Nathan Bransford delivers with a great article today attacking the notion of branding. I found myself nodding along with each and every word. It's a good read for any aspiring writer, and he provides some great, down-to-earth examples to illustrate his point.
For my part, this is exactly what I've been trying to put into practice. I understand the business reasons behind "creating a brand," but I don't necessarily believe they're all applicable in today's rapidly changing environment. If fact, they can backfire as well. As Nathan says, you'll likely fair much better by simply being you.
That's what I'm trying to do. I believe my stories and writing speak for themselves. I want people supporting me because that believe in that, not because I've convinced them I'm something I'm not. How fulfilling would that be?
Furthermore, most of us writers are not doing this as our day job yet. Time is at a premium. If there's one thing I've learned about lying over the ages, it's that it takes time. Lots of time. Start weaving webs, and pretty soon you have a messy tangle to keep track of.
I feel like if I were trying to be something I'm not, if I were overly concerned about presenting some facade... boy would that be exhausting. I'd rather spend that time and energy in my writing, and hopefully that shows. Any "brand" I create along the way is simply a result of letting my voice ring out, and sharing it with y'all. To me, that's how it should be. My brand is me. Hopefully, it's a brand that engenders trust. Trust that you're getting my genuine best, and trust that I'm doing everything I can to learn and improve over time.
It's an idealism that probably would have been scoffed at in years past. These days? Truth sells. Interesting that, for all the faults we attribute to the Internet, this should be the case.