Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Image is Everything

Breaking Delia's Rules
W. Lynn Chantale

My latest attempt at a book launch fizzled. I had no idea what I was doing and my publisher at the time knew even less. So I stopped and regrouped. When I decided to become serious about writing I figured e-books were the way to go. After all I wouldn’t have to do traditional book signings or TV interviews--I’ll be honest I’m not a big fan of crowds, the telephone, or even leaving the house for long periods of time. But I still needed to get my name out there. Thank goodness for the Internet.

After much searching I found several articles on Branding and attended a meeting at my local chapter of RWA on the same topic. So what is Branding? What does this term mean? It’s a good or service that consumers connect with a name, slogan, or logo.

Examples
Have it Your Way - Burger King
The Golden Arches - McDonald’s
It’s in there - Prego Spaghetti sauce

Or how about these: Worlds of Adventure...Souls of Desire...
Unstoppable Heroes, Uncompromising Love, Unforgettable Passion
Where words mean so much more...
She’ll keep you up all night

Recognize any of those? They are all tag lines from various romance authors’ blogs or websites. The first is Emma Lai, second is Kayelle Allen, third is Em Petrova and last is Jackie Collins. I know what’s she doing in the midst of all these steamy writers? Just to show that even a NYTimes bestselling author has branded herself.

But then there are some authors or products which need no slogans, like Stephen King, Nora Roberts or Kleenex or Kodak. Automatically one thinks of horror, romance, tissue, and cameras. None of that recognition would have been achieved if branding hadn’t been accomplished.
So, how does one accomplish branding? I thought this would be something difficult, but turns out, it’s fairly easy. First get your name out there! Make it easy for readers to find you. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter or Myspace readers should be able to find you by name. Not a nickname or something cutesy, but by your name or slogan. And those aren’t the only places you can brand yourself. Use your email signature line, GoodReads, Blogs, Online Communities, (Eharlequin, ARe Cafe, Savvy Authors, The Romance Review, etc.) articles, blogs you visit, email address, websites. Note: a word on websites--even if you don’t have one now, buy the domain name. You don’t want to put in all this hard work building your image, cultivating your brand just to have someone else take all the credit. People need to know who you are and what you’re about.
I will confess when I first set up my Twitter account I used a nickname, as soon as I heard that tidbit from an avid reader and blogger I came home and changed my name. After all, everything else says W. Lynn Chantale, why not Twitter?
Keeping this in mind what image do you want to convey to readers? Do you write dark, sensual love stories? Then your site needs to reflect that. Sci-fi/fantasy or historical romance? Something relevant should be in the header, like a group of sexy men (great site Kayelle). Or if you’re a closet romantic and want to convey that image; well a pink background, red roses, and maybe a picture of a bubble bath is the way to go. *grins* However you decide to build your name, your image, your brand—this is how readers will find and remember you. So make it count, get your name out there, and have some fun while doing it.
Until next time, indulge your inner romantic.

Seducing His Wife
W. Lynn Chantale
About the Author

W. Lynn Chantale resides in southeastern Michigan. Married to her high school sweetheart, they’ve been together for the last twenty years. They have three children. She writes African-American and Interracial sensual erotic and erotic romance. She has a mad affinity for milk chocolate, preferably Dove chocolate truffles or the caramel-filled squares (Godiva and Ghiradelli are acceptable), and plays the bass guitar when the Muse begs for a bit of distraction.

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