First the Write While You Wait Contest runs until the 29th of February so you still have time to enter. It's free.
I like TV. I like reality TV even though it's so far removed from reality .... it's like calling a bullet a missile. Nonetheless, I find watching reality TV as pleasurable as chocolate ice cream and peanut-butter. (Don't knock it if you haven't tried it, that's all I'm saying.)
On American Idol the judges are always on the contestants to "show America who you are as an artist." On Project Runway, the judges always encourage contestants to be true to their point of view. Last seasons on America's Top Model it was all about branding.
They use different slogans, but it really amounts down to one thing. Figure out what box you belong in and stay there.
Boxes don't have to be a bad thing. When I discovered that I wanted to write horror, it was so freeing. I finally had a box I belonged in. I set about exploring it, reading the authors in the box, discovering that made the box. Despite years of writing horror, I didn't know that was what I was doing. So at first, this box was a big wonderful place to play. But I also discovered other boxes my writing fit into along the way.
Maybe because I am naive, I continue to expand my all my boxes. Here's the thing. There is a huge difference, a monumental difference, between knowing who you are and playing to your strengths, and allowing someone -- fans, family, friends, agents, bosses-- to define the boxes for you. This is why I think advice like "brand yourself" is bad.
Be you. Not some version you think people will like. This is one reason why the Indy Revolution is totally awesome. You are free to be yourself. You don't have to fit into another person's box. Ain't nobody can stop you except....