Writerly Wonderings: What’s My Brand?
Posted on November 18, 2022
by Aeryn Rudel
I think it is important for a writer to have a brand to some extent, so they can more effectively and precisely market to potential readers. This doesn’t mean an author can’t stray from that brand a bit, but if it gets too fractured, then it’s possible to alienate readers. I have a more specific problem with my own brand(s), and that’s because I have four that are somewhat at odds with one another. Let me see if I can explain.
Brand One — Rejectomancer
If you follow this blog, then you most certainly know this brand. I’m the rejection guy. I’m the guy that overanalyzes the noes and the not-for-us’s and makes them a bit more palatable to my fellow writers. This brand has served me well, and it’s gained me a fair number of followers and readers. Of all my brands, I have cultivated this one in the most purposeful manner.
Brand Two — Speculative-Fiction Author
Another brand that won’t be unfamiliar to folks who read this blog, and, hell, maybe a few of you actually follow the blog because of it. I write and publish a lot of speculative fiction. I talk about this work a lot on the blog, and it ties into the whole submission and rejection thing.
Brand Three — Media Tie-In Author
With a few exceptions, I don’t talk much about this aspect of my work on the blog. I’d be willing to wager that most of my followers, especially those who found me in the last three or four years, have not read and maybe have no idea I write this kind of material. Those who read this material don’t generally follow the blog (with some exceptions).
Brand Four — Game Designer/Editor
This is the most ancient of my brands, For over a decade, starting in 2004, I designed RPG material for various companies, and then I took a job with Privateer Press, where I became the editor for their inhouse magazine No Quarter and then the managing editor of their fiction line. I do talk about this experience on the blog, more so lately, and lots of folks know me from this past career (but generally follow me elsewhere).
Okay, those are my four brands. Now, what’s the problem? It’s pretty simple. You can draw a line between the first two and the second two brands. People who follow me for submission and rejection advice and/or who read my spec-fic are not particularly interested in the media tie-in and game design stuff. Conversely, those who know me from the media tie-in and game design world are not particularly interested in my rejectomantic ramblings or my speculative fiction. Now, of course, there is SOME crossover, but I have pretty solid data (from this blog, in fact), that it’s not as much as you’d think.
Let me get this out of the way right now. The problem above is 100 percent my fault. Part of it is due to the way my career has developed, which I would call haphazardly, and the other part is how I’ve gone about cultivating one brand over another. So, what’s the answer? Consolidation. Rejectomancy cannot be my author website. It’s just not good at that, and the brand I’ve cultivated for it isn’t particularly conducive to promoting my own work. What I need is a place for Aeryn Rudel Rejectomancer, Aeryn Rudel Spec-Fic Author, Aeryn Rudel Media Tie-In Author, and Aeryn Rudel Game Designer to live harmoniously under one roof. In short, I need an honest-to-god author website where all these things are component pieces of a singular brand – Aeryn Rudel.
A website is not a cure-all, of course. It’s the first step in cultivating that ME brand. There’s still a lot of hustle and work that needs to happen on social media, the website itself, and a few other places I’m considering. I’m taking a good hard look at other authors who have come from the gaming/media tie-in world and who now write speculative fiction of their own. All of these folks have done an excellent job of making their brand, well, themselves. Now, even if I do marry all these disparate parts together, some people are just not gonna be into all the things I do, and that’s totally cool, but I think I’d get more cross-pollination than I currently do. Well, that’s the hope anyway.
So, in 2023, look for some new and improved authorly things and a slight rebranding of this rejectomantic spec-fic writing, media-tie in slinging, former game designer/editor person. 🙂
Thoughts on author brands? Tell me about it in the comments.
Is it too late for you to adopt a pseudonym for one or more of your brands?
I think so, plus I think a pseud would likely just add to the confusion. Consolidating everything under a single brand, me, is likely the best approach. 🙂
How about having separate sections for each in the same blog?
I could do that, but the issue is that Rejectomancy is already its own brand. It’s not really a good vehicle for anything else. Hence, the single site where Rejectomancy can peacefully coexist with the other things. 🙂