The Big 3

by +AneMulligan  @AneMulligan

Voice
… Brand … Platform … Yikes!
Each
of these is something a writer must discover or develop. They have nothing to
do with the mechanics of our craft, yet everything to do with getting
published.


Platform
takes time and development. It equates to how wide your circle of influence
is—or how many books you can sell. There are tons of great articles out there
on platform, so I’ll leave it to them. I want to talk about voice and brands.

Voice
means when someone picks up a book, whose cover was torn off ages ago, and
looks at the first page can say, “Oh, this is a Gina Holmes novel.”
Why? Because of voice. The way she turns a sentence. The way she strings words
together. The sound.

When
I read Les Edgerton’s book Finding Your
Voice
, he says look to your old letters. Friends of mine told me my
Christmas letters were the only ones they read, because I waxed humorous over
all the year’s happenings. And Edgerton says that’s where you’ll find your
voice.
Sandra D. Bricker says in an interview in CFOM:
“When an editor at Summerside Press asked me to help launch their Love Finds You line by writing something
“light and funny” for them, I wondered why they thought of me. After all,
everything I’d submitted to them had been serious. It turned out that they’d
found my emails amusing and quickly spotted
what it took me a while longer to figure out: looking at the world through a
sideways, funny spin is who God created me to be.”
The same can
be said for brand. Not always, but often someone else will notice your brand
before you do. I know Brandilyn Collins’s brand wasn’t developed from her
emails, or no one would ever answer her. Yet, everyone knows what to expect in
a Brandilyn Collins book.
I wasn’t even looking for my brand, when
during an ACFW Southeast Zone loop discussion, Rose McCauley branded me from my
emails with “Southern-fried fiction.” She was right. It describes
what I write … Southern towns and Southern people with a little deep-fried humor.
When Pam Meyers was talking about brand with
me one day, I saw what she hadn’t noticed: the commonality in all her stories
is a sentimental journey. 

So, don’t try to brand yourself until you’ve
got a few completed manuscripts or even published books. Then talk to your crit
partners about their commonality.

Ane Mulligan writes
Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She’s a novelist, a humor columnist, and a multi-published
playwright. President of the award-winning literary
site, Novel Rocket, she resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband, their
chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival, released Sept, 2014.  “With a friend like Claire, you need a
gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.” Following will be Chapel Springs
Survival
, Oct 2015,
Home to Chapel Springs, May 2016. You can find Ane at her website, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+