Great-Grandpa Patterson’s way of branding in John Day, Oregon

In the old-time twentieth century days of my childhood, branding mostly had to do with livestock. Now it has to do with everything, from the regularly changing labels on consumer goods to the business pursuits of elected officials (shame on them). As a writer in today’s world, I’m expected to brand myself. Ouch!

For me, the most difficult part about writing is making my work known to the public. Why? Because I’d rather be writing. Sadly, books don’t sell themselves and today’s world moves so quickly people want information boiled down to the bare minimum. Hence, the importance of branding.

With two books in publication and one pending the publisher’s acceptance, it’s time for me to succinctly state what it is I write. Or, at least, what I write that’s available for sale. Here it is:

Contemporary fantasy/mythology for grown-ups

Got that?

Just today, a woman I’ve known for years read the back-cover blurb of my most recently published novel, Big-G City (, and said to me, “Whoever thought your mind would work like that?” Whoever, indeed? Obviously my mild-mannered exterior doesn’t match my plot lines. Talk about a branding problem! Maybe it’s time to develop an author costume, to play dress-up as I did for a decade-plus of performing cowboy music. I could wear a toga to book events, maybe cultivate a couple of close-magic tricks to make me easier to associate with the immortals I write about.  Almost all of them have great hair, so I’d need a really good wig, too.

But wait, what if a publisher buys my western historical novel? Shoot, then I’ll have to start all over again. What do I write? Here it is:

A coming-of-age story reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie with a touch of Jane Eyre

 Hmmm. Better keep that cowgirl outfit handy.

Let’s not even talk about the short stories. Okay, let’s. The three I’m submitting to publishers now cover near-Apocalyptic America in 2041, a modern-day vampire with a messy love-life and a man who covets a certain house and pays for it with his. . .well, let’s not give it away. If these stories were collected under one cover and titled The Stuff in My Closet I might find an angle.

Branding. It’s complicated. Hey, wait a minute! What do I write? Here it is:

It’s complicated

Thanks to the readers, editors, publishers, book store owners and librarians who promote and read my work. And if you have any hot ideas about branding, let me know.

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