Books, Publishing, and the Creative Life

Posts tagged ‘NorLightsPress’

Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work

Today is the official launch date for Deb Snyder’s new book, Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work. 9780990686224

  • If you’re struggling with a job you hate, this book is for you.
  • If you work with people who drive you crazy, this book is for you.
  • If you want to change careers but have no idea where to begin, this book is for you.
  • If you’re totally stressed by your life, this book is for you.

Spiritual teacher Deb Snyder tells us, “Everything in life is connected. We can’t expect to live happy lives if we’re miserable at work. Not only do we spend about 50 hours per week at our jobs, we end up wasting precious energy complaining about work during our off hours.  This often leads to frustration and disappointment with our friends and family who’ve heard it all, again and again. Yet, within us, we each have the power to create working lives that are both pleasant for us and profitable for our employers. It’s up to us to make changes in our own hearts and actions.”

Ignite Calm takes the steps of embracing conscious business qualities, teaching how to bring your best self to work each and every day and discover true happiness while on the job, no matter what the job.

Also Featuring 12 CALM Conscious Collaboration Exercises with Holistic Practitioners and Self-Development Experts 

  • David B. Goldstein
  • Jennifer Crews
  • Elizabeth Harper
  • Deane Driscoll
  • Tam Veilleux
  • Lynne McGhee
  • Sunny Dawn Johnston
  • Dede Eaton
  • Sue Yarmey
  • Evelyn C. Rysdyk
  • Suzanne Silvermoon
  • Lisa Holcomb
  • and a foreword by Lisa McCourt

 This book is already listed as a Hot New Release on Amazon.com.  I know you’re going to love it!   

Deb Snyder Ph.D. is an inspirational speaker, personal development teacher, and award-winning author of four books for adults and kids. She holds a doctorate in metaphysical philosophy and empowers people to live their best lives through embracing their own unique challenges, opportunities, and blessings. Deb offers her heart-centered services in workshops and private sessions worldwide to individuals, businesses, and groups of all sizes. She is also founding director of The HeartGlow Center, a public charity focused on wellness and conscious living.

Click here for more information: http://ignitecalm.info/      Click here to purchase: http://dld.bz/d2a2a

The Anatomy of Fear

9781935254973What are we afraid of, and why do we love being scared by movies?

This question occupied my mind during the time we edited and published our newest book The Anatomy of Fear.  I am a wimp when it comes to horror movies, but I do enjoy a good scare. Both genres tap into a shady part of the human psyche. Horror wants us to laugh when we’re uncomfortable, keep looking when we want to turn away, and live with a total lack of happy endings.  And because no one expects horror films to toe the line, they get to flirt with madness and imperfection while making the most interesting, controversial observations.

The Anatomy of Fear explores all this, and more. Filmmakers Chris and Kathleen Vander Kaay interview 21 horror and science-fiction film writers and directors to get the inside story on the scared-womaninspiration, creation, and behind-the-scenes experiences of box office blockbusters.

This book is not about films, exactly; it’s about the conversations those films create. All the films and the discussions with filmmakers have something to say about society, religion, sex, death, and the universal fears that connect us to each other in a fundamental way that no language or common interest ever could.

The Anatomy of Fear explores all the permutations of this, and more, in ongoing conversations with all the horror and thriller writers and directors you’d most love to meet:

John Bruno

Jeff Burr

Stephen Chiodo

Thom Eberhardt

Larry Fessenden

Alec Gillis

Tom Holland

Eric Luke

William Malone

Jim Mickle

Glen Morgan

Lance Mungia

William F. Nolan

J.T. Petty

Eric Red

Eduardo Sanchez

Jack Sholder

George Sluizer

Ethan Wiley

S.S. Wilson

William Wisher

The Anatomy of Fear is essential reading for every horror movie buff.  Buy the book and see the movies!

attitude-affects-workSammie Justesen is a publisher with NorLightsPress and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014. She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A great investment for writers

Are You Ready to Publish?

