Or How To Endear Yourself To Readers
Branding does not–contrary to popular belief–include a hot iron, but sometimes it can feel kind of like that.
Tara Lain and Poppy Dennison made it sound so simple. I suppose for some writers it really is. Not for this writer who cannot figure out what exactly to pick as the one thing her readers will remember and recognize her for. You know, the thing that will make a reader one-click anything that carries her name.
In a previous blog I’ve mentioned shoes and I kid you not, there are a couple of romance writers out there that have done well with this thing. A writer I know added a really cute and catchy tagline as her brand and I can guarantee you people remember her–I know I do and not because we’re FB friends.
No one remembers me. Not only I have a name that no English speaking reader can pronounce (it’s pronounced like rice but you have to roll and emphasize the R, sort of like a cat purring) but I write across many sub-genres. I’m sure my books have something in common but I’m still not sure what that is. Not in a way that I can use it for my commercial benefit.
The two speakers suggested a couple of exercises to help find your thing. One of them in particular resonated with me. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get anyone to help me with that. My friends are all too busy and my family either doesn’t read fiction or can’t read English. I hope you have better luck with this because I thinks it’s pure genius, lol.
Have a couple friends read the reviews you have so far and jot down common words, feelings or reactions. For example I know that several of my reviewers say my stories are sweet and have twists and turns. If that seems to be a common thing across most of the reviews, that’s what you want to use to brand yourself. Lately I’ve began using the tagline of sweet and sexy when I speak of my books because they kind of fall between those two characteristics.
Make a list of everything you identify with you and your writing. Then post it by your computer and look at it often. Eventually you will see a pattern of some kind that you can use as your brand. Easier said than done. My list include everything from coffee to humor but only a couple of things seem to be even remotely fit for branding. Thus my recent brush with the tagline “Romance with a touch of magic”. Catchy? No idea.
Before I leave you today I want to tell you what these great ladies shared about their own brand and how they pinpointed it. One of them said that her readers identify her with T-Rex arms–I know, right?– because one time she made a joke during a book signing or workshop about her short arms and, much to her surprise, it stuck. The other said that even though she writes M/M romance with a lot of hot sex, her readers kept referring to her stories as sweet. Even though she didn’t see it that way, she went with it and that became part of her brand.
Last but not least, foster those relationships with readers–yes, even if they haven’t read any of your books. Use social media to share and interact, go to signings and talk to people–yes, even if they don’t buy any of your books. Someone at work the other day told me she was so excited to meet a real author. She had never met anyone famous. I giggled–actually I metaphorically rolled on the floor laughing my heart out–since I am not even in the same galaxy of any one famous, but thanked her and handed her my card. I may just have won a new reader.
If you have any tagline, motto or any kind of branding examples, share them here. I would love to hear from you guys.
Next week we will talk about new markets you may have never thought of. I know the publishers didn’t until very recently. See you then.