Branding Yourself- Or How To Endear Yourself To Readers

Branding Yourself

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.

tl-logopb-300x300poppymkbanner500-x-86

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.

Newsletter (1)

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Magic Romance

Never Again – New Release

*** New Release! ***



Her faith is tested as she tries to survive the Hell her life has become.



 
Blessed with a good life and the perfect love, Sam couldn’t be happier. On vacation with her adoring husband, she is convinced that everything is exactly as it should be…until it’s not. One accident sets off a string of events that forces Sam to watch her life fall apart piece by piece. Loss, grief, betrayal—and the revelation of a long-kept secret have Sam questioning whether she will ever be able to find the happiness she once had. She’s broken, her heart shattered, her trust ruined, and her faith is tested as she tries to survive the hell her life has become. Now Sam needs to decide if she’s brave enough to move on, or if she’ll never again find a love worth living for.
 
Jamie Lynn Boothe is from the south and will always be a southerner at heart. He currently lives in Connecticut. Jamie loves to write stories that will touch someones heart and soul to the depths and at the same time have them sitting on the edge of their seat. He is currently with Limitless Publishing and is excited about what the future holds. Along with writing he also enjoys reading, art, music, movies, cats, naps on occasion, coffee and time with friends and watching sports. His favorite teams are the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees.

Marketing Vs. Selling-The Non-Identical Twins

Marketing Vs. Selling-The Non-Identical Twins

One of the best panels I attended was led by Tara Lain and Poppy Dennison, “You Only Think You’re Marketing”. These two bestselling romance writers and marketing experts led an over-flowing room (several people were asked to leave by the fire marshal) in an eye-opening session where they debunked some very prevalent myths about marketing. I cannot possible do it credit (even though I took notes) but I would like to highlight some of the most important things I learned in this session.

coffee-2354882_1920

  • Even though marketing and selling go hand in hand, they are NOT identical twins. In fact they are pretty different.  In the words of these two amazing ladies, marketing is all the steps to get a product to the market. Marketing is the bow and selling is the arrow. Marketing is an overtime process while selling is immediate.
  • An author MUST determine her/his market before considering how to market herself/himself. For romance writers like me the audience is a very wide range of people: mostly (but not exclusively) female, aged between eighteen and sixty-five, voracious readers who will read at an average of three to four books a week.

Things to consider in marketing yourself to such an audience: pricing (if a reader goes through that many books weekly she/he won’t be able to afford to pay too much for the books), availability of e-books (cheaper both for writer and reader), speed to the market (how fast can you get your book in the hands of your readers?) and (this is a huge plus) there is no competition. Romance readers go through books so fast there is room enough for every author.

Content-marketing-cycle

  •   In such a fast market a writer must consider the product design. What will the book look like because, let’s face it, how many of us have bought books because you like the title or the cover? Guilty as charged 🙂 But it goes beyond that. The choices a writer (if you do have a choice) makes in the design of her books can help (or destroy) her branding and ultimately sales.

Titles are very important. You must be careful not to start with a “The” or an “A” because those will make it harder for a reader to search and find your book. Also avoid “funny” characters.

Cover design must reflect the content of the book. One of my books has been criticized for having an amazing cover that unfortunately (for me in terms of sales) that doesn’t hint at romance at all (I still love it, lol).

The type font you use for your name on each cover should be uniform across all books so that readers will recognize it immediately.

I also learned (after this panel) that a good blurb can make or kill a sale.

avatar-2191931_1920

  • Build your platform (how many times have you heard this one?) by interacting, not only with potential readers but also with authors that write similar romances (especially with those authors who are doing well in the charts).
  • Build a newsletter email list. This one is a tough one for me because not only I lose subscribers weekly but because the large majority of the ones I have haven’t even read my books. So why stick with the newsletter? Because even if there is only a handful of readers that follow you, that is worth its weight in gold. Those readers will talk about your books to their friends or help promote your books online (this is true. I have a couple of very faithful, amazing followers). So nurture that list no matter how useless it seems to be.

newsletter-1974396_960_720

  • Branding yourself. Tough one. If you like high heels, apparently is a big thing in romance writing. Just kidding. Sort of. I’m always jealous of writers who seem to have it all together. I’ve been trying to brand myself but I’m too over the place, I think.  I will come back to this one in a future blog since Lain and Dennison suggested a few interesting things on how to find your thing, the one thing readers will identify you with (other than your books).
  • Finally–and apparently a big surprise to some writers–you have to read. Writers are readers. I heard a young writer claim he didn’t read at all because he always took on the tone or the style of writing of the author he was reading. Come on! Really? I wish I could do that actually. Who wouldn’t want to write like Jane Austen or J.K. Rowlings? I don’t have much time to read due to a full time day job and writing afterwards, but I make a conscious effort to do it at least a few times a week, even if it’s only a few pages at a time. I love reading just as I love writing. The two are like two peas in a pod. Besides when you write those reviews for other authors, you’re making friends and gaining allies in the field of publishing.