If only it was this easy!

If only it was this easy!

If you’re an author who wants to publish soon, don’t let all the free, helpful advice from writers, publishers, and vendors persuade you to launch a book without taking the proper steps. Many published authors wish theycould take back ugly book covers, unedited stories, and cheesy book titles.  Even worse, many other published authors don’t even KNOW how horrible their books are.

If you’re getting close to publication, consider these eleven points:

EDITING: Has your manuscript been edited by a professional? This is a vital step for all writers, and even more important if you plan to self-publish. Your cousin who’s an English teacher and works cheap does not count as a professional editor.  A professional editor will go beyond finding typos and provide critical feedback you won’t get from friends and relatives.

INDUSTRY RESEARCH: Stay abreast of trends and changes inside the publishing industry by following news reports, blogs, and your favorite publishers’ web sites.

KNOW YOUR GENRE: What authors are hot in your genre? Why are they doing so well?  Who’s reading their books? Study these writers and learn why they’re successful. If your book doesn’t fit a specific genre, that’s a problem. A book without a genre is handicapped from the start.

ARE YOU MARKETING NOW?  You should already be marketing by networking, building a fan base, and making contacts. I know this is a challenge  for introverted writers—Self publishing 1but that’s another good reason to start early. Even as you write the book, begin reaching out to other writers and fans in your genre.  With over 300,000 books published every year, you can’t depend on good luck to sell a new title. If you hire a publicist, you’ll still need to carry on by yourself once the initial marketing push is over.

WRITE A PROPOSAL WITH A MARKETING PLAN: Even if you plan to self-publish, you should create a traditional book proposal for your own use.  The proposal should include a one-page summary of your book, a comparison to other books, a marketing plan, an author biography, and broad chapter outlines.  Are you writing a novel or memoir? Do a proposal anyway.  You’ll be glad you did. (You can find half a dozen excellent books on writing the perfect proposal).

SET MODEST GOALS: Many authors fall into despair and stop marketing when don’t sell a thousand books the first month or make the Amazon bestseller list. Be happy with local book signings, reviews, and accolades.  Keep reaching for the stars, but remember you first have to launch something. Book sales are never guaranteed and no one (not even the big publishers) can predict what will happen with a book. Fame is almost always created by hard work and perseverance. Follow the blogs of successful authors like Hugh Howey and J.A. Konrath, who clawed their way to top and now help other writers.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT: Is book publishing just a check mark on your bucket list? If so, then finish your book, give it away to family and friends, sell a few copies, and move on. But if you’re passionately committed to writing and publishing—if you were born with a writing gene—then settle in for a long trip. Learn the craft, study the markets, join groups, and cultivate patience.

self publishing 3 BE PATIENT: Did I mention this before? Impatience can damage the relationship with your publisher and (if you’re self-publishing) cause you to turn out a shoddy product because you don’t wait to get things right. Everything in book publishing and marketing takes a while. Getting a book into print can be tedious and exacting. And then, when the initial excitement wears off, you wonder why the book isn’t selling the way you expected. You’re embarrassed and discouraged—tempted to give up. Publishers know it can take years to make back the money we invest in a book. If you stop marketing, you may never show a profit. Some books are slow starters, build momentum, and eventually begin selling. Other books catch on when a news story makes them timely.  Still other books begin selling when the author’s next book attracts new fans.

COVER DESIGN: Don’t go cheap, and don’t do it yourself.  Enough said.

BE SAVVY: Self-published authors support an industry of  printers, designers, editors, publicists, and firms that want to do everything for you. Amazon, Ingram, Author self publishing 5House, Writers Digest—the list is almost endless. Remember, the products they produce are only as good as the material you give them. Make sure you know what you’re paying for and check the competition before you invest.

YOUR NEXT BOOK: Plan on releasing another book within six months to a year. This will help you stop obsessing about book sales and give you something to talk about online.

