By MVWG Member Tracy Schuldt Helixon
When I was five years old, my parents came around the corner to find me writing all over my two-year-old brother. When they asked me why, the answer was simple: Timmy thought he was a piece of paper. Over forty years later, you’ll still find me writing. (To Timmy’s relief, I now use a computer.) Like most writers I know, I’ve had a compulsion to put words together for as long as I can remember. Ask me to promote that writing, though, and you’ll hear a different story.
I’m a writer, not a salesperson! Can’t I just write, and let the rest take care of itself? I don’t have time for marketing. I’m not any good at it. I’m an introvert. I’m not built for this stuff. Besides, it all seems kind of fake to me.
Those were the words I had repeated to myself for most of my writing life. This past spring, though, I took a leap outside my comfort zone and registered for an online author branding course. I researched a few different options and decided that the best fit for me was Authentically Awesome Branding for Writers by Andrea Guevara.
Ultimately, for two main reasons, the class surprised me:
1. Author branding helped me to define who I am as a writer.
My first assignments involved making lists of the values and traits most important in my life and asking a few close friends to share what they identified as my stand-out qualities. Next, I looked for ways that those values and traits carried over to my writing. The result? I learned to define and articulate why writing is important to me and what I hope my words will accomplish in this world.
I learned that author branding isn’t just about selling my work. It’s about defining my purpose and letting that purpose drive my efforts as a writer. For me, that was big.
2. Author branding turned out to be both inspiring and fun!
After I defined my purpose as a writer, the next assignments involved studying the ways that successful authors share their brands, then drafting my own brand statement. This was a new type of writing that challenged and inspired me. In the end, I was happy with the results. Making updates to my author website and Facebook page turned out to be fun. Now, when I’m asked to provide a short biography or share information about my work, instead of being filled with uncertainty and dread, I take a look at my brand statement and go from there.
So, if you’ve been writing for a while, and you’re thinking about author branding, I encourage you to take the leap! Buy a book. Sign up for a course. Invest some time in defining who you are as a writer and how to share that message with the world. Discover and share your writing story!
Tracy Schuldt Helixon is a teacher and author who seeks out creativity and good in the world and can't stop smiling each time she finds it. Her first picture book, Little Isaac’s Big Adventure (2012), won a Literary Classics International Book Award. Her chapter book, Caleb’s Lighthouse (2017), was described by reviewer Rosi Hollinbeck as “an early middle grade book that is about as sweet as they come.” She is currently working on more children’s stories and a faith-based historical novel inspired by her adventures in Ireland and stories from her Irish American family. Learn more at www.tracyhelixon.com .