I typically use concepts such as my own use of Barnaby Bones, the "mascot" who attends various author events with me. Barnaby is my personal example of an author brand. I write horror - therefore, the props of tombstones and skulls and a life-sized skeleton create an instantly recognizable and classifiable "brand" that speaks of "Mark Leslie"
And just a few days ago, I took the "author branding" to a more literal level.
I branded myself - my skin - with something quite appropriate for a horror author, when I finally got a tattoo.
It all stems back to the early 1990's when I remember sitting at my desk when I lived on Craig Street in Ottawa. I should have been studying, but instead, I was looking at three things on my desk -- the pencil cup on the edge of my desk, the coffee mug in front of me, and a cool drawing of an eerie skull with flesh melting off of it from one of the small press horror magazines that I was either published in or had ordered a sample copy of/
I ended up combining the skull, the mug and the pencil cup into a single sketch that I quite liked. I later inked the sketch in, enjoying the feel of the piece.
|A copy of the original "Skull cup" sketch I had created|
The skull cup sketch sat, like many stories often do, in a drawer.
And it wasn't until I had decided to get a tattoo earlier this year that I realized I could use this. (And it took me several hours of digging around in boxes of my misc creative and writing files to find it)
So this past Friday, I had the tattoo done at Skinners in Hamilton.
|I was relieved to learn the tattoo could easily be removed should I change my mind|
My appointment was for 2 PM on a Friday - I arrived for the appointment on a bright and sunny afternoon. I was delighted to learn that, should I ever change my mind, there was an easy way to remove the tattoo.
The artist began by shaving my arm with a little Lady Bic razor and then rubbing my arm done with some sort of warm liquid then transferring a stencil from my sketch onto my arm.
|The stencil is on. "Look Ma, no pain!"|
That was pretty cool and also quite painless.
Then the actual tattooing began. It felt, basically, like a simple and relatively painless needle going into my arm (which, I suppose, is exactly what it is - a needle that is injecting ink into the skin) - the second that it was out, the pain was over. Only, it was followed by another relatively mild pin prick sensation, then another, then another.
|Here is the Tattoo outline as completed|
|The tattoo as complete - is all that red part of the design or just irritated skin?|
Admittedly, the series of pin-pricks that accompanied the "filling in" of the "black space" was quite intense - but again, it was just a pin prick, following by another, and another, and another, and another, and another, etc, etc, etc. To be honest, the numbing feeling of my hand falling asleep was more painful than the tattoo itself. And there was a TV on and which I amused myself by watching from the multiple mirrors set up in the shop, likely for just that purpose.
Then, I was coated in a cream, a bandage was applied and I was given instructions on how to treat it for the next couple of weeks. (Basically, applying a Vitamin A/Vitamin E cream, keeping from submersing it in water for 2 weeks, keeping it out of the sun and keeping the skin lubricated while I go through the process of scabbing and flaking and healing.
|Oh no! Blood! ;)|
I was a bit surprised when I got home to see that there was quite a bit of blood leaking out from the bandage. But the next day, when I removed the bandage, it was starting to look good. (Although, sure, there's still a lot of redness around the tat -- and the feeling is more like some sort of sunburn)
|The day after tattoo look|
In any case, I'm now going through the process of applying the vitamin A/ vitamin E cream multiple times a day and, of course, showing the tattoo off.
But I have to say that this is quite the appropriate tattoo for a horror writer to spot, which the brilliant horror author Jason Brant pointed out in a tweet that day. (Quick side note for horror fans, if you haven't yet checked out Jason's writing, do yourself a favour and go buy one NOW.....you'll be sorry if you don't)
|Tweet by horror author Jason Brant|
As Jason says, I'm taking author branding to the extreme.
I suppose I might use some of this in my next "author branding" example.