Are you a Rockstar?
I was drinking my morning coffee today, Dunkin Donuts breakfast blend, and thinking about personification. Who are we and what do we reflect? Your identity as a writer in todays market is far more important than most other aspects of your career. When developing yourself as a brand there is a fundamental question to ask yourself.
How memorable are you?
When people read books like The Shining they are not reading horror they are reading Stephen King. You don't read Twilight you read Stephanie Meyer. And nobody picks up Fight Club they read Chuck Palahniuk. When people pick up your book or short story they need to be experiencing a piece of you. Don't sell your book, sell yourself. And more importantly don't censor yourself for fear of offending. Offense is part of building a personal brand. Inevitably some people will love you and some people will hate you. Cherish your readers who love you, and feed the ones who hate you. They can both be great for business.
This doesn't mean run out and attack any critic who doesn't like you. And it certainly doesn't mean you have to explain or defend your work. But it does mean you shouldn't be afraid to tell someone to go fuck themselves.
The most important rule when brand building is to be yourself. People have incredible bullshit detectors. You don't have to run out and be a coke snorting, tour bus hopping, shark fucking rockstar. But you can be awesome in everything you do, and that is what builds a brand.