Tag Archive | author brand

Switching Gears Without Derailing- New Series Coming Up!

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Ever have to switch gears so rapidly your head was spinning?  That’s where I am now, and it’s nerve wracking, but also a lot of fun.  I’m finding that growing as an author means adding layers, by branching out and trying new things. It’s also learning how to discern which opportunities are the right ones to take advantage of.

Times are tough for indie authors right now, but they are also fantastic. As I mentioned in an earlier post, discoverability is the Holy Grail. There are so many books available, and tons more being added in a constant stream, that the admirable accomplishment of publishing a professional, well-written story is just the first step in a long journey.

It’s Raining Promo

It’s amazing how creative this industry is when it comes to promotion. Ads, Facebook Groups, Blog Tours, conferences, and other co-op type promotions are springing up faster than you can fill out a form to join them. Giveaways are raining all over social media, like confetti and beads at Mardi Gras.

Now that I have three books out (the Higher Elevation Series), I’m signing up for various events and promotions. I’m not sure what will work best, and what works for someone else’s book may not work for yours or mine. The best thing of course, is a recommendation from another author who has tried whatever marketing tactic you are considering, but that doesn’t guarantee results. So you make the most informed decision you can, keeping in mind your audience and your budget, and cross your fingers.

Unfortunately, this is how marketing and promotion work, most of the time.  It’s an educated crap shoot. But I started to wonder if it would help to have more than one product (series) to promote. Here’s how that played out:

A few months ago, after I launched my three-book series, I came up with a new Contemporary Romance series idea. I sketched out several good story lines, but nothing jumped out at me, begging to be written. But I also had the plot for Unraveled, Book Four of the Higher Elevation Series, in my head so I wrote an outline for it, and a few weeks later I am 10K in and it’s going well.

BUT!

As much as I was loving Sophie and Kane’s story (Book 4), I put it down to work on something else. What prompted the sudden switch was I had a new logo and a new author tagline, “Love Grows in Unexpected Places”. To me, the logo of a tree inside a heart represented enduring love that is meant to be. I love writing about mismatched people who beat the odds to be together, and my books represent that.

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So all those Contemporary storylines I jotted down now had a unifying theme, and they began yelling at me to be written. I’m thinking of calling it the “Love Grows” series. The first one, Cougar-ish, is about a couple, a younger man-older woman, who face many obstacles to be together. Once this series is underway, I can go back and finish Sophie’s story in the Higher Elevation Series. (Is it crazy I feel like I have to apologize to my characters for putting them aside?)

I think it’s an excellent idea to have more than one series to promote. I just wish I had four more hands and two more brains, so I could get them all done NOW!

What about you? Have you put down a beloved project in favor of something else? Was it the right thing to do?

 

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Developing Your Author Brand

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So it’s not enough these days to work on developing your “Author Platform” on social media, but you also have to think about your Author Brand. What is the difference? And if you are not yet published, should you even worry about it?

Why You Need A Brand

Like it or not, the internet has exploded the amount of opportunities and methods for marketing just about any product or service you can think of. Which means there are many options to choose from when planning a marketing strategy. The down side, of course, is the sheer volume of competition, and the end goal is how to get noticed when potential customers are being bombarded with tons of information.

As an author, your stories (books, novellas, shorts, etc) are your product, and you, the author, are the brand. Your social media platform is how you engage with the general public, and readers in particular. Advice gurus, agents, and even some publishers are currently advising authors to start building their author platform on social media as early as possible, to find their audience and gain potential readers. We’ve been told to post, tweet, blog, share photos, and engage with the public. I agree that social media engagement is important, and can be effective, but only if you enjoy it and are consistent. Pick the social media outlets that appeal to you and work them into your routine.

Your Brand is Your Promise

But your Author Brand is much more than your social media profile; it’s how you represent and market YOU. Your author brand also represents your style, your voice, the genres your write in, the themes of your stories, and your body of work as a whole. As author Roni Loren explained in a recent guest post over at Fiction University, it’s your author promise.

Just as each book (or novella, etc) you release needs a marketing plan, so does your author brand. The right tag line explains the essence of your work and not only tells potential readers what to expect from you as an author, but is a great tool to get people to remember you. For example, BDSM Romance author Annabel Joseph’s tagline, which is prominently displayed on her website, is “The Romance of Dominance and Submission.”

It’s simple, easy to recall, and if you’ve ever read her books (and if you haven’t, you should), it succinctly describes what you’ll find, from her historical romances to her contemporaries. A good author tagline should be broad enough to describe most of your work, without being vague. Another good example is author Jami Gold’s tagline, Where Normal Need Not Apply.” It gives readers a hint of the experience they’ll find, without being specific to one story or genre category.

Once you come up with that perfect tagline, put it everywhere- emails, newsletters, business cards, your blog, your website, and in your books. Be creative, but be consistent. Those few words identify the feeling you are hoping to evoke in the reader, whom you want to entice to purchase your product.

Identify Your Tagline

Even if you are a newbie and writing your first draft ever, start thinking about your potential brand. I am no marketing expert, but I have been observing how other authors approach branding in an effort to develop my own marketing plan. But how do you figure out what your message, your author promise, is?

Some writers may know what their niche or brand theme is when they begin their writing career. But for others, it may take time, and several different drafts or years of blogging to figure out what the common themes are in their work. That is what happened to me, but when the idea of what my brand might be crystallized, it felt right.

As it says in the About section of this blog, I am “keenly interested in human nature, and believe unconditionally in the power of love”. If you’ve read many of my blog posts, even though they may be on vastly different subjects, those two themes shine through. My bio also states I am a “die-hard skeptic who loves to imagine the impossible, then write stories about how it just might work”.

Yep. That’s my work in a nutshell, some of which I described in a recent post, “The Metaphysical Side of Love.” Most of my stories are romance, with metaphysical/supernatural/paranormal aspects to them. I guess real-life problems aren’t enough for me- I have to throw in a psychic, a ghost, and a witch or two, so I can explore those impossible ideas of mine!

But I had to condense all of that into a tagline, so I came up with “The Power of Love with a Supernatural Twist.”   It may change by the time I am ready to launch my product- my first novel- but for now, it feels right. I hope to have a solid marketing plan in place for my debut, which will be one less thing to worry about if I keep working on it now.

So, it’s never too early to start working on your brand, or to start marketing yourself as an author. Social media and your brand are two ways to get started.

What do you think? What are some examples of authors who are doing a great job of branding themselves?