This is a new weekly column that I’ve joined with the others authors over at Writers Words of Wisdom to produce.
Take a look at the other authors topics at these locations.
Paloma Beck: http://romancebeckons.blogspot.com/search/label/WoW
Lacey Wolfe: http://laceywolfe.com/blog.html
This sounds terribly painful in the day to day world. However, it is one of the relatively new words in marketing. Brand yourself with a presence that makes a statement about what you are about.
I had the opportunity to visit the Chattanooga Writer’s Guild this past week and attend a session by Allie Pleiter, an Inspirational Romance Novelist from the Chicago Area. She has some interesting things to say about writing, marketing and conducting business as an author. I wish to share my take on what she had to say and how it impacts me as an author. I had been ‘poking’ at the branding concept for some time. I had business cards made at Vista Print and chose one of their canned logos with a skull and flowers around it. I constructed the phrase, “Leave Your Safe World Behind” as a tag line. I have a few t-shirts with the logo on it and my name “Eden Glenn Erotic Romance Author” I have the tag line and my website on the back. It’s very attractive. Yet I wasn’t sure the logo was doing it for me. As my critique partner said, skulls say gothe or pirates. Not so much either one.
Okay, on to what I learned from Allie Pleiter.
“Because marketing matters for everyone now” She said. I’ve accepted this as part of my life. The door that opened to allow me into the epub world also let in a host of others all wanting to find readers. It is a tough world out there to find readers and get their attention.
The process Allie went through was a self analysis to target yourself. Authors more than ever diversify their writing so finding a common thread and branding you as an author has become more important than ever. Follow me as I employed her three part process to find my “Brand”.
“Analyze the reviews of three writers you want to be like. Why do people like J.R. Ward etc…. Analyze their reviews. What are the attributes they are drawn to. If you want to be like them, shoot for their attributes.”
What are reviewers saying about their work and why do the reviewers say they like about those authors. Where is a common thread there for me?
I looked up J.R. Ward’s first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series Dark Lover. First overwhelming moment is realizing that book has 778 customer reviews. Jeash.
Ravenous Reader says “If you’re looking for a book that’s well written, has interesting, flawed characters you want to root for, heroes and heroines that have amazing chemistry, compelling relationships, and great love scenes, AND a plot that keeps you turning the pages, this is the book (and series) for you!”
Gingersnap said “I laughed, I gasped and sweated reading every last page of this book. As another reviewer said, “The Black Dagger Brotherhood owns me…”. Dark, magical, full of lust, love and action, this book will posess you. Well, well JR Ward… dont mind if I do.”
Kalea said “I have without a doubt The Black Dagger Brotherhood will have a cult following. It’s dark, dramatic, and the characters are likable. They all have their own little kinks.”
I was also surprised at the number of horrible reviews. I mean really horrible. That is something for me to hold on through the future years as a writer. Not everyone is going to like everything. Your value is not controlled by the reviews you get.
Next, I looked at Joey Hill “Something About Witches” book that I am loving. I was sucked in from the first line.
L Finder said “If you want a book that will have you laughing, have you crying, and have you thrilled to be in the company of strong, smart sexy characters, buy this book.”
Linda Crooks said “Something About Witches is vivid and smart, and Joey W. Hill is a breathtakingly sensual writer. Complex, gut-wrenchingly emotional, and jam-packed with action and angst, you won’t want to put this one down. This is one intense read; it will grab your heart, shake it around a bit, and not let go until the very last page.”
Then, Angela Knight – The Time Hunters
So many books said “Angela Knight uses words to craft a believable world and compelling characters. She does it right, she does it well. I can see, smell, feel,touch and taste her stories. When I read her books I feel as if I’m there.”
M. Nix: “Warrior is action-packed with danger and a flaming hot love story.”
L. Curtis: “The characters are three dimensional, the plot’s realistic and intriguing, and setting draws you into her world.”
Okay, So what am I seeing here as a common thread that I relate to in my work. Dark, edgy, compelling, three dimensional characters, emotional, Takes you into their world. Action, Danger, Erotic, sensual
My tag line works. “Leave Your Safe World Behind” I take readers into my world. I want them to have an emotional experience reading my books. I want three dimensional characters with flaws. Believable, compelling, Dark and Dramatic.
The next thing in developing a brand that she said was to
Descriptions of Media Characters who capture your affection / attention.
Adam Lambert, professional singer, Talented, smart, erotic, edgy but personable. Takes you on an emotional journey through music
Khal Drogo, Conan were roles played by Jason Mamoa. Powerful, erotic, mysterious, edgy
Lara Croft – Strong, secretive, sexy, Smart.
What do these three media personalities have in common. They are all sexy, smart, fierce, edgy. They are like the characters I want to create in my writing. And again, I’m in luck my “Leave Your Safe World Behind” tag line continues to work. The concept is the writers you respect and the media characters or personalities that you like will reveal that core about yourself that you need to define and tie to your writing. This information isn’t your brand but it helps you focus you toward your brand. My tag line was already created but this exercise could have helped me refocus to a truer tag line. Fortunately, I think my tag line is a pretty accurate reflection.
Choose a metaphor
Hers was a disco ball. It reflects light. Permission to be a little stupid. Chance to lighten up a little bit.
I’m not sure what my metaphor would be. I am thinking a door, doorway, and archway?
She said if you are not excited by the results of your investigation you are not there yet. Ask yourself: What are the themes in your writing. What do you value. What do you want to be. Why do you write. That is close to your brand.
Her brand ended up being Adventure. Her parenting books were an Adventure in Parenting. The knitting blog and Adventure in Yarn, her fiction, Adventures in Historical Fiction, Adventures in Contemporary Fiction. Adventure was the hub. Her logo became a compass. The adventure isn’t out there. You hold the compass. The adventure starts right where you are, became her tag line. So you see the pattern.
Her closing comment on this segment was about promoting. It is often hard for authors to promote themselves. Yet when they find their core values and passion they find it easy to promote those values.
So, lets discuss your discoveries. What are your tag lines and logos? What do you think my logo should be?