First off, I apologize for being a day late in posting, but I’m going to blame it on preparing to move. My brain is MIA!
I recently took a workshop on author branding with Theresa Meyers. What a great workshop! Time was that you wrote a book, had someone look it over for you, and you packed it in a box and mailed it off. If you got lucky and became a big-name author, you got to go on book tours and actually meet some of your readers. Your brand developed out of what you published.
Now, when you send off that manuscript, you need to already know what your brand is and how you propose to push it. Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks discussed branding on her blog and what she expected in a book submission:
“I’m looking for:
• a heroine the reader can relate to
• a hero she can fall in love with
• a world gets created
• a hook I can sell with in 2-3 sentences
• author career arc (OR, AUTHOR BRAND potential!!!!!!! Thank you Theresa!)”
Now that you’ve written your book, do you know what your brand is? Theresa’s article linked above can help you get going. You start by looking at the authors you love. What three things come to mind when you think of those authors?
What three things do you want people to think of when they see your name?
Theresa goes on to work those three things into your brand and your tagline. I really recommend taking her workshop if you can. She will take you beyond what you think you’re telling people as you write, to the theme that follows you no matter what genre you pursue. Many of the top authors write in multiple sub-genres, yet you know what to expect no matter which book you pick up.
When you find that part of yourself and your writing, you can focus much better on your career. (You are planning on this being a career, right?) Those of us with scattered thoughts and story ideas can look at the stories and ask, does this fit my brand? If not, can I tweak it to fit? Or should I move onto the next idea?
Finding my own brand was somewhat easy at first. What confused me was the books I have published are contemporary erotic romance, and my heart is paranormal. I’m a product of the Twilight Zone era, reality not quite as we know it. Some odd shift taking place that forces us to believe in something we’ve never experienced, be it ghosts, time travel, parallel worlds or shape shifters.
I couldn’t see how that fit contemporary romance. The one word that appears so often in my paranormal romance is Believe. I needed to ask myself what my contemporary characters were confronted with that forced them to believe in something beyond their realities.
Then came the aha moment! If you’ve been told you’re a failure, believing you are capable can be just as difficult as believing in ghosts. When your track record shows you that men don’t stick around when the going gets tough, that becomes your reality. To you, happily ever after is the stuff of fiction.
My theme carries through everything I write, whether I’m aware of it or not. Ride along with my stories and I’ll allow you to believe in something intangible, be it love, werewolves or reincarnation. I’m not asking for a leap of faith, just the first step of opening your mind to something you might not have experienced before.
Believe in love. Believe in yourself. Believe your happily ever after is out there, along with your spot on the NYT Bestseller List.
I believe author branding can help you define yourself as a writer. Take that step and discover who you are as a writer. I think you might be pleasantly surprised.