Monday, November 24, 2014

Knowing Your Brand

I came across this on Pinterest one day and it struck a chord with me because it speaks to a blog post I've been wanting to write for a while.

Before we ever write a book or put ourselves out there as authors, agents and editors we're creating a brand. When we're in any public forum where we present as an author, an agent, an editor or whatever it is we are professionally, we need to think of that brand. 

What does it say about you and your brand if you show up at an appointment in jeans? What about a suit? I think most of us choose something in between. What does it say to you about an agent who shows up to an appointment in jeans or a baseball hat versus the one that wears a suit versus the one who wears a skirt and simple top? 

How we present ourselves is the first impression an agent or editor gets not just about us, but about our books. If you show up to an appointment in a baseball hat and yoga pants I'm going to wonder if you've bothered to polish your book or if you're really serious about your career. And I imagine if I showed up in workout clothes you're going to wonder where my priorities as an agent are.

What I really like about this quote is the part on trademark. It's something I've often thought about, but never put words to. I hear stories all the time about agents who are nasty or harsh or scary or snobby or sweet or funny or charming.... What about authors? Are you kind and thoughtful? What kind of trademark are you presenting to other authors, readers, agents and editors? Are you too busy to stop and chat, are you kind and present even if the conversation is boring you to tears? All of this is part of your Author Brand and all of it needs to be considered beyond just the hook, title and writing.



Tricia Quinnies said...

Dear Ms. Faust,
I truly appreciate this post. I'm wondering if you could elaborate a bit on the flip side. What does it say about an agent or editor who (after meeting in person) fails to communicate in any manner to a writer? After pitching at several conferences sometimes I'm left...baffled. In my mind, a professional courtesy is to simply respond in some way, even if months later. Short and sweet does the trick. I've started to consider (or maybe it's a light bulb.)that the vast business of publishing has a dark side. As a writer, I enjoy wordsmithing so, most of the time, practicing my craft keeps me smiling. (I'm generally, a glass half-full kind of person.) I move on pretty quick after rejections, but I do wonder, why many times "no response" is considered okay? I'm just sort of curious. I look at pitching as a job interview and take the time to look and act professionally, so the "no response" is confusing.
Any of your thoughts would be terrific.
Thanks so much,
Tricia Q.

DLM said...

Another piece of this is how you COMPORT yourself. Online and in person, if you behave collegially and politely it makes a difference; I've had extended exchanges with more than one dream-worthy agent thus far, and the most recent one specifically commented that working with people like me, even on only a first-read basis (this was her "pass" message to me) was what made her love her job. I was sorry not to nab that agent, but it was no insult that we closed with "I look forward to calling you the author who got away."

We've all seen the horror stories about writers who behave rudely and end up publicly shamed online for their troubles. It's not the worst thing in the world to consider the opposite force - that good behavior might have its rewards. Even if it's not getting one particular agent, getting a good reputation is worthwhile.