sell. Participants are well-primed by the first couple of weeks of learning (what branding is, what it isn’t, practical applications, real world examples) and then I give them the ‘U-word’.
I don’t need to be able to see them to sense the glazed, terror-filled faces, but I haven’t had a participant yet who didn’t come away having finally been able to identify it for themselves.
One thought her point of difference was that her contemporary romance’s uniqueness was her varied international locales but after some squirrelling down it turned out she was writing almost exclusively in the world of international workers. Glamorous, far-off locales—tick. But there was a whole aspect to her work that I don’t see anyone else doing in the marketplace, the fish-out-of-water foreignness of being an ex-pat.
Another participant was pulling her branding punches. She had a very clear idea of what she did (classic erotic) but wasn’t backing it to the highest degree. Neither was she letting her very dry humour come through in her branding. There is nothing that says you can’t be classically erotic and funny at the same time. Wit is sexy, after all! The Smut Maven was born. Well, re-born really because she knew what she wanted to say, she just needed some guidance to shout it out.
So maybe that’s you. Maybe you’ve put all your effort into writing the books and the thought of having to take a few steps back to identify what makes your work unique is a nightmare scenario for you, too. But, ultimately, if you can’t answer it then you can’t sell it. No-one is going to just get it by osmosis and luck.
As my year eight sex-ed teacher used to say – girls, hope is not a method!
So come along in May and let’s work together to identify what makes your work unique. You don’t have to solve it on the spot, you can do the foundation work with me and then head off to absorb and ponder a little longer. But you will have to answer the question eventually.
Why not do it with support? I’m happy to throw around ideas in the group until we get you there
Author Branding: Why you need it before you sell is Nikki Logan’s 2019 OWL running from May 6th. The course runs via a series of YouTube webinars that you can watch (and rewatch) in your own time over the month and an email-based discussion group for those who like to get into the nitty gritty. $55 RWA members, $88 non-members.