Friday 2 September 2016

Help! I don’t know my brand!

Branding. Eight letters that, apparently, can make or break a writing career.

I’m now 3.5 years into my ‘serious’ writing journey (there was a decade of random scribbling before that), and as I decided what to write and how to market, ‘branding’ was something that frustrated me continually.

Why? Because I didn’t know what I wanted to be.

Are you lost in the world of branding and marketing?

Here’s how the journey went:
  •  In my first year, I wrote an issue-driven novel with romantic and speculative themes.
  •  In my second year, I wrote what I thought was a romance (later found out it was actually issue-driven too).
  •  In my third year, I second drafted that romance into (what I thought was) a romantic comedy. Turns out it’s actually ‘issue-driven contemporary fiction with romantic subplots and a humorous tone’. Yeah, try explaining that when people ask ‘What do you write?’

Meanwhile, I wrote a blog about God and personal growth, and those themes of identity and God’s love came through as the ‘issues’ in my fiction.

I was very aware of marketing, and always frustrated that I could never nail down what I wanted to my brand to be. I read blogs, filled out questionnaires, analysed patterns in my previous writing, and still, could never nail it down. Because I simply didn’t know.

And you know what?

It’s okay to not know your brand.

That’s right. If you’re in the same boat as me, take a deep breath and chill for a moment.

Just take a minute to breathe. 

Don’t get me wrong, branding is still vitally important—especially if you’re at the stage where you’re actually published. You need a consistent brand so that your readers know what they’re getting.

But if you’re not there yet, it just means you need more time.

I’ve used the last 3.5 years to learn my craft and get to know myself better. I’ve received feedback from writing professionals. I’ve learned life lessons and grown in my relationship with God. And, finally, I’m at a stage where I mostly know what it is that I want to write. My current tagline is ‘light and love in a messy world’. But that’s always up for change.

So if you’re confused about branding, don’t stress. Give yourself time. Be observant. And be ready for the epiphany when it comes.

What about you? How long did it take to figure out your brand? What is your brand? Share in the comments below!

Jessica Everingham is a 25 year-old Australian writer. She prefers the term writer because it’s too hard to say ‘journalist, online training developer and author’ in one sentence.

Her unpublished novel Hating Jeremy Walters was a finalist in the 2015 Frasier Contest, run by My Book Therapy, and runner-up in the 2015 Australasian Christian Writers Contemporary Romance Contest.

She loves connecting with readers and writers via Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her blog.


  1. Yes, this can tricky, Jessica. It was relatively easy for me, I write about spiritual warfare with angels and demons being significant characters so to pigeon-hole myself as speculative was straightforward.

    I'm curious about your emphasis of "issue-driven" … I would hope (I'm revealing my own bias) most christian fiction carry themes that could be regarded as issue-driven. I know a lot don't as the spiritual theme can be quite subtle. I love that your grappling with such in your stories. I've just read an outstanding novel that was very focused on "identity" and the publisher grouped it under "general'. Huh, great catch all.

    BTW, I like "light and love in a messy world" - I'm keen to read your work.

    1. Thanks! The 'light and love in a messy world' has multiple meanings, referring to both God's light and love, and also the humorous tone and romantic subplots in my contemporary fiction. The issues are usually around identity, conflict in family or church, and forgiveness.
      What about your writing? Where can we check that out?

  2. Great post. I write books for kids, as well as working on some novels for grown ups, short stories, and non-fiction. I have no idea what my brand is.... I think I really need more time to figure it out!

    1. Wow! You're multi-talented! What about a brand within one there a pattern in your adult novels? You might find you have a unique brand for each different type of writing. But readers between those different things aren't likely to cross over, so that's ok! It just means you have to grow 3 or 4 independent audiences, instead of being able to focus on just one.


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