DON”T CONTRIBUTE TO THE MASSIVE LOAD OF BAD BOOKS:

As a publisher who loves books, I beg you to perform due diligence with your work, especially if you’re an author-publisher.  As Chuck Wendig says in a blog rant:

Publishing isn’t an art — publishing is a business. A creative business, a weird business, but a business just the same, and so it behooves you to treat this like a business and to put out the best work you can. The overall property values of a neighborhood go up when you tend to your own yard — the more author-publishers who commit to doing their best and not just regurgitating warm story-barf into every conceivable nook and cranny of the Internet are going to contribute to an overall improvement. If you want the stink out of the air, spray a little perfume, you know? In short: we can all do better, so do better.”

attitude-affects-workSammie Justesen is a publisher with NorLightsPress and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014. She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A great investment for writers

 

Author Collaboration, For Better or Worse

Author collaboration 2NorLightsPress has published several books as collaborations between two authors and/or artists. In most cases this is a win-win-win situation, but not always. A few of our authors have ended up hating each other. A book partnership can quickly turn dysfunctional when the partners fail to work out certain things in advance.  Then they find themselves squabbling over a book that binds them together, for better or worse. Consider these possible scenarios:

You write the entire book and then your partner decides it shouldn’t be published, for whatever reason.

Your partner decides she wants cash up front from you (a buyout) instead of half the royalties.

Your partner doesn’t meet deadlines and you end up doing most of the work, yet she still wants her name on the book and half the royalties.

You and your partner can’t agree whether to self- publish or seek a traditional publisher.

Your partner is obsessive about details and you’re the opposite. You drive each other nuts.

Your partner turns out to be crazy. (This happens more often than you’d believe).

At NorLightsPress, we suffer along with the authors when personal feuds erupt. If a publisher senses there will be legal issues over royalties, negative comments in social media, and overall bad feelings about a book—they will cancel your book contract in a heartbeat.

How can authors avoid collaboration hell? The post below from Helen Sedwick is the best advice I’ve seen for working with other writers, artists, and editors.

21 Tips for Creating a Successful Writing Collaboration

Author collaboration 1 By Helen Sedwick for TheBookDesigner.com (Joel Friedlander’s excellent web page)

When a writing collaboration works, partners inspire and complement one other. The creative process is less lonely. But when collaborations fail, the drama may be as ugly as a Hollywood divorce.

For every successful writing partnership, there are dozens of failed ones despite the best of intentions. Not everyone is a team player, and not every team is a winner.

To improve the odds of a successful writing partnership take the time to put the collaboration agreement in writing. Most people resist this idea. Like a prenuptial agreement, it kills the romance. They don’t realize the process of preparing an agreement may be more valuable than the result. If writers do a good job discussing issues at the start, they are less likely to have misunderstandings later.

Making Decisions

So before you jump into a co-writing project, discuss and write out the following:

