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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday, 21 March 2016

What's your brand?

I recently spent a terrific day out in Brighton at the first Beach Hut Writing Academy's Write by the Beach event. The sun shone and the event was hosted in a gorgeous Regency building, Angel House,
on the promenade. Sometimes it's good to escape the writing cave and spend a day with other human beings, if they're also writers and you can learn stuff then all the better. One of the recurring themes that came up in several talks was branding.
The first speaker was the excellent Simon Toyne, energetic and enthused he certainly woke us up. Simon is a bestselling Brighton author (read more here) who knows the value of great storytelling. He believes every writer should ask: what is your brand? This is partly knowing your genre, but also your point of difference - your unique skill and experience to tell your story. I never dreamed that Tescos is the biggest volume seller of books. A book's cover is critical to brand recognition in a supermarket outlet.
Brand recognition can be:
A big name author
Cover / Title
The shout or tag line
Blurb inside the flap
First line

Any writer seeking an agent or publisher for their novel knows to prepare an elevator pitch. The snappy couple of lines that will sell your novel. Simon also recommended we have a 'shout line' ready - this suggests the story but doesn't tell it. Ask a question which the reader has to read the book to learn the answer, keep it short and simple. His example came from the first book of his new series: Solomon Creed.

How do you save someone who is already dead?
I went with Wendy Clarke and met several of her RNA writing chums - all very friendly and keen to talk about writing projects. But when asked 'what do you write?' I stumbled and mumbled, staring at my feet. Why? Because I couldn't immediately settle on an answer. I don't write romantic fiction, so can't call myself a romance writer. OK, but what could I call myself, what is my brand? I have several projects in progress: subbing an upmarket fiction novel to agents/publishers, writing a second novel (crime), writing literary short stories and collating a short story collection and also collaborating with a poet/illustrator friend to create a children's picture book (fairy tale). I settled on answering with: literary fiction ... this can kill a conversation dead, but thankfully I was still welcomed and nobody ran for the exit.
So, I need to work on my branding or at least be clear of my brand for a particular event or audience.
Do you think a writer needs branding? What's your brand? Or do you have several?

Monday, 14 March 2016

One down for Operation Agent

Operation Agent is a success ... my good friend and writing buddy, Wendy Clarke, recently announced the fabulous news that she has signed with literary agent, Eve White, of Eve White Literary Agency, which makes it seem doubly real.
Finding an agent was one of Wendy's ambitions for 2016 so she's well on the way to having a very successful year. Her profile is now up on Eve's website here.

As you can LitPig is pretty chuffed about Wendy's news (I've always thought he has a little piggy crush on our Wendy) and is ready to celebrate in style. Please raise a glass to my talented friend. Her success is well deserved and there can only be more to come ... which happily means even more opportunities to celebrate!

You can also read Wendy's inspirational blog post (here) about how one of her writing dreams came true when she found her agent.