Sunday, April 24, 2005

More Branding

I'm an advocate of authors branding themselves and their weblogs as well as their novels. Put away the white-hot irons; it doesn't have to be that painful. Making yourself easier for anyone to remember just requires some creative thinking.

Take PBW. Short for Paperback Writer. Now, raise your hands if you know my real name* (uh-uh-uh, no Googling.) I also write under seven other names. Without my bibliography, are you going to remember all of them, how to spell them, and which I use for what genre? Hardly.

PBW, on the other hand, is short, easy to type, and makes an immediate connection to me and the weblog. It's like PW. It's like PB&J. People remember it.

Acronyms aren't the only way to brand yourself. A short, unusual or striking name, nickname, pseudonym or blog name tends to stick better than those which are long, ordinary, or forgettable. Good examples:

1. BestSF -- Mark Watson's SF review site. The name is very simple and says it all in six letters.

2. BookAngst101 -- An anonymous industry pro who goes by the handle Mad Max Perkins and writes about publishing, marketing, and how to handle both.

3. Bookninja -- maintained by the never silent but evidently ever-lethal Peter Darbyshire, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, and George Murray.

4. Fark -- Bet you can guess what F word Drew Curtis was really thinking of when he named his site.

5. Galleycat -- edited by Nathalie Chica, who is also Cup of Chica.

6. His Nibs -- weblog of Norman Haase, owner of His Nibs, online source for unusual fountain pens as well as fine writing instruments and pen supplies.

7. Pullquote -- operated by Cinetrix; there's a double-brander for you.

8. Slashdot -- originated by Rob Malda; now owned by Open Source Technology Group.

9. Snarkywood -- written by some ladies named Martha, Lauren and Amy.

10. Tamboblog -- website of author Tamara Siler Jones, whose signature nickname is Tambo.

Other online resources for branding info:

Julie Andersen's article The Importance of Branding Yourself in a Niche Market.

Tim Bete's article Eight Ways to Promote Your Writing Online talks about online branding.

Tom Brosnahan's article Author as Brand Name.

A Single Southern Guy Across America discusses blog name branding and evolution when he was just A Single Southern Guy in America.

*It's Sheila Lynn Kelly. This week, anyway.


  1. PBW was a brilliant choice. Easy to remember, but so obvious that I'm surprised it hadn't been taken already.

    Most of the time, when I'm describing one of your posts to my wife, I've called you "Paperback Writer."

    I had a hard time for awhile with Eloisa James until I realized that her first name consisted of a simple girls' name ("Lois") with a vowel attached on each end.

  2. Anonymous9:11 AM

    I am extremely conscious of the tambo brand. Not only are my books a product, I am too with niche marketing and all that jazz. You bet! When someone picks up a TSJ book, I intend for there to be certain expectations that will consistently be met. That goes a long way to establishing a brand identity.

    Thanks for the excellent post!

  3. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Sweet vindication. I used the branding argument with Bravo when I wrote a blog for them to make sure I got my cinetrix byline: cinetrix = known movie authority, not some geek off the street. Thanks for the mention.


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