What is my brand?

So, part of this author adventure is that my publisher assigns a publicist to help me get the word out about my new book (Pagan Curious — A Beginner’s Guide to Nature, Magic & Spirituality), which is really super because while I love to write, I hate hate hate to promote myself. I’m a fabulous cheerleader for most anyone else, and love to do whatever I can to help someone else succeed, but for myself? Well… gulp. That’s just uncomfortable.

I met my super cool new publicist, Markus, a couple weeks ago (and by “met,” I mean we did it pandemic style on Zoom), and in addition to pumping up my confidence and enthusiasm to birth this book out into the world, he gave me some homework, which included revamping this website. He kindly described what I’ve got going on here as “a little dated.” I couldn’t agree more. I’ve wanted to change it for a long time. Besides, the template for this website wasn’t designed for blogging — it was designed for restaurant use, and is set up for menus, not blogs, and therefore it’s quite difficult to make it perform like a blog site.

You might ask, “Why did you pick a template that wasn’t designed for blogging,” and I might answer, “Because I liked the pretty orange font on the headlines.” And therein you see why my technology adventures frequently blow up in my face.

I’ve been wanting to update this website for years, but the issue is that transferring all this content to a different template requires website skills that are above my pay grade. I know just enough about WordPress to ignite a big steaming pile of “Oh fuck, what have I done!” and no idea how to clean up the mess I’ve made. Been there, done that, had to hand the shovel to an expert.

Having blown up websites a few times and requiring expert assistance, I decided not to venture into this update myself. I want it to be a real website, and not just something I tinkered with and mashed together on my own. So, my buddy Sarah, Goddess of the Websites, is looking into refurbishing my little home on the internet. Stay tuned, it will hopefully look a lot different in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I need to work a few things out before we go “live.” At the top of that list is how to present myself. My “brand” as it were.

“Brand.”

Oh, I have bristled at both the word and concept for a long time. It just seems so unnatural and manufactured. I would prefer my brand to evolve naturally, as it did over my 26 years as an opinion columnist. Which it did. And that’s the problem. My columnist “brand” was to be balls out, fists up, and ready to throw a verbal hook punch at any moment. Kitty has claws, and she knows how to use them. But that’s “columnist me,” and since I launched onto the author’s path, I’ve distanced myself from that. I just got tired of the whole vibe. That brand doesn’t really work for me anymore. My books aren’t about politics, they fall more under the “helping, healing, happiness” umbrella, in the spirituality section — not the biting political commentary section.

It took a long while to detox from those many years of verbal cage fighting, and aside from very rare moments where I can’t resist the urge to comment on whatever political or social turbulence is boiling at the moment, I’ve kept it clean. Internally, I’ve made the transition from “fierce, fearless hellcat” to “peaceful, purring kittycat” quite nicely. I just don’t crave the buzz of verbal battle anymore. I used to eat it for breakfast. Now, I’d just hork it up like a hairball.

My challenge, and the source of my contemplation, is defining and shaping a brand that portrays who I am now, and how to present that on the updated website. That may confuse some folks who’ve been with me for a long time, but here’s the thing: I’m a Gemini, and “Peaceful, Purring Me” has always been there, just not so much in public. I mean, I’ve been a massage therapist almost as long as I was a newspaper editor and columnist, so that side has always been there. Just not in print. I used to have a sign on my wall at work: “51 percent sweetheart, 49 percent bitch — don’t push your luck.” Well, those percentages are probably more like a 70-30 sweetheart to bitch ratio now. I don’t need to have my claws out anymore, but every cat owner will confirm that even the most peaceful, loving kitty will shred you in a heartbeat if provoked.

So. Updating this website and my brand are linked together. Old brand: Hellcat. New brand… ??? Whatever that reveals itself to be, my goal is internal and external/public congruence (which, by the way, is a topic I cover in depth in “Pagan Curious”!) It feels like I have a lot of ingredients to mush together, hopefully into one cohesive ball: Horsey Girl. Longtime Pagan. Massage practitioner. Tarot enthusiast. Lover of nature and magickal energies and practices. I’ll be rolling that ball around in my hands and shaping it for the next few weeks, which is much more difficult than it sounds, mainly because of my resistance to it. I’d rather you just get to know me all over again, sort of like Gwen Stefani when she reintroduced herself this year and spiced up her career. Yeah, just like Gwen! Except I’m not nearly that hot, except in my own mind. Although I can karoake the shit outta “Just A Girl.”

So…. what will my new “brand” be? I’m not really sure, but going forward, I’ve decided I want to build people up, not shred them to pieces. I want to create things that inspire, enlighten, educate, and even simply entertain. And I’ll keep my claws retracted. Unless you try to shove me off the couch, and then it’s on.

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