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Becoming Someone Blog Tour

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Branding, Bios and Author Multiple-identity Disorder
by Anne Goodwin

If there’s one consistent message about managing our author platforms, it’s that consistency rules. After all, if consumers need to be exposed to a product around seven times before they commit to making a purchase, only a fool would reduce the odds of being noticed by presenting their product in potentially contradictory ways. Friends, I am that self-sabotaging fool.

While I deeply admire those who can sum up what you stand for in an attractive image and roll-off-the-tongue strap line, there’s a part of me wailing How on earth can you know? Doesn’t your sense of who you are alter, like mine, with the seasons? Don’t you behave differently depending on who’s with you and where you are?

I do appreciate that we can’t dither indefinitely; that we have to make choices if we’re not to stagnate. I accept there’s no brand loyalty without brand recognition. Hell, thanks to Charli, I even accept I have a brand. But I have to develop it at my own pace.

I’ve come a long way since I balked at putting my mugshot on my website. I’ve come a long way since my first published stories were followed by the bio-that-never-was:

Anne Goodwin loves fiction for the freedom to contradict herself and hates bios for fear of getting it wrong. 

Although a certain self-deprecating humour has become part of my brand – risky because what amuses one person turns another right off – the sentiment of that non-bio still holds true. I do like to contradict myself and fear commitment to a form of words that were right for me yesterday but a poor fit today.

But my shape-shifting author identity might be frustrating for others, as I was reminded recently when someone kindly sent through the version of my bio she planned to use in a post that mentioned me. Horror of horrors, it was the bio that accompanies my debut novel, and thus three and a half years out of date. Yet it wasn’t so much that the older version deprives me of the opportunity to crow about more recent accomplishments, but the slant of the summary was wrong. I don’t know if others do this but, in addition to my short-and-sweet Twitter biography, and the let-me-tell-you-everything about page on my website, I’ve composed a completely new bio for each of my published books.

Why, Anne, why? Because each novel draws on a different part of me: I thought readers of my debut, Sugar and Snails, narrated by a psychology lecturer at Newcastle University with a close friend teaching in the mathematics department across the road, might like to know that I studied those subjects at that same institution myself. But that’s irrelevant to people picking up my second novel, Underneath, who might be more interested to learn that, like Steve, my narrator, I used to like to travel and that, like Liesel, his partner, I worked in mental health services in the region where the story is set. If and when my possibly third novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is published, I’ll probably mention that, like Janice, one of three point-of-view characters, I had a role in the longstay psychiatric hospital closures of the 1980s and 1990s.

With my forthcoming short story collection, Becoming Someone, I have a freshly-minted bio all over again. As the anthology is on the theme of identity and self-discovery, it felt right to include some of the quirkier aspects of my own identity in the bio:

Alongside her identity as a writer, she’ll admit to being a sociable introvert; recovering psychologist; voracious reader; slug slayer; struggling soprano; and tramper of moors.

We all have multiple identities to accompany our different responsibilities and roles. But I’m still unsure how much my multi-author biographies represent flexibility and diversity versus disorder and lack of focus. What do you think?

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, was published in 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity launches on Facebook on November 23rd, 2018, where the more people participate the more she’ll donate to Book Aid International. A former clinical psychologist, Anne is also a book blogger with a particular interest in fictional therapists.

Website: annegoodwin.weebly.com
Twitter @Annecdotist.

Becoming Someone published 23rd November, 2018 by Inspired Quill
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-908600-77-6 / 9781908600776
eBook ISBN: 978-1-908600-78-3 / 9781908600783
Amazon author page
Author page at Inspired Quill publishers
Facebook launch in support of Book Aid International


47 Comments

  1. calmkate says:

    lol sounds like you collected some of your clients confusion .. but I get it!
    Good luck with it all 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jules says:

    All the best Anne. Continued success with the previous books and with the new one too!

    We have so many facets, as diamonds or opals in the rough. Be what you need to be in every moment as you present the gift of yourself and your writing.

    Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to actually publish a book or two. But I think I’ll be leaving off the photo and certain branding aspects as I like my nom-de-plume and public privacy.

    Cheers, Jules

    Liked by 4 people

    • Annecdotist says:

      That can be a good option for some, Jules. I’m not sure I could manage a whole extra identity however.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Jules, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to be a writer without publishing. Part of the theme, Becoming Someone is that we can each become who we are without having to give up our personal parameters of privacy. I also think that by embracing professionalism we can develop a professional brand as a writer — like a fire captain who might be a private person but has to speak to the public on behalf of her department.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Charli Mills says:

    Anne, I’m looking forward to this book, more and more as you blog about its theme. And yes — consistency rules branding. Yet, I do think, brands can evolve and grow as people do. Authenticity matters to both. Your bios have all rang true. Good luck with the launch and I’ll catch you on FB!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I always love reading about Anne. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Happy Travails

    “Pal, I am plumb wore out.”
    “Where ya been?”
    “Wandered over ta Twitter an’ got caught up in a blog tour.”
    “A what?”
    “Blog tour. Been followin’ Anne Goodwin aroun’.”
    “Kid, you won’t never be able ta keep up with the Ranger.”
    “I kin see that Pal. She cuts a wide swath at a brisk pace. Sets the bar high.”
    “Trick fer you Kid might be ta stay outta bars.”
    “Pal, I’m tellin’ ya, I was trailin’ the Ranger. So what’s goin’ on?”
    “Ranger’s no stranger ta the ranch. Ya kin wish her well right here.”
    “Dang! Well done!”