  1. Describe the Project
    Fiction, nonfiction, memoir? Try to craft your elevator speech. Even better, create an outline.
  2. Draw a Creations Box
    I mean this literally. Draw a box and write down what creations are inside the box (and project) and what creations are outside the box and may be used by the partners separately. Sequels, prequels, and competitive works? What about rejected ideas, characters, and scenes?
  3. Discuss Personal Goals
    The most successful partners share common goals. If one partner’s objective is to make money with a genre piece and the other dreams of creating literature, expect friction. I suppose the partners might agree that their diverging goals will be complementary, but head-butting may be unavoidable.
  4. Describe the Writing Process
    Will one partner write out the story in narrative form, and the other flesh out scenes and dialogue? Will you draft chapters and trade them for comments? Some writers work well brainstorming together; others prefer a silent room. How often and how will you meet?
  5. Set Ground Rules for Critiques
    How will you give and receive criticism and comments? Some partners handle bluntness and sarcasm without missing a beat, but most require a gentler touch. The longer you work together, the easier it gets. Remember your partner’s criticism may be a gift; she cares enough to help make the work better.
  6. Set Realistic Deadlines
    Expect the project to take at least twice as long as planned.
  7. Specify Ownership
    Unless you agree otherwise, all partners own equal shares in jointly-created work. Plus each partner has the power to sell or license the work without the other partner’s consent (although income must be shared). Yes, a partner who contributes 5% gets an equal share UNLESS you agree otherwise. Put your ownership percentages in writing. Agree that no partner may sell, license, or transfer any interest in the project without the consent of the other partner. Register the copyright under all names, or the pen name, or all of the above.
  8. Allocate Income
    I recommend the partner who had the original idea own the majority interest, even if it is a token amount (51%/49% split). That little bit saves resentment later. If one partner handles readings and conferences that partner should keep a larger portion of sales made at the events.
  9. Decide on Credits
    Will both names appear on the work and in what order? Will credits be listed as A and B, A with B, or A as told to B? Will you use a pen name?
  10. Deal With Expenses
    If one partner pays for research, editing, design, and marketing, does that partner recoup expenses before income is shared? If income never covers expenses, does the other partner kick in his share?
  11. Assign Non-Writing Tasks
    Who will engage editors and designers, negotiate contracts, handle interviews, and manage social media? Assign tasks. Don’t take the shortcut of saying responsibilities will be shared equally. It never happens. People gravitate to the tasks they do better, and unpleasant work will be left undone.
  12. Plan for Conflict
    You will have disagreements. View them as a sign that something is not working in the manuscript. Listen to each other. Let go of your ego, and look at the problem a new way, your partner’s way. If you cannot agree, decide up front who gets the final say. If the project was one partner’s idea, typically that partner decides. Or pick a third party trusted by both sides.
  13. No Door Slamming
    Agree that neither of you will quit without giving the other party notice of what’s not working and a chance to fix it. Respect requests for cooling-off periods.
  14. Address Legal Responsibilities
    Each partner should promise that all work contributed will be original, will not be defamatory or infringing, and will not invade privacy or other rights. If the partner breaches, that partner should cover costs and liabilities. Don’t be foolish about this. If your partner introduces material you suspect is problematic, rewrite it or reject it. No matter what your agreement says, both of you may be responsible to third parties.
  15. Call it a Collaboration
    Although I have referred to writing partners, the agreement should state that the parties are collaborating for a specified project and are not creating a general partnership.
  16. Face Death or Disability
    What if one of you gets hit by the proverbial bus? Does the other have the right to finish the project with an equitable adjustment in ownership and income? Does all decision-making authority transfer to the surviving partner, or will the heirs or representatives of the deceased or disabled partner have a say?
  17. Deal with Termination
    If the partnership terminates, who owns the work? Who has the right to complete the project? There are no right answers here. The partners need to talk this out.

Respect and Communicationauthor collaboration 3

A writing partnership is like any other relationship; it thrives on respect and communication. As you work on the project, keep the following in mind:

  1. Nip Resentment in the Bud
    If you are feeling unfairly burdened, take the chance of bringing it up. The sooner the better.
  2. Let the little stuff slide
    Entering into a collaboration involves giving up some control. Your partner may have a different approach to a scene, character, or problem. Consider that a good thing. This is why you are working as a team. Laugh together, especially when everything is going wrong.
  3. Reward Yourselves
    When you finish each chapter, share a bottle of champagne. When you complete the first draft, take yourselves out to dinner.
  4. Keep Communicating
    Years ago, a friend told me the motto of a happy marriage: “I can’t read your f**king mind!” The same is true in writing collaborations.

