Updated: Oct 7
Back in the olden days when I walked uphill both ways to and from school in waist deep snow, the word branding wasn't even in my vocabulary. When I signed my first publishing contract, the word meant little to me. However, fast forward to the 21st century and if you don't have a brand, something established on social media that defines you, your presence is that of a pimple on an elephants ass. And if you're not defined you'd might as well close up shop. or at least that's how it feels.
Harsh, I know. However, this is our reality and as authors, entertainers, and I cringe when I type this—influencers, you must find the best way that can help you stand out in a sea of millions who are trying to do the same.
Today I'm picking one form of merchandising, because honestly we could talk about this for weeks. Retractable banners, posters, and all other signage that relays to the public the statement you'd like to say about yourself. When I first started to book signings it wasn't long before I realized that signs and posters are a good way to draw people to your table. Back then, most of the authors, including moi, had easels that displayed poster boards. A thick, somewhat sturdy foam board that had whatever design we wanted printed on the front.
I was new at this and in the beginning I made the error of putting my headshot smack in the center with my current books surrounding me. It looked great—if I were never going to age, change my hair or write another book. So, when the time came to bump up my investment and aesthetics, and purchase a retractable banner, I got help. A good friend put something together using my logo and the ambience from my new book release, Alex McKenna.
Note: I used Vista Print, they were great and offered several sizes and prices.
I knew I would be writing a series so I thought this would be okay, but as time passed I realized I'd once again backed myself into a corner. Not that the banner didn't look great, it's gorgeous and it does drawn in readers, but I wanted them to understand more about who I was, what type of writer I am. My logo at the bottom of the banner wasn't as easy to focus on as the Alex McKenna portion, but due to cost of these lovely beasts I decided I needed to wait.
Fast forward to this past Saturday. I arrived at my signing and began my routine of setting up the table and my banner. This time however, something went terribly wrong and the banner had retracted too far into the base. I couldn't remove it and had to set it aside. I'm not sure if it's salvageable, but if it isn't I will be designing a new one. One that will probably have my logo and that's it. It described who I am as a writer and sets the tone for my work. Two things that are extremely important to our current industry.
So what's the moral of this story you ask?
Figure out who you are.
Discover images that best relay what you're about and what you'd like to say.
Create promotion items that reflect the whole of who you are and not just one aspect of your current work.
Vista Print is your friend and often have promotions and discounts.