    *And Pal explained ta Kid how ya never have ta leave the Ranch, even ta buy the Ranger’s books ’cause they’s featured here. But Kid figgered that travelin’ is educatin’ and returned ta the Ranch with an even healthier respect fer the Ranger.*

    Liked by 2 people

    • Annecdotist says:

      Thank you so much – lovely surprise to get my own Pal and Kid story.
      And a very generous to follow me around the blogosphere. I have a big grin on my face right now.
      PS. I do walk fast, but you’d easily overtake me on your motorbike

      Liked by 3 people

      • You have the dubious honor of having a nickname with these two yahoos. I don’t know if you deserve it, but you’ve certainly earned it. What a marathon of posting and promoting! (You must surely be rich as well as famous by now)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Annecdotist says:

        It’s a genuine honour, although I wouldn’t qualify as a Ranger in the US. We have very little wilderness here, and none where I patrol, and no need to bear arms as there are no bears – although some of our mad cattle and deer have been known to trample humans who get too close, and adders can kill a dog with their bite.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Huh. I thought it was “bare” arms. (hence the t-shirts) Also yer disarming smile obviously keeps bears away. Yep, yer the Ranger, ranging far an’ wide and deep within as you become a stronger and stronger writer.
        I’d admit ta bein’ intimidated an’ outclassed but Shorty’d say ta jist set my own horse an’ become myself. Where’d that ornery little pony run off ta, anyway?
        Look out fer adders, Ranger!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Annecdotist says:

        Always excited to see adders, but won’t expect them for a few months now.

        Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ranger is appropriate for a tramper of moors as it’s her wild west equivalent! Great yarn, glad to see Kid caught up in the blog tour.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Arrrrghh…bios. That’s all I can say. I change them slightly as the need comes up, it seems. How to tell anyone that might like to know what you’re about in as few words as possible? Thanks for another great post, Anne, about a subject I more than relate to!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Norah says:

    I think any bio should include the word ‘becoming’. How can a bio remain consistent when we are constantly changing, growing and becoming? A brand may remain consistent while the bio itself changes. I’m never happy with my bio. I love the quirky ones, like your new one, but I don’t have what it takes. I think I’m pretty consistent with my brand though, as are you – I always know what to expect from your writing – enjoyment. Best wishes for success with this new publication!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Loved this post Anne. I couldn’t agree with you more – our identities are constantly changing and not only over time but depending on whom you are with. I find identity a fascinating subject and I know we have had some discussions on it in the past. I’m looking forward to reading this and will let you know what I think when I have finished. The professor that supervised me for my masters made a point that for every piece of writing done you should do a new bio and that bio should focus on what might interest readers who will differ from piece to piece. I think you are doing exactly the right thing. Does it matter if you are becoming a bit hodge podge? Personally each of your posts delights me more as time goes on.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Annecdotist says:

      Thank you, Irene, and I’m grateful for our debates about memoir and identity. But I feel more confident in my hodgepodge now you’ve told me your professor recommends it. But it strikes me it’s similar to responding to blog comments: you might be saying almost the same thing to each person but a cut-and-paste never quite works. There’s always a slightly different nuance for each.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      A memoirist and fictionist both concern themselves with identity and I enjoy the discussions you’ve had in how they are similar and different. I’m not sure I’d change a bio with each piece but certainly take into consideration the publication. When I freelanced, I wrote within certain niches and my bio reflected that. In fact, I had about five different bios for different venues of my writing in a spreadsheet at the height of freelancing. But had I changed it for every piece there would have been hundreds! But I think Anne is on the right path with her bio evolutions.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Annecdotist says:

    Charli, thanks for hosting and to everyone for the supportive comments. If anyone was considering buying a digital version of Becoming Someone, I wanted to alert you to the fact that there’s been a technical hitch with the link to the e-book on Amazon. We hope this will be fixed soon but, in the meantime, it’s available it at the same format and price through the publishers here:
    http://www.inspired-quill.com/product/becoming-someone-kindle-ebook/

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoyed learning more about Anne, Charli. I think the idea of writing a new bio for each book you publish is fascinating. Until recently, I use the same bio for all my books as none of my stories have anything to do with me as a person. I created a new one when I started my new blog with my adult supernatural writing so that it would cover both aspects of my writing.

    Liked by 3 people

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