Sammie Justesen is a publisher with NorLightsPress and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014. She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A great investment for writers

A great investment for writers

New review of Dialogue for Writers

This is a wonderful little book. I’ve published five books — three medical books and two literary books — and I thought I had figured it all out,until I ran into this little treasure titled: Dialogue For Writers. Like Justesen, I too learned that clumsy substitutes for the verb “said” interrupt the flow, but that became even more clear when I read this comprehensive book — an absolutely must-have tool for every would-be author. This book can transform a writer into an author, so every writer must have this precious book on their desk. The book reminded me of another essential book every author must have: Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style– yes, that’s where this book fits in terms of utility.

I was surprised at the fluidity of this how-to book.  That’s because Justesen sounds like an admonishing, warm teacher; as if she is talking to you, saying “Oh,c’mon! you can do better than that !” No I’ll always remember that my character’s words are the most important elements of their personalities–without lengthy taglines or repetitive adverbs.

Justesen makes convincing arguments and cites apropos examples to convince readers about following book-saving, story-salvaging points:

1.First person lends itself well to internal monologue, but don’t fall in love with the character’s lengthy internal thoughts.
2.Use Silence. Sometime it reveals more than what could be said by a plethora of words (What? this comes from an author of the book on dialogue? Correct! It shows Sammie’s honesty and forthrightness).
3.It’s okay to use disjointed, broken sentences because that’s how people normally talk.
4.Make sure character’s speech sounds natural and reflects his/her personality, background and circumstances.
5. And finally, use dialects and slang sparingly, because alittle goes a long way.

Reading this book was a delight. It does not have the plot of a thriller or mystery but it is so funny, so convincing and at the same time so educating. It was an enjoyable, rewarding experience. I recommend this book to writers as well as non-writers, or to anyone who wants to effectively communicate by using just the right word at the right time with just the right emphasis.

Kudos to Sanmie Justesen.     –Sattar Memon, M.D.

Villains: The People we Love to Hate

Villain 1In fiction, the second most important character (after you create a hero or heroine) is the villain. This person forms a contrast to all the good people in your book. The stronger he is, the better they look and the harder they must work to defeat him.

Your villain. . .

  1. Should be smarter and craftier than the average person—maybe even smarter than the main character.  She is definitely capable of overcoming your protagonist.
  2. Can be lucky.  The main character has nothing but bad luck, but things go well for the villain until the end, when he’s defeated.
  3. Should be significantly bad. No one wants a lackluster villain.
  4. Can be anyone who has the potential to do serious harm to your hero. Sometimes the best villains are the ones we least expect.
  5. Must have believable motivation for his actions. Evil and greed aren’t good enough. You must dig deeper into the psyche.
  6. Feels his actions are completely justified.
  7. Shouldn’t be all bad. The best villains show a human side that almost makes us feel sorry for them. At the very least, we understand why they’re so bad. Consider Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
  8.  Should not be a cliché. The wicked stepmother, the other woman, a crazy ex-husband, the psychotic who moves in next door—you can probably name half a dozen candidates. If you decide to use these tried-and-true villains, find ways to make them different and believable.
  9. Needs a distinct voice.
  10. Needs closure, just as your hero does. By the end of the story your villain should accept defeat, see the error of his ways, or be  killed. Unless you’re doing a sequel, of course.

But what if your story doesn’t have a human antagonist? Perhaps you’re writing a disaster tale where the “evil” force is a tornado, the sea itself, a meteor, a shark (think JAWS), or killer lions (The Ghost and the Darkness).You have two options: 1) give your dark forces human qualities, and 2) develop a secondary antagonist to work against your hero. This secondary person will add to your hero’s problems and make the story more harrowing.

Even if you don’t use dark forces or villains, in order to shine, your characters need obstacles to overcome and things working against them. The dark force may be within your hero’s mind or part of his history, but it can still be powerful and disabling. Your hero will be much more interesting with personal issues to overcome.

Writing Tips

Make a list of your favorite villains and consider what made them memorable for you. Your story may not have room for an arch villain like Darth Vadar—he would overwhelm the other characters—but you need people who Villain 2act in villainous ways.

