Posted in Writing advice that may or may not be completely wrong

Tell Me About Myself

I’ve decided to work on my author brand. I don’t really know what that is, but neither does anybody else who works in marketing, so I’m not letting it bother me. I’ve been in this industry long enough to know all I need is some Blue Sky Thinking and I will be able to grab that Low Hanging Fruit for a Quick Win!


Step one of my author brand is coming up with a brand identity. Again, nobody really knows what that means, so I’ve decided it means two things:

  1. An Anna Kaling look.
  2. An Anna Kaling tag line.

I’ve already got a great look going on personally…

Myface Myface2

…so all I need is a digital look across my social media sites (which, FYI, are this blog, @AnnaKaling on Twitter, and my Facebook page).

I’m commissioning a banner/header to use across my sites. At this very moment I have freelance graphic designers wrestling naked in a pit of vipers to see who will emerge victorious. Well, not quite, but they are furiously bidding on my job and I’m paralysed with indecision (they all seem so NICE and their plaintive little faces are staring at me from their profiles 😦 ), so I’m probably going to bankrupt myself hiring all 79 of them and won’t have the cash to renew my domain next year…

I digress. And by the way, I’m adding ‘Create an Author Brand’ to my list of recommended procrastination techniques.

On my banner, I want my name and my tag line. My tag line should summarise my brand in a few words – around five, I’ve decided. Marketing people never quantify anything (it makes it harder to bullshit, and bullshit is our currency) so I’ve pulled that number out of my butt. I wish I didn’t have a butt capable of concealing a whole five.

So, next step – come up with a tag line. Should be simple, right?

Nope. The problem is, I’m British. I highlighted some of the differences between Britain and other English-speaking countries in a previous post, but there was one key cultural difference I didn’t mention: I understand that in the US (and possibly elsewhere), it’s perfectly acceptable to admit that you have some worth and talent in public. Well, I say I “understand,” but I don’t, because the very idea of conducting oneself without self-loathing and self-deprecation is BIZARRE. Very British Problems summaries our attitude perfectly, as usual:


As a result of this embedded culture of competitive modesty, my current best effort at a tag line is:

Romance novels that could be worse.

This has a lot going for it. It’s succinct, it gets across the information that I write romance, it’s factually correct, and I successfully employed the word ‘worse’ instead of ‘worst’, demonstrating that I have reached a basic level of competency in writing. I’m a bit uncomfortable with that, and was tempted to change it to ‘worst’ so I couldn’t be accused of showing off, but I resisted.

On the other hand, I’m not 100% convinced it’s the best tag line for me. I can’t put my finger on why, but it doesn’t quit have the…. spark… I’m looking for.

It also fails to convey that I write contemporary romantic comedies, which I think my tag line ought to do.

My esteemed critique partner (and writer of romances in which heroines buy dozens of whisky-flavoured condoms and heroes keep their kilts on in bed), Lisa Leoni, thinks I should convey the UK setting as well. But the best I came up with following that was United Kingdom, united hearts, united genitals, so I’m not sure she’s the best influence on me.

I turn to you for help, bloggees. Tell me about myself?

Cover image by José Luis Agapito on flickr.



Romance author

20 thoughts on “Tell Me About Myself

  1. Geez you ask hard questions!

    Okay, first the easy bit. I think the fact you write romance should be in there somewhere, which gives us one word: romance, romances, or romantic.

    You should also convey that they’re comedies, but probably by having a funny tagline rather than coming out and saying it. So we’re still only at one word, but it’s wearing a ridiculous hat.

    You might also consider conveying that they’re not holding-hands-and-fade-to-black and contain bad language, because that defines your audience. Bad language is easy. Put in a swear word. And since they’re romances, I like the f word.

    Containing sex. Oh, you can say that.

    Put it all in the blender, add tequila and blend on high for 30 seconds and we get:

    Anna Kaling: Fucking awesome romances, with sex.

    And it has the right number of words! I think I left out the British thing. Here you go:

    Version 2: Fucking okay romances, with sex.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Holy heck, I should be British. I’m a champ at self-shade, and public compliments make me feel awkward as ****.


    * Masturbatory fodder for reasonably intelligent women
    (I added “reasonably” for your UK readers)

    * Finger-banging good romance

    *Come and get your love

    *Portable date night

    *Romance books a great deal less depressing than your actual life… probably

    *Books and dildos will never take half your stuff or betray you

    *Uniting conventionally attractive people and making them bone for your amusement

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m with you on being clueless about making an author brand. Let’s see if I can come up with better taglines for you than I did for myself.

    Doing it with the lights off. It’s better that way.

    Books that’ll knock your knickers off.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “Shockingly unrepentant British RomCom Novelist.”
    “Brit that writes naughty bits.”
    “Romantic comedies slathered with Britishness.”
    “Queen of knickers and titters.”

    Liked by 1 person

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