This might work for some writers...I guess...but not for me. And ultimately, it sounds very, very short-sighted and narrow minded.
Now, I can partially understand why some people think this is the way to get to SUPER MASSIVE BESTSELLER STATUS. I mean after all, when we think of the writers who are superstars, some names come to mind more readily than others: Steven King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Dan Brown, Danielle Steel, Stephanie Meyers (just because she's super big right now) - and if you're a fantasy/Science Fiction guy like me, some names that might pop up are: George RR Martin, Harlan Ellison, Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Issac Asimov, Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, maybe even M.Todd Gallowglas. (Hey, a man can dream.) With each and every one of these writers, someone even casually familiar would probably be able to come up with at least half-a-dozen words that could define the writer's "brand." I started to, and stopped myself at "sparkle" out of self respect.
Here's the thing: I can't make this claim with 100% certainty, but I'm fairly certain not a single one of them sat down at the beginning of a writing career and said to themselves, "I better figure out how to brand myself." If that were the case, Neil Gaiman would still be doing Sandman comics and never have written novels, Stephen King wouldn't have written even half of his masterful novellas that have 0% horror in them, let alone the Dark Tower series which really defies genre classification, one traveling storyteller wouldn't have been able to write both the dark and grim Tears of Rage books along side the rollicking adventure tales of Halloween Jack, and who knows what the hell Harlan Ellison would have done. These things wouldn't have happened because, they wouldn't have fit in with the original "Brand."
These writers put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard and wrote their hearts out. Yeah, even Stephanie Myers and Dan Brown. The brand that comes with their names came later, after they found their audience, and in some cases, wrote a bunch of stuff that would shatter the brand thing...if they'd started things the other way around.
Honestly, the only way you can find out what kind of writer you are is by writing a metric crap ton of work that you're probably not going to do a whole lot with. The early work you slave over while finding your writing self is unlikely to sell, unless you self publish it, and even then, you probably don't want to do that. It's going to be bad writing, because almost everyone does bad writing, especially in the beginning - hell, even later on, you'll pen some stuff that can't be saved. You have a lot of exploring to do inside your imagination.
"Write what you know," is one of the most used phrases of advice writers get. You know far more than you can fit into an artificial brand. I know old stories. I know Renaissance Faires. I know Arisoft. I know Boy Scouts. I know Ballroom, swing, and Latin dancing. I know a little about music. I know being a kid in a broken family. I know being a father and husband in a family fighting tooth and nail to make it work in crazy and insane world. I know intellectual elitism from both sides of that particular coin. I know all this and so much more. Everyone who ever dreamed of being a writer knows so much more than they could ever squeeze into a brand. I've either worked everything I know into my writing, or I've got something planned that draws on something. If I was going to stifle myself behind the M Todd Gallowglas "brand," I'd be severely limited in how I used all the things I want to write about - probably couldn't write about some of them at all.
Writers, don't worry about silly things like marketing or branding yourself while you busy building a writing career - and every writer I know is always working on building his or her writing career. Work on putting out the best quality writing you can. Put out your best work.Put your heart, mind, sweat, blood, tears, and Truth As You Know It into your work, and the brand will come. Do that enough times, and your readers will love you. They will tell others about you, and some of them will love you too. Eventually, enough people will be reader your work, and they will brand you. By then, your career will be at a point where you won't have to worry about it any more.
Normally, I don't ask for comments. Some of you do, and I'm thrilled by it, but this time around, I'm honestly curious to see what you have to say about this.