Who else remembers a 1960s Western called “Branded!” about a soldier falsely accused of cowardice and drummed out of the army in the wild west?
Branding used to be Bad
… coming from the act of burning a permanent mark into a cow or sheep to prove ownership. Today, though, being “branded” means you have created a distinct style that identifies you in the hubbub of commerce. More important than product or service is being well “branded!”
Have I pitched my books lately?
I really hate to do it, as the one thing I do not like about writing is promoting, making sure I am “branded!” Curating my brand, which is what we call it now, is hard because I have no idea what it is or should be. I think of Lionel Hardcastle, from that Britcom “As Time Goes By,” whose book was shilled by Alistair Deacon a publisher friend, and forced to create a silly but salable persona that would sell his “Life in Kenya.”
Person or Persona?
Thanks to our entertainment culture, there is a difference between a person and a persona. The former is who we are; the latter is who we want others to think we are. Personas are simplified versions of real people. But some people (that would include me) do not simplify well. Am I a “writer,” a “preacher,” a “pilgrim,” a “sage,” a “fool?” Yes, to all these and more. Just look at my website. It’s pathetic because it is not well branded. I have a website advisor who wants me to focus, and I find that very hard.
But a persona needs to be about just one thing. In this blog I am a pilgrim who writes about that way of life. Hence, “Pilgrim Life.” That should be where it starts and stops.
“But Wait, There’s More!”
I also write fiction, which is a pilgrimage of the mind I guess, an inner wandering in search of meaning. I am at work on a novel (yes, like everyone else) that is only slowly revealing itself despite the map I have in hand as I go. See there, how I made that connection. Subtle, huh?
But before the novel I composed several short stories on Yuletide themes. That comes from my life as a clergyman. That book is actually available. I want you to buy it.
Now, people buy books now based on the author more than the book, because brand is everything. Which is why anything written by a celebrity is going to succeed, and nothing written by a nobody is likely to succeed.
So here is the deal. If you buy this book – it’s really cheap – and like it, and recommend it, I will begin to have a brand! Rather than me curating my brand, which is really self-centered, you get to do it. Yes, you can create my persona. For the paltry sum of $6 you can read my little book, love it, review it, recommend it. You can even hate it and leave a negative review. Just do it, and create my brand as an insightful and engaging story teller for this bewildered age.
So, do me a solid. Buy it; give it to friends. At least one person who liked them besides me, as there is a review Honestly it is not the money I seek, which is proof I am no ‘author,’ but the hope of being read and giving some small quiet insight during a season where large and loud and obvious are everywhere. C’mon. It’s short. And if you succeed, you can say, “I made him the celebrity he is now.”
(God this is excruciating)