Friday afternoon I enjoyed a very productive conversation with my marketing contact atUpper Room Books in Nashville.
We talked about a wide range of topics, including the life and death struggle most publishing houses are engaged in for survival. The problem is not that people have stopped reading… but the fact that they have stopped being interested in paying for what they read!
The most helpful part of our conversation had to do with the idea of branding. “What,” she asked me, “do you want people to think of when they see or hear the name ‘Derek Maul?’”
Books to help us “Live Like We Mean It!”
MEANING: It’s a great question, and I understand how the idea of branding could make all the difference when it comes to surviving as a writer. What we’re talking about, essentially, is the difference between numbers and meaning.
It’s encouraging to know, for example, that as of 10:00 AM EST on April 5, 2013, 318 people have signed up as “followers” of this blog (followers receive every new post, by email, without having to sign in), and it’s also nice to know that an additional 260 people visited my site during the day…
However, unless those 500-plus individuals understand my essential message (the consistent thread that should run through just about everything I post) then they (and by “they”, I mean you) are less likely to rush over to The Upper Room Bookstore and purchase any of my books… or invite me to speak at the next event… or re-post anything I write… or forward it to their friends.
“You need to build a base,” my marketing friend said, “a core group of people who will not only buy your books, but who will encourage their friends to buy them too.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU (The Reader): Personally, I believe my “brand” is fairly clear. But what I think is less important than what you – the reader – understands. So the question remains: does the “Derek Maul brand” communicate to those of you who read this page?
Does it? I’d honestly like to know. So please do me this favor: watch this (less than 2-mins) short video – A Conversation About Branding, and then answer the question (see if you can spot the error, when I was thinking about the next sentence and used the wrong word!).
This conversation is important, I believe, because if writers like me don’t manage to get a better handle on what we can do to communicate our core message, then – soon – there won’t be any more books by writers like me.
MY BRAND: Here’s the “Derek Maul” brand from my perspective. I’m passionate about encouraging more people (me included) to “Live like we mean it; because God certainly meant it when we were created.”
When people read Derek Maul, meet Derek Maul, see a video of Derek Maul, or listen to Derek Maul speak, I want the message of abundant life to be obvious; that’s identity.
When people think/hear/see/read “live like we mean it” or “the life-charged life,” then I want “Derek Maul” to come to mind; that’s brand.
I’m convinced this is a message worth promoting, worth sharing with the world… worth “branding.” - DEREK