WHO EXACTLY ARE YOU?
My local chapter is gearing up for their annual conference in a couple of weeks (check out the website http://www.utahrwa.com/HOWConference.html if you want more details) and of course the focus of conference is the chance to pitch to an agent or publisher—hopefully getting a request to see your work.
However, we focus so much on what to put on those cue cards we forget an even more important purpose. Believe it or not, selling your book isn't the most important thing an author should focus on. NO? My hair is blowing back by your gasps.
I just finished an amazing online course on "branding" taught by author Theresa Myers and as usual, I've learned something completely new, more challenging, but necessary to furthering my career. I have to step out of the comfort zone again. My skin has just started feeling comfortable, but now I need to shed another layer. Wish that meant a new, wrinkle-free and younger me, but alas, I write fantasy and live reality.
Here's what the course focused on. You are selling YOU, not your books. She asked us to post 3 things we wanted to be known for when someone heard our author name. Here's mine:
* Edgy, racy teen reads
* Emotionally charged stories
* Unforgettable characters
Edgy teen reads about choices and consequences, relationship issues, and self discovery.
Next, we were to find the common thread in our stories – the core. Mix, simmer, and boil down to what will become our tagline. This scared my inner goddess. I love my tagline. It represents me on both a personal level and in my writing. I'm a mother, wife, and daughter, constantly being called upon to fix my superheroes messes. I write teen romance about heroes and heroines without the sage wisdom of age, but having young hearts full of passion that rule their heads. Luckily, when I reached the boiled down version, I was close enough to keep my tag.
MIX: Everyone has relationship issues, suffers betrayal, falls in love, and gets their heart broken. Every choice has a consequence, some harder than others. Learn how to survive and take from the life lesson learned, what you need to grow. Forgive yourself. Even superheroes make mistakes.
SIMMER: Choices have consequences, relationships are messy, but broken hearts mend. Embrace life's lessons, forgive yourself and grow. Even superheroes get caught in their capes.
BOIL: Sometimes superheroes get caught in their capes. "Untangling superheroes from their capes" sticks.
Of course there was a mass amount of other information through the week long course, but this helped me identify who I am as an author, not just what my books are about. I represent my own business and the shingle I hang on myself has to promote me…my business. If I were a lawyer, or doctor, it wouldn't be about my clients or patients. It would be about what I do.
I'm in the process of updating my shingle on all the "shop sites" to promote me instead of "Riley's Pond." My books will become "references" and I will become the brand. Changing strategy also allows for growth in my career. I'm not limited to just my young adult stories. As "Author Harley Brooks," I can write whatever genre I choose, and those stories will help color my brochure.
Harley Brooks. "Untangling superheroes from their capes through edgy, emotionally charged young adult stories, filled with unforgettable characters discovering life is sometimes messy."
So Author…who art thou?
By the way, I'll be participating in a book signing event with Sherrilyn Kenyon and other talented authors in Park City at the Deer Valley Resort, October 6th, from 5:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m. Come by and say "HI!"
As always, thanks for stopping by! Joelene