Posted by Jen Talty
Wow. It’s hard to believe that I have been working at WDWPUB now for two years. Not only that, but we’ve already meet our 3 year business plan and are currently rewriting next year’s plan, three years from now and five years from now. Planning is a key ingredient to success. Everything we have done we have done for a reason and our main mission is the still the same. Write quality books that readers can enjoy at a low cost. We can write great books (content is king) but if no one downloads them (promotion is queen) have we really met our goals? Putting your books up for sale at a fair price is one marketing tool. Social media is another. Getting reviews, still another. Blogging? Another form of getting the “word out there”. It’s all a part of this thing called branding. But its only one part and recently I read Primalbranding by Patrick Hanlon and its got me thinking about a lot of things.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” To boil that down, basically your brand is the promise you are making to your customers. Hey, if you go with Gieco, they will save you 15% on your car insurance, but if you go with All State, you are in good hands. Each company is a household name and depending on which one of these slogans you identify with will dictate which company you are likely to call upon when in need of insurance.
I’ve spent this week working with a new WDWPUB author, Mary Reed McCall and trying to get her cover just right for the re-release of one of her backlist books. We are at the 24th cover design. We know the color background, lettering, and female image, but are still tweaking the male image and placement of the all the images. However, the one thing we are in total agreement with is branding the look and feel of her books. The background vintage image in different colors will key as well as using the same type of lettering. When I created the covers for We Are Not Alone and Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer I worked very hard to make sure the two covers were similar as to pull the brand Kristen has been working on.
We worked hard in branding the Area 51 books, giving them all a different look, but making sure there was the same basic layout and feel so that the reader could see these books were part of a series. The more books an author has, the harder it becomes partly because you don’t want them to all look and feel the same. It gets even harder when the author writes in various genres, like Bob does. We had to try to make sure in a small way the science fiction books were tied together as well as the thrillers, so when we came up with the Jefferson Allegiance Concept the idea was to bring history and present day together. The next book in the series will have to fit that bill. The next book in the DHC series will also have to have a similar look and feel. All of his books have one common thread–they are based in facts. This all helps brand Bob Mayer as the author who writes factual fiction. No offense to the best business partner ever, but Bob Mayer is not a ‘brand name’. He is a brand and is doing all the necessary things to become a ‘brand name’, but still, not a household name.
But these are all just bits and pieces of what goes into creating a brand and for the past couple of years we have been working on creating the Bob Mayer brand. There is a philosophy that because Bob wrote in so many genres he did himself a great disservice. I say ba-hum-bug to that. He writes factual fiction rich in history regardless of genre. So how does one go from being just another author who writes legal thrillers to…John Grishm THE author who writes legal thrillers. Well, you have to wait until he dies…
Actually, that is not far from the truth. For the big household names there is only so much room at the top. Not everyone can be Stephen King. With all that said, personal branding can be accomplished. Going viral is possible. Stephanie Meyer isn’t THE author who writes Vampires, but she is THE author who writes the Twilight series. Bob Mayer isn’t the author who writes thrillers, he’s THE author who writes factual based thrillers and he’s THE author we need to get to know.
WRITE IT FORWARD
Bob and I will be teaching a 6 week on-line workshop on how to successfully self-publish starting 1 November. The class is $30 and we will cover all the aspects of self-publishing that we have learned over the last two years. Check out the details here.