Win a copy of Break Out and chat with
author Nina Croft today at the Book Boost!
author Nina Croft today at the Book Boost!
Nina's back at the Boost to discuss market branding and here's what she had to say...
There’s a lot of pressure on authors to market their work online, and a big part of that is developing an author brand.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
For an author that’s really developing a distinctive personality that identifies you to potential readers. They’ll be able to look at your author name and immediately think – I love the things he/she writes – I want to read that (or of course the opposite – you can’t please everyone!) It’s in essence a promise to the reader, that if you buy the book, you know exactly what you are going to get.
I recently attended a webinar on branding, the aim being to come up with a tagline – a short (less than ten word) statement that identifies my author ‘brand.’
It turns out that I’m difficult.
My problem is that I write in different genres, or at least in different sub-genres. I’ve always believed that you should write the sort of things you love to read, but that doesn’t narrow the field much for me. I read just about everything, romance, science fiction, historical, paranormal, thrillers—if it’s been written—I’ll try it. So it’s hardly unexpected that I have a tendency to mix up the genres in my own stories.
All my stories do have a strong element of romance, but otherwise they span a range of genres: paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and I’ve recently just completed a thriller. And even within individual books, I have a tendency to mix up the genres. This is especially true of my recent release, Break Out, book 1 in the Blood Hunter series. Break Out is essentially a space opera—an adventure story based in the future. But it also has a vampire hero and a whole load of romance.
But it’s not only a matter of genre but also a matter of voice – the sort of tone you expect when you buy a book. My stories range from dark to humorous depending on how I’m feeling when the story springs to life.
And I’m supposed to be able to encapsulate my essence in ten words.
One way around this is to use different pen names for the different genres you write, and develop a different brand for each. Much as Nora Roberts and J. D. Robb. If you pick up a Nora Roberts you know you’re going to get romance. Pick up a J.D. Robb and you expect a futuristic suspense.
On the webinar, someone suggested I adopt a different pen names for each subgenre I write, and I was like – nooooo! I can’t cope with more names (I confuse easily!)
But I like to think that readers aren’t so easily confused. Also, like the rest of the publishing industry, I think readers are changing their attitudes and are willing to try different things more readily. These days, it’s so easy to get information about a particular book, and usually even possible to read a sample chapter for free online (you can read the first three chapters of Break Out for free on the Entangled site). So it’s possible to make a decision based on something other than author branding.
So what do you think – how important is author branding? Should authors stick to one recognizable genre? Do you like to know what you’re getting or are you willing to do a little research?
Oh, and if anyone can describe me in less than ten words (but remember you’re supposed to be persuading people to buy my books!) please go ahead.
A Note from the Book Boost: I love to create taglines. My author tagline is "Romance So Good, It Should Be Illegal". I, too, write many genres but they all usually have some sort of legal or law enforcement character in them because of my work and degree in Criminal Justice. Hence the tagline above. Perhaps you need one that is more general like Michelle Pillow's "Author of All Things Romance"! Good luck with your search for the perfect brand.
The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian.
Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.
Two thousand year old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!
“You might want to change your mind about that reward,” Tannis murmured from beside him. “This one looks like she might fight back.”
“I don’t mind a good fight,” Rico drawled. “As long as I win.”
He swung his chair around and followed the line of her sight, his gaze settling on the tall figure in the doorway. He wouldn’t have recognized her if he hadn’t known what to look for.
The silver dress was gone and a black jumpsuit now hugged her tall, toned body. She walked with the lithe grace of a predator, one hand resting on the pistol at her thigh. The long, blond hair, which had done a lot to soften her features, was also gone. In its place was a severely short, almost military cut that emphasized the sharp cheekbones, and the large, almost beaky nose. Her dark blue eyes were the same though, as was the wide, red mouth. He dropped his gaze. There was no disguising the lush curve of those breasts either, and his body tightened at the sight.
She’d come to a halt in front of them, and he raised his eyes from her breasts to her face to find her frowning at him.
“Skylar,” he said, kicking out a chair and patting the seat. “Take a seat.”
She regarded him suspiciously for a moment and then sat.
“Quite a disguise you had there.”
“Part of my training,” she replied.
“Your rebel training?”
“Tell me. Why were you with the rebels? You seem a little too…” He studied her, trying to think of the correct word. Normal maybe, but he had an idea that Skylar was far from normal.
“Human?” She supplied for him.
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