Guest blogger Michelle Lewry
Author | Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time presenter | Master miso soup maker.
So you’re a writer?
What’s so special about your writing?
Can you sum up what you write in a sentence? No? How about three words? Nope?
In her Building Your Brand workshop at the KidLitVic2017 Conference, editor extraordinaire Lisa Berryman asked a room full of rapt writers these same questions (only she wasn’t so thug-like) because ladies and gentlemen, whether we like it or not, today’s publishing world demands authors (emerging or established) to create their own brand.
A brand can be described as a "unique and CAREFULLY designed IMAGE which DIFFERENTIATES your product from your competitors.” Sorry about all the capitals but it’s important you understand you are now officially a product, just like a box of cereal on a supermarket shelf.
So, are you the earth-friendly oats in the compostable khaki box or the crunchy, punchy, choccy puffs with the goofy gorilla on the front? Let’s find out.
Grab some pens, (coloured ones), some paper (a big piece), and put on your best advertising exec suit (or twin set).
Write down what you think are your Unique Selling Points — we’ve all got them, the trick is not to take a backward step, don’t be modest, write ‘em down loud and proud. Weed out the daggy bits then write yourself a spiffy one-liner about what you do.
Now take your spiffy one-liner and condense it even further into about 3 or so words. This is the essence of your brand. Kinda scary but exciting at the same time, isn’t it? Build your brand around these words, always be true to them and don’t diss them by acting unprofessionally.
Well done, you!
You’ll know you’ve got a good brand thing going when your writer’s conference conversations go something like this--
Editor: So, what do you write?
You: YA coming-of-age stories with rock’n’roll street cred.
Editor (raises an eyebrow): Uh-huh. Working on anything at the moment?
You: I’m writing about the sexual misadventures of an over-privileged, under-parented, 16-year-old in 2017, Tokyo.
Editor: Really. Can I have a look at it?
You: I’ll have it to you tomorrow!
Please, if you see one of Lisa Berryman’s workshops advertised at a writing conference near you, GO! Lisa is responsible for publishing and growing the brand of Australia’s top writing talent. You will learn heaps!
Since reading her first book, (about a bear bouncing on a bed) Michelle’s always had a book in her hands or a story running through her head.
Surprisingly, Michelle studied painting at university but found awful artists don’t make a living so she travelled to Japan seeking adventure and employment as an English teacher.
During her 10 years stint in Japan, Michelle didn’t read any books or write any stories but she did learn how to make a ripper miso soup and offend people with her manly Japanese. She won the 1999 Western Tokyo Karaoke Championship and a second place for the Best Tamborine Solo by a Female, 2001.
When Michelle returned to Australia, she went on a book-reading binge. One lonely night, she wrote a picture book manuscript. The manuscript won a prize. Encouraged, Michelle kept writing her stories. Now she writes picture books, middle-grade fiction, plays for children and YA Fiction (so she can swear and talk about rude things).
By day, Michelle is an energetic Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time presenter at her local library. She relishes her role in creating excitement around reading for young children. She’s passionate about early literacy, especially for underprivileged families.
You can find out more on Michelle's LinkedIn page.
For previous guest blog posts by attendees to KidLitVic:
KidLitVic2017 Lessons by Pamela Uekerman reflects on the conference as a whole.
Full Steam Ahead. KidLitVic2017 by Karen Hendriks covers the various panels on the day.
KidLitVic2017: A Reflection by Juliet Sampson chats about her observations and the changes in publishing trends.
Learn How to Master Manuscript Assessments with Carole Lander.
For another perspective and further information on the author branding workshop, please read the guest post, It’s All About Your Brand by Penelope Pratley.
For more coverage and different perspectives:
From an organiser's perspective: The KidLitVic 2017- Meet the Publishers Conference Wrap-Up by Nicky Johnson
Tania McCartney gives her view of KidLit, along with what she is up too, on her blog, Works-in-progress, KidLitVic and Crystal Kite!
Romi Sharp reflects on her experiences on her blog, KidLitVic2017 Reflections
Tabitha Page talks about her first KidLitVic experience and how AWESOME it was.
Kris Sheather gives an informative overview of the entire conference in her blog, KidLitVic - In Melbourne.
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