Writer Branding by Hettie Ashwin

Author Hettie Ashwin
Author Hettie Ashwin

As if there isn’t enough to worry about when one tries to be a writer, now apparently we need to be branded. I thought I had covered all my bases with my web presence, my blogginess, my own domain and my style signature. I webinar-ed on weebs, tweets and wikis just to get myself up to speed, but soon found via an online survey I lacked social networking skills.

I do well on a BBQ with dips, chips and an ice bucket, and can hold my own at a dinner party, but I never dreamed I was a social misfit. I needed a profile fix and quick! My Facebook account was a woeful state, and if I had any hope of pulling my socks up, I needed to network. But all this would be lost, the writing gurus advised, if I didn’t brand myself. An absolutely vital tool for all writers’ nirvana; publishing success.

If branding was something you could just buy, then I’d just go on line and order the damn thing; plus postage. Wikipedia wasn’t any help either. Then I sort of surfed, googled, delicious-ed and asked Jeeves, and ended up joining a dating agency by mistake. Harry, Ted, Mark and Bryan all said they could help me, but I had to become a premium member first. Only seventy easy payments. Go cut and paste yourselves fellas. Unsubscribe is such a lovely word!

Then I found a writers forum. Ah, I thought, like-minded souls in the pursuit of writing excellence. Can anyone please tell me what ‘accessible language poetry’ really is? Or perhaps, esoteric cognition? I dropped off their RSS as fast as control/alt/delete.

With the world wide web at my fingertips I ning-ed, peeplo.com-ed and linked-in, but I felt an outcast. I didn’t belong, and all because I wasn’t branded. Not recognized. Not accessible with a meta tag or a spider bot. It was akin to cyber suicide. If I didn’t do something soon I would be archived and forgotten.

So I bypassed the apps, the sponsored links, the 101 writer’s top tips and unplugged. With only my e-reader for company my life flat-lined, and then I reached out and found a book. Not just any book, but a big fat book. A book that had everything a writer could want. A book that had all the answers.

I looked up branding in the dictionary.

Now my only decision is whether to get a butt brand or an ear tag.

So, I guess that’s why authors are kept in stables.

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Hettie Ashwin has been published in anthologies in the UK, USA and Australia. Her short stories have been broadcast on ABC radio and other stations and published on line and in print. Her humorous articles have been widely published in magazines in Australia and her radio play was produced for a local writer’s festival by the ABC. She has written a humorous novel and a collection of short stories.  You can find out more about Hettie on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.  Her books are available globally and at Amazon.com.

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15 thoughts on “Writer Branding by Hettie Ashwin”

  1. This was refreshingly light and … rather serious, if one pauses to digest it a moment. There is sanity in this reasoning. Misnomers abound online, and as any pig will tell you, one is best branded by others. Branding oneself is doomed to result in injury of some sort, or mis-branding, which is worse.

    How I see myself as an author is possibly not exactly how I am seen by readers.

  2. Delightful. We all feel your pain! I'm not into turning that other cheek and have enough holes in my head, so I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and not worry about the so-called experts, unless they have something "real" to say.

  3. I love your humorous way of addressing this topic which is very relevant for all of us writers. I imagine we have all tried most of these things and wondered what good they have done. But in some way, the branding happens–eventually. I think Rosanne is right in saying that it is better to be branded by others. We are a little too close to ourselves and our writing to see clearly how to do it. But if we don't put ourselves in front of the public methodically and deliberately we may find ourselves branded by default and that may not be quite the result we had in mind, either.

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