A night with the professional writers of Prescott

Ike Grall

Contributing Writer

Figure out your brand and take it global.

Author Kris Tualla spoke to an audience of about twenty published and unpublished authors in the Founders Suite of the Prescott Public Library on February 22.

“Start with the qualities of characters you like in your own writing, and continually follow them through other books and stories.” This, Tualla maintained, is your branding.

Tualla is a historical Norwegian fiction writer. The characters throughout her novels are members of the same family. Though the time may vary by centuries, the heroes and heroines are always approaching middle age, and the stories are generally tragic. This is her brand. It repeatedly draws the same readers to her work.

She has built new audiences of readers through the globalization of her work, which includes Facebook pages, coffee mugs, character family trees and T-shirts. She said she often wears a T-shirt as a “billboard” with one of the covers of her books printed on the back, and the title on the front.

She stated she became a best-selling international author with the help of these promotional items. Coming from a self-published author, this statement resonated.

The take-away: do something that promotes your brand and what you write.

One audience member, an elderly woman who has been published, asked Tualla to brand her work on the spot. She told Tualla that she has written about contemporary Alaska from a feminine perspective. Tualla suggested: “It takes a real woman.” This short phrase, according to Tualla, is how the woman can “brand her novel as efficiently as possible.”

An elderly gentleman sitting in the back challenged Tualla to also brand his novel. He called it a “futuristic military thriller” that takes on a what-if scenario stemming from modern day American politics. Tualla could not give him a precise answer, and the man seemed perplexed about how branding could help him.

Some members of the audience smiled and engaged with Tualla as she praised herself for knowing the tricks of the trade. Others would cough and sigh without seeming interested in what Tualla was telling them.

Globalizing might not help all writers, but Tualla became a best-seller after catching the attention of a major publishing house.

Her message was very clear though, to young and old alike: “Know what you do, and how to get it to your audience. And drop the ego. You cannot have an ego if you truly want to promote your brand and your writing.”

In a community where there are several dozen young aspiring authors as well as a dozen or so award-winning, published, middle aged writers, there were few young faces in the audience.

The Professional Writers of Prescott is a resource for writers of all ages. They host monthly meetings headlined with writers who have had success even in an age where digital media is the dominant form of entertainment.

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