Monday, September 24, 2012



My local chapter is gearing up for their annual conference in a couple of weeks (check out the website 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


Anonymous said...

Right on target as ususal, Joelene. I have yet to boil my books down to a sentence that says it all. It's harder than it sounds.
Sandy B

Joelene Coleman said...

Very difficult. We can write paragraphs, but not sentences...
Thanks Sandy.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Was it Voltaire who said "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I've written a long one instead."?

That was a great class, glad we got to meet each other there! :-)

Wendy S. Hales said...

I want to be you when I grow up. Coat-tail me, Baby!
Great post and food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Omg! lol. Please delete the previous comment. I repasted it when the darn captcha didn't work, copying another post on another blog. What I WANTED to say was: Wow, between the conference and signing, you're going to be pretty busy! And how cool is that to be signing along other greats like Ms. Kenyon. Wendy said it right, I wanna be like you when I grow up :)

Joelene Coleman said...

Too funny! I deleted it. I kept wondering what I'd said that threw me into the mix of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Cameron!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm so glad I took the workshop. Theresa really knows her stuff. Now I just have to put the homework on one document for future use.

See you in her next course, Joelene. I can't wait for it, even if I suspect we'll have tons of homework again. At least we're happier with the branding workshop than we were in the last course we took together. :D

Suzanne Lilly said...

It sounds like Theresa's workshop was terrific. And Sherrilyn Kenyon and you together at a signing? How much better can things get? Congratulations!!!

Joelene Coleman said...

I had a poster made so you can see me in the corner, in case you can't hear me yelling "over here!"

Joelene Coleman said...

Theresa Myers is great. Her next class starts in October through FF&P on blurbs. She's intense, gives lots of homework, but you get your money's worth. So many great ideas.

Anonymous said...

Intersting exercise! Cheers to you for learning more:-)