Give your villain chances to compromise, be reasonable, or change. In spite of this, she will continue to obstruct the heroine and cause problems, and your readers will feel sympathy for the heroine.

Instead of weighing down the villain with backstory (a bad childhood, abuse, and other clichés), show him interacting with people in an ordinary way. Maybe he loves animals or children. Perhaps he’s afraid of the dark. Give him interesting traits.

No matter who you choose for a villain, this person (or thing) is your catalyst of external conflict  who stands between your heroine and her ultimate goal. This villain must carry a heavy load in your story, because he’s the one who raises the stakes and creates a sense of dread, danger, and suspense. Where would you be without him?

Sammie Justesen is a publisher and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014.

A great investment for writers

She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

New review of Dialogue for Writers

This is a wonderful little book. I’ve published five books — three medical books and two literary books — and I thought I had figured it all out,until I ran into this little treasure titled: Dialogue For Writers. Like Justesen, I too learned that clumsy substitutes for the verb “said” interrupt the flow, but that became even more clear when I read this comprehensive book — an absolutely must-have tool for every would-be author. This book can transform a writer into an author, so every writer must have this precious book on their desk. The book reminded me of another essential book every author must have: Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style— yes, that’s where this book fits in terms of utility.

I was surprised at the fluidity of this how-to book.  That’s because Justesen sounds like an admonishing, warm teacher; as if she is talking to you, saying “Oh,c’mon! you can do better than that !” No I’ll always remember that my character’s words are the most important elements of their personalities–without lengthy taglines or repetitive adverbs.

Justesen makes convincing arguments and cites apropos examples to convince readers about following book-saving, story-salvaging points:

1.First person lends itself well to internal monologue, but don’t fall in love with the character’s lengthy internal thoughts.
2.Use Silence. Sometime it reveals more than what could be said by a plethora of words (What? this comes from an author of the book on dialogue? Correct! It shows Sammie’s honesty and forthrightness).
3.It’s okay to use disjointed, broken sentences because that’s how people normally talk.
4.Make sure character’s speech sounds natural and reflects his/her personality, background and circumstances.
5. And finally, use dialects and slang sparingly, because alittle goes a long way.

Reading this book was a delight. It does not have the plot of a thriller or mystery but it is so funny, so convincing and at the same time so educating. It was an enjoyable, rewarding experience. I recommend this book to writers as well as non-writers, or to anyone who wants to effectively communicate by using just the right word at the right time with just the right emphasis.

Kudos to Sanmie Justesen.     –Sattar Memon, M.D.

Do REAL Publishers Sell Books to Authors?

Books

Do REAL publishers sell books to authors?

The answer is “YES, of course we do.”

I thought this was a no-brainer until I read a recent Internet post by a yet-to-be-published writer. In a diatribe against publishers, he said, “A legitimate publisher would never sell books to their authors.”

Maria Ross (Branding Basics for Small Business) uses her book to gain clients

Maria Ross (Branding Basics for Small Business) uses her book to gain clients

That’s totally false.

Like every other “real” publisher, we happily sell books to our authors at the same discount we give bookstores. The writers are free to either sell the books for profit at special events, or give them away. These are examples of how our authors take advantage of this opportunity:

  1. A business author purchased 3,000 copies of his book as gifts for students at his alma mater.
  2. Another author purchased 50 books to give away to friends and family who helped on his journey to becoming a writer.
  3. A scholastic author purchases books to sell at the back of the room after her lectures.
  4. Parenting authors purchase books to sell (or include in a packet) at their parenting workshops.
  5. Two of our fitness authors sell books at their studio.
  6. One author owns a bookstore. Naturally, he buys books for the store.
  7. A business professional gives books to prospective clients.
  8. One author gives away books on her radio show.
  9.  We drop ship boxes of books to convention halls where one of our authors sells them after her speeches.

We can’t afford to give away hundreds of books for our authors, but we understand their desire to have books on hand, to make extra profit beyond royalties, to sell books at special events, and to give away books as they see fit.

