Monday, October 18, 2010
Selling More Than Stories
I used to keep my online image purely professional, all about the writing occupation. I feared showing any other side of me, because I'm quite selfish about my personal life. After 25 years in the public's eye, I was more than ready to retreat to the country and write.
But people don't want just your product. Look at celebrities. They might sing, act, or dance well, but the public wants to know more about the person, more than just about the performer. I think this desire translates that customers want to feel comfortable with who they're endorsing, buying from, and helping to support.
There are a zillion writers out there. There are a zillion GOOD writers out there. But you know perfectly well that readers like knowing that Dean Koontz loves labradors and hates interviews. Stephen King plays in a band and has a huge attitude when you address certain subjects. The scoop is that James Patterson doesn't write all his books anymore, and Stieg Larsson's widowed girlfriend of 32 years has been screwed out of all those book royalties by family Larsson disliked.
Good or bad, you have to give readers something more than just a good book. They need to see personality, quirks, vices and honorable traits. That's why branding is so important. That's why a strong online presence is a necessity. You don't have to tell your family history or talk about all your grandkids or estranged husband, but you must be 3-D for people to care about when you're coming out with your next story.