What does your personal brand have in common with the Department of Defense? Success in battle begins in the mind, so does the art of relationships. In a previous post we talked about the importance of relationships. This week, we'll stick to a few gems of advice the DoD has dolled out over the years.
"Loose Lips Sink Ships"
The gem from World War II is a mantra you should remember every time you walk into public. While most writers are not in possession of state secrets, the stuff that tumbles from your lips could sink your career no matter to what stage you have progressed. Never, ever, bad mouth anyone. It doesn't matter if Mr. B.Affoon enrages you to the point of eye twitching. Swallow the tirade burning the back of your throat. Politely excuse yourself and diffuse in private. Similarly, if the gaggle with whom you are relaxing in the bar begins sniping about an agent, editor, artist, etc., get them to change the topic or remove yourself from the toxic scene. You never know who is listening, who is watching, or who has what kind of relationships with whomever. The only thing of which you can be certain is that rumor-rang will come back and sink your ship.
"In God We Trust: All Others We Monitor"
Yes, it is a reconnaissance motto. Only a fool marches into an engagement blind. Conferences are engagements. Attending a conference without doing your research is a poor reflection on your Personal Brand because it leads to the egregious foot-n-mouth disease. Most conferences publish lists of established authors, agents, and editors attending before the event. This is time for recon. Visit the author/agent/editor/publisher blog/Web site/Twitter feed/etc. Learn their lines of interest. What do they rep, what do they publish, from what do they flee? Note the ones who represent your genre. Now you have identified your targets. Now you know who to monitor. (Though, please, let them use the bathroom in peace. Writers are not part of a clandestine service.)
"Can't Stop. Won't Stop. Airborne."
You don't have to jump from a perfectly good airplane to promote your personal brand, but you must persevere. Rejections, changing markets, bad reviews, lackluster sales...there are many ways a writer takes fire. It starts before publication and continues long after a book has finished its print run. It is part of the beauty and the burden of producing a lasting product. Every successful author will tell you: Don't stop writing. Keep honing your craft. Airborne.
What other DoD/military sayings leap to your mind when thinking of your Personal Brand? Share them in the Comments section below.