And there you have it in a nutshell. I hope this can help you a little. I know it helped me. If nothing else it made some things a lot clearer, less of a mystery. After all, unless you’re one of the lucky ones who have a mentor, writing and publishing are pretty much a learn-as-you-go experience.

Good luck to you all and comment with suggestions and/or questions you may have. Until next time.

social media

Loving Her Scars

Loving Her Scars

by B.M. Griffin

Loving Her Scars

**On sale from June 10-15th for $0.99.**

 

Shayla’s scars run deeper than those on her body. Being beaten by a man you loved can do that to you. Shayla barely survived her first love, Eric. He left her broken and scarred in more ways than one.

Her best friend Adam is the only man she has been able to trust since. Friends since childhood, Adam has been in love with Shayla for as long as he can remember. He couldn’t save her from Eric, but he is determined never to fail her again. There’s just one little thing she doesn’t know—Adam is a werewolf.

Shayla gets sucked into a world of werewolves and finds herself opening up to Adam’s love, but there is one alpha wolf who threatens to take it all away. If they are going to survive they’ll need to come together to fight for each other and their pack. Can Shayla find the strength to leave her past behind and fight for the future she

 Buy Links:

Dead End Road – Cover Reveal

We are very excited to reveal with you all the stunning cover of DEAD END ROAD by Lori Whitwam designed by Deranged Doctor Designs! This Romantic Suspense is set to release July 4th from Limitless Publishing!

Dead End Road Ebook.jpg

DEAD END ROAD
by Lori Whitwam
A writer, a musician, an unexpected love…and a killer who wants to destroy it all.
Reclusive author Abby Delaney never dreamed she’d meet her rock-n-roll fantasy Seth Caldwell in her quaint, lakeside town…or that his love might be deadly.
Seth is weary of road trips, endless parties, and dead-end relationships, but what choice does he have? Songwriting and performing are all he knows. Then he meets Abby and finally finds a heart he can’t stand to break.
But forget small-town tranquility. An attempt is made on Seth’s life, and another mysterious death hits eerily close to home. Everyone’s a suspect, he’s taunted with ominous messages, and it’s only a matter of time until the killer finds his mark.
What if the only way to keep Abby safe is to do the one thing she can never forgive—walk away?

As the noose tightens, one thing becomes clear…

If the killer isn’t found soon, Seth and Abby will take their love to the grave.
Dead End Road FINAL paperback.jpg
MEET LORI WHITWAM
Lori spent her early years reading books in a tree in northern West Virginia. The 1980s and 90s found her and her husband moving around the Midwest, mainly because it was easier to move than clean the apartment. After seventeen frigid years in Minnesota, she fled to coastal North Carolina in 2013. She will never leave, and if you try to make her, she will hurt you.

 

She has worked in public libraries, written advertising copy for wastewater treatment equipment, and managed a holistic veterinary clinic. Her current day job, conducted from her World Headquarters and Petting Zoo (her couch) is as the Managing Editor for Limitless Publishing, as well as editing for a select group of indie authors.

 

Her dogs are a big part of her life, and she has served or held offices in Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees rescues, a humane society, a county kennel club, and her own chapter of Therapy Dogs International.

 

She has been a columnist and feature writer for auto racing and pet publications, and won the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Award for a series of humor essays.

 

Parents of a grown son, Lori and her husband were high school sweethearts, and he manages to love her in spite of herself. Some of his duties include making sure she always has fresh coffee and safe tires, trying to teach her to use coupons, and convincing the state police to spring her from house arrest in her hotel room in time for a very important concert. That last one only happened once—so far—but she still really, really appreciates it.

 

** WEBSITE ** FACEBOOK ** TWITTER **

 

coming-soon-banner
limitless publishing blue 3

The Next Best Thing or Color Me Hybrid

The Next Best Thing

(Color Me Hybrid)

Today we will tackle the vexing issue of hybridness (I know that’s not a word) in the writing profession.

When I think about hybrids several things come to mind: animals who were unfortunate enough to be part of some weird experiment reminiscent of Dr. Moreau’s Island, the ever-so-energy-efficient cars of today or–and I realize this is probably due to my second language issues–Hydra of Marvel fame.

I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to be anything like the poor Dr. Moreau’s hybrids and I’m not interested in looking like a car either.

the-island-of-dr-moreau

With all of that said, one of the lessons learned at RT was that being a hybrid author is the place to be right now. Think of it as getting the best of both worlds or finding a balance in a profession where this is so hard to find.

