Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Branding, Keep It Simple Sister!

Today Lisa M. Campbell, one of my favorite guest bloggers, offers some well-thought-out advice on branding. If you're a genre writer, you should pay attention.

Nowadays you can't have a serious discussion about writing and book promoting without hearing the word brand thrown into the conversation.

What is branding, and why is it necessary for writers to use this technique? Take a moment and think of your favorite authors. What is it about their stories that keeps you into a repeat customer? Why do you search for one particular author first, before checking out someone else who may write in a similar manner?

When I began writing historical romance, I defined my style simply, Where romance begins…. I wanted readers to understand no matter what dramatic, treacherous or humorous events occur in the plot, I would never shortchange them on the romantic development of my main characters. Where romance begins…, is the tag line upon which I build my particular brand of romance.

Eventually I branched out to paranormal erotica under the pen name Marie March, and soon realized the WRB tag line, while perfect for my historical novels, didn't necessarily speak to the unrestrained sexual element of my shorter works. I needed a tag line that packed a bit more oomph, something that set my paranormal erotica apart from others writing in the genre.

If you look me up on MySpace, I bill my erotica as stories that feature sinister, yet sexy vampires, earth and sky Faeries, Fallen Angels, and nubile Nymphs with a heat rating that falls anywhere between sensual and scorching. Although this description reads well for MySpace, how could I begin to translate everything into a succinct memorable tag line?

After some thought, I whittled down the above descriptor to three words--you read that correctly. Remember, a good rule of thumb is KISS! Keep it simple sister! Think of any annoying television jingle and you will understand why the rule of three works. For example, one magazine ad that sticks in the corner of my brain is, got milk? It's certainly clear what the advertisers are pushing, and with two simple words, the entire dairy industry is represented.

In the end, branding plays a large part in an author's success; it's what initially draws a reader to your work. Staying true to your brand is what the reader expects, and ultimately, the reason that keeps your readers coming back for more.

Learn more about Lisa M. Campbell and her wonderful writing at:
Where romance begins…
sin~sational romance!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Face to Facebook

Recently I've been trying to respond to some of the most frequently asked questions, on the theory that if one new author asked, a dozen more want to know the same thing. Here's one about social media:

My publisher is pushing me (and rightfully so) to make better use of Facebook, but I find I'm reluctant to do a big promo push when I have so many personal contacts and communications on my profile (young family members, church friends, etc.). I know that I can do an "Author Page" (like a fan page, although it doesn't have to be called that), but I think maybe I should have an Author Page, and Author Profile, and then a whole separate profile for personal contacts and family networking, etc. Do you have any advice?

I understand your conflict concerning Facebook. I think it’s good to separate “social” networking from “business” networking.

I personally have only one Facebook page but as you can see if you visit it, there is very little there about my personal life. My page was created primarily as a marketing vehicle although I hope it’s a friendly one.

Authors who really ARE social on Facebook should establish a separate author fan page. Your profile and postings should be oriented to your writing, and it’s a good place to keep people up to date on your writing career.

Each Facebook page should be established based on a different email address. After you set up your Author page you should send a notice to all your friends at the original page suggesting they become a “fan” as well, at the new page. I would also suggest that you place restrictions on your original Facebook page so that no one can access the information unless they know your email address. That way, strangers who are looking for you on Facebook will flow to your fan page, and only actual friends will be checking out your personal page.

When you have free time, you can go to the profile of each of your fans and friends and message their friends with something like, “We have a friend in common – XXXX - and I’d like to be your friend too.” I did that until I got to 500 and now have people finding me (I currently have 640 friends.)

Just be sure on your new page that you work in some personal stuff that’s writing related: how you feel about the manuscript you’re working on now, who you met that inspired you, etc. Even on your writing site, people want to know YOU, not just your stories.