Tips to Maintain a Consistent Author Brand

“Personal brands have become anvils on which great businesses are forged”
Bernard Kelvin Clive

Sometimes it is easy to get locked into a narrow view of what your brand means and who your audience is. With this article, we hope we can expand your vision as we look at how to maintain a consistent brand across multiple platforms from around the world.

Word of mouth has always been the best form of advertisement, and today word of mouth travels farther than ever before. Thanks to social media and other online platforms your brand can advertise anywhere from across the street to across the world. How do you harness the power of this advertisement strategy? By building a brand people can recognize and trust. And that is easier than you might think.

Thanks to social media and other online platforms your brand can advertise anywhere from across… Click To Tweet

What Are Branding Elements?

brandBranding elements are the aspect of your identity and marketing that will make you stand out from your competitors. Elements include your product’s identity, image, personality and more. In this case, the product is YOU. I know what you’re thinking, “No, Amanda, my product is my book. Duh.” Negative, Grasshopper. When you are marketing and networking you are selling YOURSELF. I realize that sounds… questionable, but hear me out. Can you name every single Stephen King book? Ok, maybe you can show off. But, not everyone can. I bet you would be hard pressed to find a person who didn’t know who Stephen King is. We know him. We know his voice, his style, his story. Erm, stories.

Brandanew has a fantastic post on the ten main elements of building your branding. No sense in reinventing the wheel, so when you’re done here, go read this. (Seriously, finish this post first…)

What Are the Branding Basics?

1. Colors: When someone comes across a company, the colors are the first thing they notice. Studies have shown colors do often influence consumer decisions. Choose complimentary colors to use consistently with your logo, websites, profile images and any other area consumers can “see” you. Color choices should complement the statement you are making as a brand. Not sure what colors to use? Check out this great chart on what colors say about your business.

brand2. Logo: In some cases, your logo may become the most recognizable aspect of your company. It becomes your calling card, so to speak. Your logo options include image-based or text-based (think Coca-Cola or Kellogg’s) or strategically chosen colors. Whichever you choose, it should speak to your consumer and create a connection with them. Your logo will be used across platforms as a profile picture or as part of your cover art on different profiles. Like the colors, it should be used consistently.

3. Voice: Maintaining a consistent brand voice is an important aspect of building consumer trust. Through articles, posts, and updates your business will form a personality that becomes recognizable. A recent article from Clearvoice explains how we can adjust our voice across different platforms while still keeping it true to our business.

Do I Really Need to Brand?

According to an article in Bizcommunity, your brand is your identity, and your identity is a promise to your customers. Author A.L. Mabry shows her audience that she takes writing seriously while promising to take them on fantastical adventures. What promise are you selling?

The Business of Writing Fantasy

I went into writing with the mentality of, “this is going to be a fun way to spend my free time.” Then, when I started having kids, it eventually turned into, “this is going to be my way of keeping my sanity.”

Now, with my kids growing and a new desire to be at home with them rather than out in work force, my mentality towards writing has turned into, “how can I make money through this?” I almost want to punch myself in the face for making it a business. I always hated that way of thinking, but, I suppose I’ve just come to see the reality of life and the struggle in finding happiness.

business of writing fantasyWhy shouldn’t I be making money through something that makes me insanely happy? Something that I have a passion doing? Why should I throw all of my works to the wind if someone else can enjoy what I create?

Writing is an art. Most of us know that. Art takes time, emotion, and effort. It’s something through which we writers can help people, guide people, or just open the eyes of readers through. For me, reading is like a mini vacation. I read fantasy for the sake of escapism. Life is hard, and it’s full of stresses that can stand to be avoided for a couple hours every day with a book. Writing happens to do the same for me; it lowers my stress levels significantly. It clears my mind and gets my blood pumping. I feel amazing when I’m in the zone with writing.

There are some people who write solely for the business of it. The people who write because they know how to structure sentences and have an extensive vocabulary… but they lack emotion. They don’t have the passion for it, and there is no sign of them enjoying the process of sharing a story.

I’ve come to realize that that is what I’ve always hated and told myself I need to avoid–the coldness in writing only to make money.

#reading is like a mini vacation. I read #fantasy for the escapism. @lf_oake #writingtips… Click To Tweet

So, how did I make writing a business without losing my passion of the art?

Easy. I don’t think about it too much–I just write. As in, I don’t focus my mind on, “oh crap, I need to make money. I need to hurry and get this work out so I can get more money in.” If I were to do that, all of my stories would lack any feel to it, and my time and effort in writing would lose its fire. I refuse to let the thought of money change and control my love of the art of writing.

On that note, may I remind my readers how easy it is to tell when the ending of a story is rushed, and when true effort and passion is pushed into the work. How many times have we, as readers, been disappointed in a book because the end was sudden and didn’t tie all the loose ends? 9 out of 10 times, it’s because the writer’s love for what they were doing died or was rushed. If ever I become the kind of writer to write only for money and business, then I have failed as a writer. Maybe even more than that. In a sense, I will have failed as a person.

Anyone who gives up their passion for the sake of money and power has lost a piece of himself/herself. Don’t let the business of writing take away from what has made you a good writer in the first place. If you’re anything like me, a “writer” is a part of who you are.

 

Breaking Down the Blurb

Writing your story was hard, but now you have a new challenge to face, boiling it all down to 150 words. In other words, it’s time to write the blurb. Your blurb is the bit of writing on the back of your book that invites the reader to read your book. This is crucial because it means whether a potential reader with actually pick up your book or pass on it. So where do we begin?