Take me for example. I’ve been published traditionally for about a year and a half. In spite of having a very supportive publisher, who does a lot more for her authors than most, I still spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find ways to market myself and create an audience who is anxiously waiting for my next book. Because I’m not well known–but totally expect to be in the future–I don’t sell very much. My books sell at a very modest rate which means that by the time everybody gets their cut, I end up with peanuts. And I mean one or two peanuts, not a bag.

1280px-Peanuts_(1)

As a self-published author (which is in my future as well) I would at least be getting the full profit. If my book is selling for $3.99 I would get almost all of that back for each book I sold since I wouldn’t be sharing the profits with anyone but myself.

Like in everything else in life there is a reverse to this coin. As a traditionally published author I technically don’t have to spend any money of my own to get the book out into the world. The publisher supplies the art work, the formatting, etc… As a self-published author you have to dig deep into your pockets for all of these things. There is no way around it.

17kp1kxiqh2jcjpg

So why hybrid? It’s the middle point, the one thing that balances the scale, the best–and conversely the worst–of both worlds. I have a novel that I finished writing a while back and I just can’t get anyone to publish it because it will be hard to market.  But I have a special love for this one for many different reasons and none of them is vanity (okay maybe a little bit) and I want to see it published. So I’ve already lined up a cover artist (a real good one) and I will be editing, revising, and formatting it during the summer for a possible release at the end of the year or beginning of next. I will officially be a hybrid writer and will have benefited from two of the advantages of such label–being and not being in control at the same time.

By the same token, the audience/followers you gather with your publisher will help you sell your self-published books and the opposite holds true as well. It’s like having two engines instead of just one–more power for better results.

As to my Hydra reference it really has nothing to do with writing. Hydra Grant Ward (played by Brett Dalton) of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is so hot I wanted to reward you for reading my post by including him in this post 🙂  Enjoy.brettdalton

 

Finding balance (Or How Not To Go Bonkers)

Finding balance

(Or how not to go bonkers trying to make it as a writer.)

I was reading a friend’s post recently where she mentioned having dreamed all her life of becoming a writer because as an introvert it seemed to be her dream job–on her own, quietly writing away, never having to interact with others.  Like her, I found out how fanciful that dream was. Being a writer may have been at one point an introvert dream job but today is nothing but.

woman-865111_1920

If I was still wondering whether the madness that has become my life since my first book was published was a normal occurrence in this profession, every panel I attended at RT-Atlanta confirmed it certainly was.  Ever since RT I have attended another workshop for authors and the refrain is always the same: market, promote, interact, do, do, do…

Being a writer, it turns out, is not that different from being a parent–nobody ever tells you that after that baby’s born you’ll never have another moment’s peace.

headache

Don’t like to interact with others? You’re in the wrong business.

Don’t like to toot your own horn? Wrong business. No one will do it for you (unless you pay them handsomely)

Never been much of a salesperson? Well, honey get ready to become a salesman extraordinaire.

There are promos to post, reviewers to chase down and win over. Adverts, teasers, banners to design, set up and post. Giveaways to organize, swag to either buy or make, signings, symposiums, workshops, and conferences to attend… are you tired yet?

Oh yeah, and there’s the small matter of actually writing–editing, revising, blurb and synopsis drafting, submitting it to publishers or, if you’re self-published, formatting, finding a cover designer… holy crap, it never ends.

There are online takeovers, interviews, blog tours, newsletters… it’s truly insane.

Daffy Duck

So how do you keep from going totally bonkers? Several writers at RT mentioned a schedule. “A schedule? What’s that? I thought us authors were supposed to be a wild bunch that go with the flow, allowing the muse to determine our path, no deadlines, no commitments.” Right!

So a schedule, as simple an idea as it is, it’s the perfect little tool that may stand between sanity and total madness. I haven’t quite mastered it yet but I fully intend to. Here are some resources that may help you–and me–find that much needed balance in your life as a writer. In the meantime, don’t be shy and share your wisdom in the comments. What does your schedule look like? What things do you do to keep sane among the chaos?

Advice on how to plan your writing day

Useful forms and templates 

Inspiration from famous writers 

An RT Memoir of Sorts

It’s been crazy since I came back from RT Atlanta. I haven’t quite got my bearings back and I have sat a million times–forgive the literary liberty–to write this blog without much success. But I am here now and this post WILL be written.

In case you don’t know RT stands for Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention, a huge affair for both writers and their readers–not to mention the oh-so-lovely male models.

2017RTbooklovers-image

This was my first time at the convention and, even though I was only able to attend for one day, I loved it. I was there Wednesday only, so I missed most of the fun, but I did manage to attend a few panels that day and meet my Hot Tree clan (awesome bunch).

I focused on panels dedicated to marketing, branding, and advertising because–well, I would like to sell my books. So far, and after three published novels, my author’s income wouldn’t feed my feral cat much less my family.

