Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Nosce te Ipsum"

by Danielle Jackson

For those of you who were at the RWA national conference this year, you might have noticed that I, your little publicist, have a tattoo going across my ankle that reads “Nosce te Ipsum,” which is Latin for “Know Thyself,” and has been attributed to may notable scholars, including Socrates… I got it when I was 22, and it was around that time when I really felt like I was getting a grasp on the adult I’m still growing up to be, so I decided to give myself a permanent reminder!

Anyway, I thought about this the other day when I was trying to think about what to write for this blog. It’s incredibly important, even if you change genres, or your books aren’t in a series, to know who you are as a writer—and this might be something that takes some time to figure out. Nonetheless, one thing should remain consistent as you create your brand: you! I know it sounds all funny and existential and thought provoking, but I think if you are comfortable with who you are as a writer, and you LOVE what you write (even when the critics/reviewers don’t), it really shows through in your promotion. Guest blogs, interview, radio etc.: people can tell when you’re frustrated (and not just the nerdy English majors that like to analyze every phrase no matter what… not that I do that or anything…wink!), or when something just isn’t right about how you are conveying your message. Remember—you wrote your books and wanted to get published to share your books for a reason—now tell everyone about that and don’t be shy (I won’t accept that as an excuse anymore!).

At the Sourcebooks Spotlight at RWA, we talked for a LONG time about what we do on our end, from Dominique’s company-wide vision, to my marketing and promotional ideas, to Deb’s submissions and editorial process… remember that none of those things (that sounded way impressive, if I do say so myself) would be possible without you all: the authors of the books we want to share with everyone just as much as you wanted to write and get published and see on bookshelves!

I’m writing this post because in September there are quite a few authors (upwards of 10) I’m working with on blog tours/events/etc. (some on this blog, some not). As you start writing those blogs, remember: “Nosce te Ipsum.” Really think about what message you want to convey while talking about your books. Because when you are comfortable with yourself, you are not only more comfortable talking about your book and brand with other people, but you’re likely to have more fun—and that shows through each word!

Per usual, I’m away this weekend, but I’ll do my best to try to check in!


  1. I loved your post, Danielle!!! Yes, I sooo agree! I write in several different genres, but I LOVE them all. I also love to read all kinds of different genres. So to me, I'm an eclectic reader and writer. Trying to brand when you write in different genres can be difficult...hmmm, so "Giving new meaning to the term alpha male" I think sums my writing up! :)

  2. Wow, very timely and thought-provoking post!

    What is MY brand? I write character- centred historical romances that always have some kind of mystery at the heart of them.

    Great post, Danielle!

  3. I was wondering about that tat! Love this post, Danielle. Reminds me what I need to focus on when doing the promotion amid the rest of the chaos.

    Have a great wkend!

  4. Great post, Danielle, and a fantastic point.

  5. Tattoo, Danielle? What tattoo?!? All I saw was your sweet, smiling face!

    I do believe if we don't brand ourselves other people will do it for us--and we may not like what they come up with.


  6. GREAT post, Danielle!

    And GREAT minds, because I'm blogging about branding today over on Romance Bandits. As one of those September authors who will be on a whirlwind blog tour, I appreciate your advice and any suggestions on possible blog posts. It can be a real challenge to come up with so many different posts so many days in a row, but we owe it to our readers to give them something fresh and fun.


  7. Danielle, I can say that the Sourcebooks Spotlight was very impressive. I believe many of the writers in attendance, some of whom I spoke with, came away with a sense of empowerment and desire to belong to what Dominique has envisioned, and with the success that you and Deb are a part of.

    I recently blogged about finally finding confidence in myself and not only as a writer, but as a person. Now I just need to find that brand.

  8. Hey everyone--a quick check in: thanks for all of your comments! I thought this would be a good idea to get the beginning of what will be a GREAT fall 2009 season underway. A phrase that has become synonymous with Sourcebooks in recent years: "we publish authors, not books." And for us, the Casa-fic line, this has become not only a selling point, but also a guaranteed way to help you all in your careers as writers. I'm glad to get things started--I know you all will be great!

  9. I went to my first ever RWA event at our local chapter today, and on the takeaway sheet was the advice to know who you are as a writer... Maybe there's a message I should be listening to here...

    btw, Judi. The presenter mentioned how you wore sea colors and how effectively it promoted your book. It was kind of cool to think I know who she's talking about.

  10. Thanks Danielle. I am one of those authors heading into the Sept. launch season and I have been giving this topic a great deal of thought. Our discussion while at Nationals cemented my thoughts and now you have done it again!

    At dinner we brainstormed our taglines. That was something I hadn't given much thought to. Thinking about my brand and how that would translate into a tagline was so helpful.

    Me? "Happily ever after comes true" is my tagline. And my brand is writing strong historical fiction with the romance taken beyond the final kiss to the reality of married life.

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