Branding: Finding The Author’s Angle

At the moment, a couple of projects of mine are merging. I’ve been meaning to update my web log’s back end for ages. It’s at least two version points behind the latest version of Movable Type and the last CSS implementation I applied has some problems, like a crisp-yet-uninspiring colour scheme and fonts everywhere but the articles that are too small to read.

At the same time, I’ve been thinking about how to present myself as an author online. Although I’m yet to complete the first draft of my first book, I’m taking to heart advice from the writers whose blogs I’ve been reading online that it’s never too early to start thinking about just how I want to present myself. I want to start changing the core of my web presence from “online diary of some guy” to “centralised web presence of a talented author working on an awesome story”. I want to start getting people keen on what I’m doing, building an audience ready to buy my book when it hits the market – and then move on to the sequels.

Since I answered Joanna Penn’s author brand questions last week, I’ve been mulling over the eventual form of my web log, which resulted with a light bulb a few days ago.

I’m something of a geek; that goes without saying. I love science fiction, especially big, flashy, in-your-face SF that knows how to have fun. Doctor Who, Tron, Spider Robinson, Halo, Mass Effect, Anne McCaffrey, The Terminator, Predator, Aliens, Scott Sigler, Star Wars, David Gerrold, Macross, Bubblegum Crisis, Battlestar Galactica, Robert A. Heinlien, Ghost In The Shell, Roughnecks, Heavy Gear and, of course, TransFormers. I love the lot. That love is getting distilled into Slamdance, and although I don’t think it’ll be as big or flashy as some of the influences I’ve listed above, I still want it to be big and fun with lots of action and cool toys.

Now, one thing I really like about the presentation of a lot of modern SF works are presented, especially in the media of movies and games, is the amount of extra material you can get. Buy a movie or season of a TV series on DVD (or Blu-Ray) and you can expect to get deleted scenes, audio commentaries, making-of documentaries. Get a collector’s edition of a game and you can probably expect all of the above, plus a concept art book and maybe even a neat statuette.

The Lord of the Rings DVDs were the apotheosis of this, with making-ofs that covered virtually every aspect of production and filming, even to the very silly, incredibly clever things Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan got up to to keep themselves amused during shooting.

I love watching these. I don’t see myself being involved in the making of a movie, TV series or game any time soon, but discovering just how everyone involved in the production of the work I purchased created all the impossibilities on the screen is an entertainment in and of itself.

That’s what I want my online presence to be. I want to talk about what I find fun, both in terms of SF in general and what I’m doing, and open the curtain on how I’m making my own version of the fun I’ve been imbibing since my parents made the fatal mistake of taking me to see Tron those many years ago. Or was it sitting me down in front of the telly for my first ever episode of Doctor Who?

For a while, I had the idea of styling my web presence as a “production company” as a way of hedging my bets in case I write stories in another genre, but I think for the time being I’ll stick with just being me, the author, telling you about what I think is cool so that you know whether what I’m making will be to your taste.

Next week: What do I do about that name of mine?

But Enough About Me, Gentle Readers: What About You?

What kinds of entertainment do you seek out? Are you curious about how they’re produced? If so, how do you like to find out?