In Which I Discuss My Brand

There’s so much talk out there these days for authors to have a brand. At first I thought that sounded painful—I mean, I’ve seen enough westerns to know that branding involves hot spiky things and lots of mooing—but then I realized that it didn’t mean a physical brand. But I’m still convinced it would involve a lot of pain and probably some mooing.

So, to get with the program, I learned the writer jargon-of-the-day and put the word “platform” on the back burner for now, despite the fact that I was convinced that standing on an author platform might at least make me a little taller and easier to see.

I’m always one step behind the changing lingo of being a writer. It’s bad enough that my work as a proofreader means buying new dictionaries like some people buy new iPhones. But somehow this author lingo never makes it into my new dictionaries fast enough for me to keep up with it. So I have to learn new words and catch phrases just like the little people do.

And I don’t like it. I mean, I don’t mind learning that “Google” is now a verb or that “anymore” is now one word or that the serial comma is a source of small civil war skirmishes in 27 states, but that’s because I get paid to learn that stuff. It seems a bit annoying at times to learn that “Ground Zero” means something entirely different now than it did when “Weird Al” Yankovic wrote his Christmas classic, “Christmas at Ground Zero,” but I’ve learned to roll with those punches because it goes with the territory of being a good proofreader.

Somehow, though, I feel a smidge of personal offense that the powers that be (and who be they, exactly? and are they elected officials we can impeach?) have secret meetings every year or so to change the current word for … well … for “brand” or “platform” or whatever it was before “brand” and “platform.”  Just when I get used to the idea of needing a platform, I discover I’m too late and I need to ditch the platform and have a brand instead. And yet, just as the word “brand” starts to fade to be replaced with something else (within about six months, if I’ve done my math correctly), I’ll realize that I didn’t really get the hang of that either.

Until then, I suppose, I’ll just have to be myself:  a wife, mother, and mostly family-friendly humor writer from western Pennsylvania who yearns to be the next big thing on the bestseller lists. There can’t be more than one of me, can there? A benevolent God wouldn’t allow it.