Hey, you there! Yes, you! Are you a children's author? Do you have a clear, marketable identity as a writer? What do you mean, no? How do you expect to survive in today's marketplace if a fifteen-year-old working in Tesco doesn't know where to shelve your book? What was that? Alphabetically? Sorry, no-one teaches that at school any more, it's pathetic symphonics all the way nowadays. No, no, you have to have an author brand - you can't get anywhere if you're not in the same eco carrier bag as a pair of Reeboks and a Hello Kitty training bra.
I can see that you need some help. Why not step this way, get out your pen and spend a few minutes finding out exactly what kind of brand you are in my Grand Brand Exam. And no cheating by peeking at James Patterson's answers on the next desk.
Question 1 - Brand Identity
Authors should define a brand identity that represents their fundamental core values and communicates that concisely to their customers. When you have an idea for a new book, do you:
A) Consider whether that idea fits your overall brand identity and discard or modify it if it doesn't.
B) Start work on the book in the hope your brand identity can stretch like strawberry Hubba Bubba to contain it.
C) Write five books in different genres simultaneously and hope that someone, somewhere will be desperate enough to publish one of them.
Question 2 - Brand Awareness
If I was to say your name to a group of children in the street, would they:
A) Nod enthusiastically and compose an impromptu rap summarising the plot of your last three books (except with more swearing).
B) Shake their heads sadly and attempt to steal my clipboard.
C) Have me arrested.
Question 3 - Brand Loyalty
In a bookshop, a child who has previously enjoyed your work is offered two novels, one written by you and the other written by a different (clearly inferior) author. Both have suspiciously similar covers and the inferior author's has a sticker on it reading "as good as [Your Name] or your money back". Does the child:
A) Choose yours even though it is more expensive and not quite as good as the last one you wrote (although you couldn't help that because your publisher was rushing you and you were moving house and Oh My God do you remember the trouble we had with William last year?)
B) Choose the inferior author's with the plan of getting a refund later and buying yours.
C) Reshelve your book in the "Make Your Own Compost" section.
Question 4 - Brand Promise
A child unwraps your book as a birthday gift. Does your author brand immediately promise:
A) An electrifying tale of adventure and self-discovery.
B) A well-written but slightly dull story about grumpy animals.
C) An opportunity to make a generous gift to the school library.
Question 5 - Brand Love
Can your author brand inspire bright-eyed devotion in today's children? When you announce the publication of a new book, do your fans mostly celebrate it via:
A) Facebook and Twitter.
B) Blogging and MySpace.
C) The letters page of the Daily Telegraph.
Pens down! Let's see what kind of brand you are:
Mostly As - You are young, hip and relevant - well known (if not infamous) across the nation. You are Russell Brand.
Mostly Bs - You are not that well known yet but have enthusiasm and a good platform to build on. You are Katy Brand.
Mostly Cs - Your work is solid, clever, respected by your peers and more-or-less unknown to anyone under the age of 20. You are Jo Brand.