Some of the panels were very good and helpful, others not so much. I will be writing a series of blogs to share the information I gathered from the ones that were indeed great and useful. As you know I’m a pantser so the following might not pan out quite as I planned 🙂

DonnaPanel

  1. Finding balance. Or how not to go bonkers trying to make it as a writer.
  2. The next best thing. Or is being a hybrid author better than it sounds?
  3. Marketing versus selling. The very non-identical twins.
  4. New markets. Or how to reach readers who feel left out.
  5. Successful scripts for ads. Or how to make those few words work for you.

Well, that’s the plan. I can’t promise I’ll stick to it. Come back for the next few weeks to find out if I do (wink, wink) and to get some useful information about the business of writing (romance edition). It’s going to be epic(ish).

coffee-2319259_1920

Lavender Fields-Cover Reveal

 

LAVENDAR_FIELDS_titleblack

by Natalina Reis

 

Print

TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34497411-lavender-fields

One angel to bind you, one angel to save you.

 

Blurb

Sky Heavensent, an angel of death, is charged with the collection of souls of the recently departed. Known to his peers and immediate supervisor, the archangel Gabriel, as the liability, Sky puts his heart and soul into everything he does.

When he meets Caleb Pierce, Sky is immediately smitten. The problem is Caleb is the soul he came to earth to harvest, and saving him means breaking one of the most sacred angelic directives.

Already in too deep, Sky pushes aside the consequences and follows his heart. Danger and mayhem follow, but he will do everything in his power to protect his lavender-eyed man.

LFTeaserDuo

Pre-Order Links

ALL LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

iBooks

Nook

Kobo

Gay Paranormal Romance

#ChickLitMay Book Boyfriend Blog Hop

VOTE FOR JEM–YOU KNOW YOU WANNA!

Hiya! I’m JEREMY PETER but please call me Jem. I’ve always hated my name. That is until my best friend–and love of my life–began calling me that to annoy me, lol. I don’t mind so much now because every time I hear it I’m reminded of her. I get this funny fluttering in my stomach and I’m lost. Love that woman!

But I digress. Why should you vote for me for CLC HQ’s Book Boyfriend 2017? Let me count the ways:

  • I’m good looking–in a boy-next-door, not-really-aware kind of way. Emily Rose claims that her favorite hobby is to run her fingers through my curls and stare into my ocean-blue eyes. You be the judge 😉
Jems Bubble

JEREMY PETER

  • I’m not perfect, not even close. I messed up big with Em but I fessed up to it and will do anything to be forgiven. Even put my life on the line–or go to yoga with my love.
Ems Bubble

Emily Rose (Em)

  • I will eat just about anything, so my sweet Em will never have to worry about cooking for me. I’ll be just as happy going through the drive-through at McDonald’s as eating a gourmet meal. I love food. Period!
Celias Bubble

Celia (Em’s sister)

  • I always support my love to the best of my abilities, even if it means looking like Confucius in drag.
  • I have a great sense of humor. I can make light of any situation. Ask Emily Rose if you don’t believe me. I laughed my way to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Marcys Bubble

Marcy, the witch

  • I’m so the best choice for CLC HQ’s Book Boyfriend 2017! Even magic couldn’t keep me from loving and fighting for my Em.

Vote for me, JEREMY PETER!

You know it’s the right choice.

Print

To buy click here

Send your vote to:  traciebanister@gmail.com

To enter for the Grand Prize

Hop to all the blog stops, collect the candidate’s name at each stop, then submit all 30 names to the address above  in order to be entered in our Grand Prize giveaway. This giveaway includes a Kindle Paperwhite + 30 e-books, one from each of the authors participating in the hop. I will be giving away an e-copy of Loved You Always . Entries for the hop will be accepted until Sunday, May 21st at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 22nd. This Grand Prize giveaway is open internationally.

BookBoyfriendHopGrandPrizeGiveawy

Photo credits:

Picture of Parker Gregory by Mario Testino

Jessica Lu (photographer unknown)

“Celia”‘s picture by Pupulandia

Miss Pandora by Gardrop Kedisi

BLOG STOPS

Tracie Banister 

Becky Monson 

Hilary Grossman 

Glynis Astie  

Jayne Denker  

Jennie Marts  

Barbara Valentin  

Beth Labonte  

Victoria Cooke  

Holly Kerr  

Meredith Schorr 

Stacey Wiedower  

Laurie Baxter 

Jennifer Farwell  

Natalina Reis  

Celia Kennedy  

Beth Carter 

Ellyn Oaksmith 

BJ Knapp  

Lizzie Lamb  

Sylvia Ashby  

Karen M. Cox 

Lindsay Detwiler  

Kirsty McManus  

Melissa Baldwin 

Geralyn Corcillo 

Cassandra O’Leary 

Cat Lavoie 

Kate O’Keeffe  

Monique McDonell