Author Branding: Rituals, Pagans and Conferences…Oh My!
Posted by Jen Talty
There isn’t much to say about rituals other than they are repeated meaningful interactions you have with your readers. It starts with the promise you made to your readers when you published your first book, since that is generally the first introduction your readers have into your world.
It used to be the author ritual consisted of a few media interactions during release, a book tour, book signings and then disappears to write the next bestseller. Today’s author can’t afford to shut down and shut off.
Meanwhile, Bob is heading “down the hall” to his writing office where there is no Internet. The difference is he’s not shutting down for months on end. He knows the new rituals of the digital author have to be fulfilled pretty much on a daily basis, but the most important ritual for the author is still CONTENT: the book.
You can look at the Area 51 as a ritual. Why? Because Bob’s readers are chomping at the bit to get the next installment. We constantly get emails asking if there will be more in this series (as well as other series). Of course, Bob responded with Nightstalkers (and oh boy is this one good!)
All this branding stuff I’m throwing out here is very important to long-term success, but nothing is more important than writing the book. You don’t create rituals and relationships with readers without a book. You can’t create a brand without a product: the book.
Or Non-believers. Pagans come in various sizes and shapes. Pagans are often your competition, so not necessarily an adversary, but simply another product. Coke versus Pepsi. The Buffalo Sabres versus Boston Bruins. Nora Roberts versus Jen Talty. Okay, the last one is a stretch, but you get the point.
The reason why Pagans of this variety are important is they help define who we are. 7-Up became the un-cola. Wendy’s asked “where’s the beef?” and Taco Bell told us to “think outside the bun.” But first you have to figure out who your non-believers are and then you can focus on those who might be believers. People who have to have their Starbucks every morning are not the same personality type as those who drink instant coffee. People who prefer to read Stephen King are probably not going to enjoy a Jen Talty romantic suspense novel…ah, but perhaps a Nora Roberts fan might.
Defining what you are not is just as important as defining what you are.
Once you do that you can learn to take with a grain of salt someone who hates your book for the simple reason it wasn’t their brand of coffee. They are not your readership and therefore the repeated meaningful ritual will not actually be repeated and that’s okay, focus on where those rituals will be repeated.
I’m heading to the Romance Writer’s of America New England Chapter Conference; Let Your Imagination Take Flight where I will be presenting a workshop on how to get the most out of your conference experience and tips on pitching. This was the very first conference I ever attended and I believe it was the very first time Bob and I meet. Well, I had heard him speak before, but this was the first time I had a conversation with him, so I find it very fitting that I’m giving this workshop at this conference. I also just registered for BEA in June and Bob and I have already begun our planning for what my goals will be at this conference. Planning is key to making a conference more than a success, but an experience.
Conferences are important rituals to the writer’s life because they put us with a group of people who actually understand.
I’m also really looking forward to this conference because my good friend Dena De Paulo’s debut novella Painted with Pleasure is a finalist in the Bean Pot Readers Contest. The only negative is Dena is making me wear a Tiara. Don’t ask. But I’m so excited for her. This being her first book and all. Validation is important, whether we want to admit it or not and I’m honored to be there for one of the nicest women I have ever met.
Write It Forward
About Jen TaltyPublishing Consultant, Author of Romantic Suspense and Co-Creator of Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer.
Posted on April 27, 2012, in Author Branding and tagged Area 51, Bob Mayer, Cool Gus, Jen Talty, Nightstalkers, Nora Roberts, Ritual, Stephen King, Write It Forward. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.