Challenge,  publishing

Fiction Branding… Part 8

Here We Go….

I have come at fiction branding from a number of different directions in the first seven posts, not counting the “small author name” post.

But as I have said, that is only the basics and most writers can’t even do all the basics of marketing well not from lack of skill but just from lack of being willing to study a little.

So to make this as simple as I can, let me break up fiction branding into three major areas.

  • 1… Marketing (discoverability… what I have been talking about so far)
  • 2… Value (copyright and trademark)
  • 3… Licensing (products and derivative sales)

There is a fourth major area in estates, but I am going to leave that out for now.

So marketing will continue to be part of all this and these three major areas are not walled off from each other. In fact, they all work as a unit if you are doing it correctly.

So let me start into some very basic parts of value of copyright and how copyright is part of trademark and branding creates trademark.

I am going to make the foolish assumption that anyone reading this knows that copyright, trademark, and patent are all intellectual properties under the laws of most of the countries on this planet.

(If you do not understand copyright, we have a class that makes it easy to learn called Bite-Sized Copyright.)

Copyright attaches the moment you put your work in some sort of form. It is protected. (You do not need to register the work for the protection, but there are good reasons to do so.)

Copyright is a PROPERTY and it has value. (Your opinion of it might not mean a thing to its value.) There are a ka-jillion ways to value copyright for things like lawsuits, bankruptcy, asset sales, and estates. Over the years a few standards are starting to shake out, finally.

Now here is where branding comes in… Ready?

The value of the sum of each part is often far, far less than the value of the whole of all the parts held together by branding.

Example… Seven novels in a series. You have done your marketing branding pretty well and the books at least look like they belong together and your author branding is sort of holding it all together. Great. Say (wild hair valuation), because of the sales, and your age, and so on, the value of each book is about $20,000.  (Are you making that? No, but does not matter since your age plus 70 years are factors for the current valuation.)

So your series is worth $140,000. (7 x $20,000.) Great. But take all seven books together and they form a brand which adds value, sometimes double, often a ton more depending on the trademark value of the series.

Use the example I used earlier. My Bryant Street series. About 70 short stories. First story was selling in 1982 and Bryant Street stories have had continuous sales for 42 years under the Bryant Street name. Each short story will have a fairly minor copyright valuation by itself. But together, the 70 stories form a brand and a trademark.

Bryant Street is a decent mark in trademark (maybe someday in a class I will explain that), and I have been making money from the mark for 42 years. I own that trademark. And that brand of Bryant Street has game interest, television interest, products, and so much more. In fact the brand just made me $14,000 on a small Kickstarter.

The value of the brand (all of the Bryant Street stories) is worth so much more than just the 70 short stories alone because I know how to brand, license, and protect trademark.

More coming…