A publisher who sells books to authors at a discount is not the same as self- publishing, where the author pays for editing, formatting, cover design, and the publisher’s time. So don’t be alarmed if your publishing contract mentions author book sales.  Be happy!  It’s a great way for you to make even more money than your royalties will provide.

A great investment for writers

A great investment for writers

Sammie Justesen is a publisher and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014.

She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A new review of Dialogue for Writers

This book delivers. If you are a writer, you’ll find a wealth of information and insight that will allow you to assess your style and discover practical ways to make good writing better.
Even popular published authors can benefit from this book. For instance, I am a Stephenie Meyer fan. She is a master of her genre, but if she had read Sammie Justesen’s book, Edward would not have”snickered” and “chuckled” so much that these particular dialogue tags became annoying and distracting. Sammie Justesen’s book offers great advice from a number of perspectives including the all-important publisher’s perspective. I have no hesitation in rating it a five-star book.

 

Branding Tips for Writers

A bullhorn or Megaphone trumpeting a product's or comapny's branBranding is not just for huge business firms like Pepsi and Coke. If you truly want to succeed in the world of publishing it’s  never too early to think about branding yourself. As Seth Godin points out, “your brand is the promise, the experience, the interactions, and the expectation people have for you.”

A brand is how you differentiate yourself from other authors in the same genres. Stephen King has a brand. Seth Godin has a brand. The Harry Potter series is a brand.YOU can have one too. And that means you should think about branding the moment you begin writing. You will want to write a book proposal for your work (even if it’s fiction), and let that become your business plan–a preview of who you are and how you want to be known.

Six Branding Tips

These tips are from Nina Amir, a contributing writer for TheBookDesigner.com. She is also the author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, which help transform writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs.  You can learn more about Nina here.

  1. Here’s how you start: Think about how you want to be known as a writer. To determine this, consider:
    • the types of writing you want to do
    • the subjects about which you want to write
    • the types of stories you want to tell
    • themes you want to cover in your work
    • ways in which you want to serve you readers
    • the clients or customers you want to attract
    • the spin-off books (sequels or series) you would like to publish
    • your values
    • your interests
    • your passion
    • your purpose

Does something stand out? Is there one quality, topic or aspect you’d like to highlight so you become known for it? If so, this is a good place to start. You then can create logos, taglines and websites that feature and Isa_Adney_on_Personal_Brandinghighlight this concept so you become known for it. This becomes your brand. Or try to answer this question: “How would I like to be known?” Do you want to be “The ___ Coach,” “The ___ Writer” or “The ___ Expert,” for example? Or will you brand around your name alone?

  1. Decide what books you’ll write.

Another way to brand yourself is by writing more than one book about a certain topic or theme. Your sequels or series will highlight who you are and what you write about.  To brand yourself in this manner, brainstorm all the different books you might possibly write. Then take a “big picture” view of this material:

    • How do these books fit together? By a theme or a subject?
    • Can you group any of them together?
    • Can you find one overriding thread that holds them together?
    • Can you describe that thread (or theme) in one sentence or in a phrase?
    • Can this become your “branding statement”?

Here again, you could become known as “The ___ Writer.” Think of the knitting writers and the Amish romance writers, for example.

3. Create a website or blog that helps build or strengthen your brand. A blog works as a website, and every author needs an author website. Purchase a URL with your name so readers and the media easily can find you. However, if you also are branding with a tag line or some sort of expert status, you may want to purchase that URL and redirect it. Then design your site with colors, words, phrases, and images that make it easy for someone to know what you’re about. Your site’s title and tagline should make this clear as well. For example, Michael Hyatt’s tagline is “Helping leaders leverage influence.” That’s pretty clear branding. Additionally, write posts on topics or themes related to your brand to help strengthen it and make your site more discoverable by readers doing searches. Again, Hyatt’s site is a good example of this. People who visit your site should immediately “get it.” They should understand what you stand for, what you write about, and any other messages you want to get across. Here are a few sites to check out:

