“I” am my brand
One of my critique partners said something today that got me thinking about blogging.
Blogging is hard-
I thought about her words and smiled. It sure as hell is!
What I said to my cp made me think even more about my early days on Blogspot after I had submitted my first manuscript (MS) in 2005.
When I first started blogging I thought I had to be like everyone else to get noticed. Blog craft, my writing, nothing personal (for seemingly obvious reasons) and maybe invite an author or two in when my brain froze.
The problem I ran into with this formula was that I was just learning what ‘craft’ even meant as a new writer and my own writing? Didn’t exist yet. Not only that, I didn’t know any authors to invite as guests on my blog. Brain freeze meant no posts for months on end.
I don’t remember just how I found it, or who said it- but (on someone’s blog) I read something that forever changed my way and style of blogging. It was by either an agent or editor and said they want to read a little personal stuff and a variety of blog topics because that was how they got to know some authors they were interested in. Really?? That shocked me. You see- back in those early days I pictured editors/agents inside a bubble, untouchable, certainly above writers and unreachable. To think those illustrious ‘beings’ actually might read MY blog! I doubted it to some extent. They don’t have the time (well, maybe if I was Ms. Nora or Brenda Novak…)- but for someone like me? Not likely.
Still, that blog crept in and changed the way I blog. Okay, let’s assume Angela James/Diedre Knight is reading my blog. What would it tell them about me? Well, for starters, they can check out “My complete profile” since isn’t that what it’s there for? Then what? Does it really tell anyone who I am? No. It’s the internet and I’m not stupid! I have a husband and family to consider before handing my life to a stalker on a silver platter. Right- I don’t have any stalkers to worry about. But I have three daughters just the same; and each of them have little daughters. Am I willing to take a chance with their security for the sake of my NYT status (that may or may not happen in the next 50 years)? Is it big-head syndrome that I don’t put my everything about me out there in cyberland? (Full of myself that I’m all that?) Not at all. It’s common sense. Yes, I live in Oklahoma, USA- along with an estimated 3,751,351 other people as of the 2010 census (Wikipedia). I live in a remote area south of Oklahoma City… have you ever BEEN to Oklahoma? It’s 82.7% * remote to some degree…everywhere!
So how do I tell them about me without putting my life out there?
I share a touch of me/my life and not always craft/guests. I had my RWA chapter Christmas party this last Saturday and had some red wine and LOTS of chocolate and crack! Now what editor doesn’t want to know their prospective authors are crack addicts? LOL Well, I blame my critique partner, and fellow author, Callie Hutton for that addiction. She brought the most scrumptious Christmas candy to that party! Yep- candy. Crack- because you crack it into pieces and eat it! But now you know a little about me. I have a (strange?) sense of humor, enjoy a little wine and chocolate (a normal romance writer).
I write under a pen name. That was a personal choice. My husband has a large family and I don’t want to cause any of them discomfort through my writing. I have a lot of friends through church who know me by my real name. I don’t want them to feel compromised by my writing if they don’t approve. It’s not erotic, but they might consider it close enough. I don’t know.
I write romance. I’m proud of it, passionate about it.
Does that make me less of a Christian? Do I love God less because I embrace love intimately? Am I less of a person? I don’t believe so or I wouldn’t write it, but I don’t want to upset those who might feel differently. Do I care too much about what others think? Maybe. It’s a part of who I am.
Here’s something you might not know about me: I am an editor, a romance book editor for epublisher Still Moments Publishing. I intimidate myself now! I’m in that once-thought-of elusive bubble while trying to get to me from the outside as an author! Lol But over the last few years I’ve realized editors (and agents) are often struggling writers just like you and I. Editing doesn’t give them any special power over authors. In fact- it’s a very intense feeling to know I might hold another writer’s career in my hands! It is not liberating at all to be on that other side of the bubble. It’s scary as hell. But more on that later.
But, you never know when I will talk about craft or art. Music, inspiration or what my granddaughters did over the weekend. It’s my blog- why shouldn’t I talk about me? What’s important to me. Who I am. Not just for editor/agents- but for you…the reader. Why shouldn’t you know who you might or might not read books by? I saw an article about Nora Roberts last week and I inhaled it as a reader, a fan. I had no idea she lived in a small southern town, was a good ole’ southern gal like myself! Now I do. What does it do for me? Not a damn thing but know she’s doesn’t live up on that golden pedestal she’s often stored on (yes, by me, too). Wow- she bleeds red just like my hubby does (proof neither are aliens but are, somewhat, similar to me and you). Oh- and it helps me understand why so many of her stories are set in similar settings. Like you and I have been told over and over to do- she writes what she knows.
So, I have begun over the last few months to keep guests to Tuesdays (though during my blog tour those visitors are all over the place) and talk about what I want. What brands me as an author. My posts don’t fall on a particular day of the week- other than guest Tuesdays. I might think of something today and post it even though I might have a scheduled post tomorrow. I almost did that Friday, and then realized I had a guest on!
Most of all I try to brand myself through my blog. I write sensual contemporary, mostly but not all, cowboys. I have begun to venture into more steamier paranormal as I get more comfortable in my writer’s skin and my own ability as a writer. That is just part of who I am, though. My brand has to include who I am as a person. I’m a little shy still, a lot insecure and passionate about my art, writing. That’s my brand. That’s who I am.
I am author of HOME, coming December 28th from The Wild Rose Press. I am Cherokee/Irish/French. I am an over-forty grandmother. I favorite colors are dark red and dark green. I am romance writer Calisa Rhose.
Happy Holidays my friends!
Dodadagohvi~*non researched number I threw out for the sake of making a point