Come up with a pair of words to describe your protagonist. This could be an adjective, like gifted, unorthodox, street-smart, adventurous, or outgoing, and their occupation, like fire fighter, college student, stay-at-home mom, or 16-year-old girl.

Now what makes your protagonist unique? Does he have magical powers he’s hiding? Is she a secret jewel thief? What makes them stand out from all the other books’ protagonists?

Now, it’s time to put it all together. Adventurous 16-year-old girl Eva seems like a normal teenager, but at night she turns into notorious jewel thief, the Black Cat.

Next, introduce the story world. This is especially important for new fantasy worlds you’re creating and for historical romance where place and time are so important. For example: It’s the roaring twenties and the colorful town of Smith’s Creek is hiding more than just a speakeasy.

Now it’s time to introduce your story problem. You need to introduce your protagonist’s story goal, the conflict keeping them from achieving their goal, and what’s at stake. For example: Eva just needs one more big heist to get away from her abusive handler who’s raised her when a rival thief shows up out of nowhere. A couple years older and wiser than her, he’s a pro and he keeps sabotaging her plans. Will she ever get the Riera diamond and be able to escape this life? This explains the problem, her goal, and what’s at stake for her.

ractapopulous / Pixabay

Now that we’ve looked at what goes into the blurb, let’s look at some tips for writing the blurb.

  • Focus your blurb on one character, your protagonist. You may have several main characters, but just focus on one. If you mention any other character, it should be from the protagonist’s perspective. Don’t try to talk about too many people and complicate the blurb with sub plots.
  • Be specific about conflict. What does your protagonist do to reach her goal? What obstacles are set in her way?
  • Focus on the highlights. Your blurb should be two paragraphs maximum.
  • Don’t waste time describing your theme. Your theme should be apparent without fluffy descriptions about how your reader will feel good after reading your book.
  • Keep it simple and concise. Don’t try to impress your reader with fancy vocabulary and long, convoluted sentences. Keep it interesting and clear.
  • Just like we leave out other characters, we leave out subplots. Focus on your protagonist and the main story conflict.
  • This is not the synopsis. So do not include the ending. You want to entice others to read your story, so don’t give away spoilers.

Writing the blurb is an important part of selling our story. Take these tips and go out and write the best blurb you can. What are your tips for writing blurbs? Share below and happy writing.

Keep your blurb simple and concise. @hijinkswriter #writingadvice #writingtips #OurWriteSide Click To Tweet

Julia

Follow my blog and Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration. Find me on Facebook for weekly prompts.

The Stress of Not Writing

Stress, in general, is the reaction of the body to intense conditions around it. Could be physical, mental, or emotional. I’ve read dozens of articles about the stress of writing but none on the stress of NOT writing.  It exists and can be a huge source of depression and anxiety.

Here at OurWriteSide.com, I have this weekly column, feature articles, and journal submissions. So far I have pretty much fulfilled those commitments. I admit the current political climate and my recent health issues haven’t helped…file those under ‘Life’.  Add in daily issues (and I don’t have kids), and the desire to not let my housed disintegrate around me into a pile of clutter, time to write my own fiction gets chipped away.

I’ve read comments on Facebook from authors about the intense emotions they are experiencing because life events keep them from being able to concentrate on writing. They experience feelings of sadness, irritation, sleep difficulties, frustration, confusion, inability to concentrate, and many other symptoms.

Anxiety may rise with excessive worry and/or fear. Thoughts may seem to be on a circular track, going over and over the issues at hand. Then there are the physical reactions: shaking, psoriasis, picking, and lack of appetite or overeating.

Writing is our calling, our outlet, the expression of the worlds inside our minds.  Just as others might paint, dance, sculpt, to release their expressions, we need the time and space to release ours. When we don’t then the frustration builds.  That energy MUST take other outlets, some unhealthy, in order to let off steam before the body/mind melts down.

Even among life’s stressors, we must carve out the time to calm our minds and care for ourselves. In the end, it pays off for everyone because you are a happier person. Like the old sentiment, ‘If Mama ain’t happy; ain’t nobody happy’.

I’ve been dealing with a feeling of increasing distance from my novels.  Plot ideas swarm around me and I jot them down but never seem to get started on anything longer than a short story. What to do?

  1. I am turning off the TV news shows, then the other shows that drone in the background.
  2. I work best in the afternoon. So I will schedule daily duties for the morning and make a commitment to go into my office (or wherever you can find a peaceful environment) and work.
  3. I will limit my outside writing to one day a week. Okay, maybe two if it is a journal submission and I am on a roll.
  4. I will limit my online media time. I get caught in a time-suck of Facebook, Twitter, and Groups.
  5. I will limit (not omit) my response to requests from other people for marketing, assistance, readings, and submissions. I know it is important to pass on information and assist others but when you reach the point where it takes from your work, it needs to be limited.

As I’ve told my publisher and OWS staff, I write, it’s what I do.  But the truth is I am not writing the stories I want to write.  So it is time to go back and clean house.  Sweep out the clutter so I can see what is important.

If this is happening to you, consider reading about the effects of stress and anxiety.  Continue on with ways to decrease the effects without giving in to alcohol or drugs. Restructure your life to include your writing. Carry your notebook everywhere.

 

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