    • R.L. Stine. He’s done a fabulous job of branding himself with a website. He’s even used music!
    • Cindy Woodsmall’s website. No question what she writes about.
    • Jack Canfield’s message is enormously clear right from his banner and throughout all his content and products and services.
  1. Use your brand statement across all your social networks. Use the same title, tag line, photo and colors, etc., across all your social networks, as well as in articles, videos, and guest post, and always provide a link “home.” This helps you get you known quickly and easily and is another way to strengthen your brand once you’ve developed it. And tie everything you do back to your author website.

Carla King has used her “adventuring” brand across all her social networks as MissAdventuring. Her books and websites help her strengthen her brand as well.

  1. Ask others for help. If you have difficulty creating a brand for yourself, ask those who know you best for help. Ask readers, clients, customers, and friends the following:
    1. What do you perceive as my values?
    2. What are my strong points?
    3. What do I do for you?
    4. What benefit do you get from my books, work, courses, products, or services?
    5. How would you describe me?

Take this information—if you like what you hear and it works for you—and craft it into a brand. If you don’t like what you hear, it’s time to think about how to create a different perception than you haphazardly have done in the past. 

brand umbrella6. Create an umbrella for all you do—even if you do a lot. It can be easier for nonfiction writers than fiction writers to develop brands. Yet, many nonfiction writers choose to write about a variety of topics, and this can make it difficult for them to brand themselves as well. Fiction writers who publish across genres may find themselves in the same quandary. However, it’s still possible to find an “umbrella theme” to tie everything together into a brand even if you write about two or three subjects, write fiction or write across genres.

  • As a novelist, you might write novels that appear to be unrelated. You could weave similar themes, topics, issues, or locations into them. For example, think about weaving your love of orchids into both your momlit and your thrillers. Could that brand you?
  • Your momlit could have a main character who runs an orchid shop.
  • Your thrillers could have a main character who leaves orchid blooms at the scene of the crime.
  • You could cross over into nonfiction by writing a nonfiction book how to care for orchids.
  • Or all your books could take place in England; or could discuss family values or politics. You could draw on your law degree or your former life as a nurse. If you write nonfiction about organic gardening, travel and business, you might be able to write books that:
    1. Eating organic in foreign countries
    2. Organic business practices
    3. New organic gardening techniques

Of course, the more books you write with these themes or elements in place, the stronger your brand becomes. By choosing something—like the orchid or organics—to run through all your books, you strengthen your brand with every title you release. And don’t forget to place a picture of an orchid or an organic garden on your website and use that word in your tag line. Write blog posts about orchids and organics. Before long, everyone will know you as the Orchid Author or the Organic Author. That’s branding. Brand 2

Sell More Books with a Brand Why bother branding? For the same reasons big box and small box companies bother: It helps sell products. A brand helps potential readers know, like, and trust you. And remember: Your brand is you. It’s a way to help readers know you—authentically. You aren’t creating some fake ad or new persona. Your Brand helps readers understand who you are and what you and your books stand for—and what type of books you write. That makes it easier for them to decide to purchase those books. That means your books will get read. And that’s the ultimate goal.

 

Sammie Justesen is a publisher and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014.

A great investment for writers

A great investment for writers

 

She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A new review of Dialogue for Writers

This book delivers. If you are a writer, you’ll find a wealth of information and insight that will allow you to assess your style and discover practical ways to make good writing better.
Even popular published authors can benefit from this book. For instance, I am a Stephenie Meyer fan. She is a master of her genre, but if she had read Sammie Justesen’s book, Edward would not have”snickered” and “chuckled” so much that these particular dialogue tags became annoying and distracting. Sammie Justesen’s book offers great advice from a number of perspectives including the all-important publisher’s perspective. I have no hesitation in rating it a five-star book.

 

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