The Super Secret Sacred Words and our Fearless Leader
Posted by Jen Talty
People ask me all the time how old my children are and I reply with a proud smile, “I have a 91, a 93 and 97.” Everyone reading this post who has a child who has played or does play hockey is rolling on the floor laughing hysterically because they get it. They also understand that my nearly new SUV has more miles than the average 1966 Chevy owner. Seriously. Of course there is the advice I give my boys every time they leave for the big game, “make mama proud and hit someone.” Yes. I really say that. $20 bucks goes to the first Talty who “drops” someone. For those of you who have hockey players or follow the sport, this all makes perfect sense, for the rest of you it’s a foreign language.
All of the above is what is known in the “branding” world as SACRED WORDS. Sacred words are simply terminology that helps people feel as though they belong, and we all want to feel like we a part of something.
Sacred words are important because they are created out of communication with your readers and in such a way that makes them feel as though they are part of a special little world. When Bob and Jenny Crusie did the He Wrote/She Wrote blog their fans (the Cherrybombs) took a hold of things that Bob and Jenny said and made their own little language consisting of living the dream, we’re all doomed, nothing but good times ahead, and whose turn is it to watch moot?
Bob and I use things like: many roads to Oz, content is king, know the rules, break the rules, write it forward, lead follow or get out of the way, writers create the product, readers consume the product, readers rule, and of course Bob has been abducted by aliens 14 times and knows exactly what that mothership looks like.
Scared words are simply sayings we use over and over again that when people hear them they think back to us, or our books, or our blog, or whatever it is we are working on branding. These words or phrases should happen organically and not forced on our readership, but they are things we need to think about because they support our Creed: the singular notion we want people to think and feel.
Everything about Branding I’ve talked about so far (Creation Story, Creed, Icon, Rituals, Pagans, Sacred Words) are meant to be used as a looking glass into the connection between you and your readers. Remember, we writers produce the product and readers consume the product. That is a relationship and every relationship has a beginning (creation), a special meaning (creed), a symbol that connects them (icon), a set of interactions (the rituals), the people who don’t like your books (pagans) and a set of words or sayings that bind you together (sacred words).
And then there is the LEADER. A leader is a visionary. A leader has the ability to make tough choices and do what is best in the long run. A leader is good with big picture and projects out, but also has the ability to make adjustments when the big picture shifts. A good leader listens to the people he/she works with. Not everyone is built to be a leader. I always joke with my husband that I’m really, really good at being the support vehicle. The one that takes the visionaries plan and implements it. The joke is I take direction well, but at the same time, taking direction well is a good quality.
In your own branding plan YOU are the leader. In your network of followers YOU are the leader and it is important to exercise good leadership. This comes at the reader level and also at a professional level. Bob mentioned in his last post that no one is going to care as much about your book as you, and for the most part I agree totally, except YOUR readers care and any one else you bring on your team. Readers are a big part of your team and if we go back to the very first post I did on branding I talked about the promise you make to your reader. That promise is a trust and a bond.
Branding isn’t about marketing as much as it is about understanding yourself and finding that comfortable place where you belong…with others. This entire series is meant to show you how we as humans connect with others and build communities. Understanding that dynamic will help you develop a real reader/author community.
The 7 parts of primal branding are important and I truly believe it is important for every author to really examine each part. The creation story is who we are and from that everything else is built. It will change and grow over time, because we change and grow.
What are you doing to make that connection with your readers? And just for fun, what are your personal sacred words?
I’ll start. One of my sacred words/sayings that I use in my circle of friends all the time is: write ugly, it’s beautiful.
About Jen TaltyPublishing Consultant, Author of Romantic Suspense and Co-Creator of Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer.
Posted on May 4, 2012, in Author Branding and tagged author marketing, Bob Mayer, Branding, Cool Gus Publishing, Jen Talty, Jenny Crusie, Primalbrandimg, Write It Forward. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.