The Labyrinth

I’ve pretty much been writing since I was born.

My first novel was finished when I was seven years old. It was done up on an old clackety type-writer with a rogue e that made it awfully hard to read.  It was about a detective agency full of rodents who solved kidnappings. The concept was clearly cribbed from Disney’s Saturday morning cartoon, Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers. The actual characters were based on a colouring book page that I really liked and created a backstory for, which lead to the incongruously reptilian Tommy the Turtle, the agency’s janitor. (My parents ran a janitorial company at the time, which made me think janitorial work was incredibly glamorous and cool.) The agency was run by Mary the Mouse, and I delighted in penning the sexual tension between Mary and Tommy. Tommy’s kidnapping by a gang of alleycats was thwarted by Mary’s clever sleuthing skills and there was a very salacious kiss at the end that I imagined myself very grown up for writing.

There’s a point to this story, I swear!

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Changing Paradigms

I’ve had a blog for a few months, now. Every time I get on my computer, I think – darn! I should really update my blog! After all, maintaining a blog is an important part of being an author in this modern age. You need a blog because you need a brand. If you don’t have a brand, you won’t sell books. I’m staring down a July release date on my first novel, and I don’t have a brand to speak of.

Back up.

Well, I do have a brand. Or rather, I did have a brand. 2004 was a hell of a time, and I was riding high on fandom popularity. At least a couple hundred complete strangers knew my name, or rather, my covert undercover internet alias. I was a controversial figure! Centre of ship wars, source of drama, and shit-stirrer extraordinaire! “Oh, her.” Yeah, me. Causing trouble, getting into fights, and being larger than life.

As it turns out, when you’re nineteen and super internet famous for being a bit of a drama queen (at least in your own head. Was I ever that big a deal? I highly doubt it), you burn out on it pretty hard. I thought I was pretty hot stuff, and I got myself into a whole lot of trouble that I couldn’t easily get out of. All those people knowing who you are makes it awfully easy to paint a target on yourself and run around naked.

So.

I sort of had to teach myself to not have a brand. To kill my brand. To bury myself and all the bad blood young, “famous” me had managed to stir up. I spent so many years deleting profiles, getting access to geocities sites, scrubbing anything that could make me remotely googleable from the internet, and learning to live under the radar.

Okay.

Fast forward again.

Here I am, finally looking at what I’ve wanted my whole life: a career in writing. So much of my world has been about getting caught up in other people’s stories, and I have this chance to get others caught up in mine. And I need a brand.

This is my usual attempt to work on my brand. I load up my blogs, my twitter, my goodreads. All those important tools in my brand-creating toolbox. I see an article I like and I wonder if I should blog about it. Retweet it, maybe. But there’s this deer-in-headlights paralysis that comes over me, the result of my blown up, self-inflated “dark past” in the 2004 fandom trenches. I don’t blog about the article and I don’t retweet it. The fact is, I’m starting to realize that creating a brand might be pretty damn hard. Especially if what you really want to do is hide.

I started my blog in October. It’s now the end of January and there’s still nothing in my blog. I’m at Starbucks, it’s writing night, and I know that it’s time to get off my seat and get started on this damn blog. Because I need a brand. Two refreshers and five false starts later and all my attempts feel fake or boring or both. “Hi, this is my blog!” Yeah, Kate, everyone knows that its your blog! It says that at the top of the page.

So I think that maybe it’s time to start with something honest.

How about this?

Hi. I’m Kate McIntyre. I want you to read my books, because I think they’re good, and I think you’ll like them. I’ve spent eleven years flying in stealth mode and I’m trying to learn how to do some sky-writing instead. Do you want to watch my probably pathetic but definitely earnest attempts?

Of course you do.