Welcome to an entire month of Top 5 Tips for Authors!
Every day this month my friends and I will bring you a new set of Top 5 Tips to help you along on your author journey. 2017 was a year of change in the Indie author world for sure. So many happenings. So many new things to learn. So many old things that didn’t quite do what you’d hoped. Well, every day is a new day. And every year is a new year. So we hope that this month’s worth of tips will get you the kick start you need to make 2018 your best yet and please feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
My next guest blogger is my friend Cora Seton. Cora is NYT and USA Today bestselling author who writes sexy, fast-paced contemporary western and military romance. She loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/environmentalist, she ditched her California lifestyle and moved north to laid-back Vancouver Island. Like the characters in her Chance Creek series, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, and is never happier than when planting flowers or creating her next Chance Creek novel. Visit www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events! or find her on Facebook here and Twitter here.
Your brand transcends any single book or series you write: it’s based on the elements that pervade ALL your work. In other words, your brand needs to describe YOU.
1. Start by thinking about yourself—and your writing.
Come up with two lists of key words: one list that describes you. The other that describes your writing. Throw down as many words as you can. Start to look for overlap. Let’s say you’re a thoughtful, provocative, sassy, small-town person who write action-packed biker romances with larger-than-life city-dwelling characters who engage in light BDSM. Where’s the crossover? Maybe in between your action scenes, there’s some deep introspection. Maybe your sassy voice is echoed in the sassy dialogue. Maybe your big-city characters inhabit neighborhoods that have small-town characteristics. Or maybe your writing “persona” is a larger-than-life, action-packed city dweller, and that’s how you’ll present yourself when you are promoting your books. This works even if you write in more than one genre. Somewhere there will be key words that transcend the individual books and series—key words that sum up your “brand.” (Example: my keywords are small town, western, family, community, heartfelt, funny, together, sexy…)
2. Come up with a brand statement.
Take those transcendent key words and put them into a sentence that starts with, “I write…” (Example: I write sexy, funny, heartfelt contemporary western and military romances that show we can accomplish anything when friends and family work together.)
3. Put your brand statement on your wall.
Write it big. Make a poster. My favorite: collage the heck out of it. I have a poster size collage of images that represent my brand. Never collaged before? Start with a stack of magazines, go through them and tear out any that seem relevant to your brand. Glue them onto a piece of poster-board along with your key words. There you go – a visual reminder of your brand you can keep front and center.
4. REFER BACK TO YOUR BRAND at all times.
Making a cover? Look at your brand. About to post a political rant? Check to make sure it matches your brand. Joining an author cross-promo? Does it fit your brand? Your brand statement and poster/collage are there to keep you on track.
5. Use your brand everywhere.
No one should ever have to guess what you write. One glance at your covers, blurbs, website, social media posts, etc, should make it instantly clear who you are, what your genre is, and even give clues as to your steaminess level and the theme of your books. Check out my website, and you’ll see ranches and cowboys. Check out my posts, you’ll see bright colors, clean lines and happy people. One look at my covers and you’ll know I write about cowboys and military men—but you’ll also see these are bright, open stories rather than dark, brooding ones. My titles let you know exactly what you’re going to get. Even my name is part of my brand.
Creating a strong brand is easy—sticking with it pays off.