Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday marketing- Building a Brand

Yup I'm late getting going this week- I apologize, but here today is author Brantwijn Serrah talking about brand building...Raffle copter giveaway at the end of the post.

Building a Brand

"Build your Brand". Being involved in outreach marketing, big sister to a entrepreneurial business major, and now navigating the waters of self-promotion as an indie author, I've heard this phrase a lot lately. At first it seemed a bit intimidating and needlessly commercial, but it's becoming my favorite mantra as a writer.

Your brand is something like your "public image". It consists of more than your product (your books, if you're an author). It has to do with the face you present to your audience, and it spans your entire public presence. From your Facebook to your Twitter to your Google+, Pinterest, blog, and personal website...and if you don't have a presence on these media, you need to get one right away. The public eye isn't something you can hide from and still hope to be noticed.

Readers respond when they are engaged, and the more actively you can engage them—while not becoming an obnoxious door-to-door salesman—the more excited they will be for your product.

Consider a couple of household names in the book market: Stephen King, Dean Koontz; JK Rowling; Danielle Steele. With each of these names comes a sense of the artist's personality. This is their brand.

The more you build and grow your brand, the more familiar, trusted and recommended you and your products will be.

Be Consistent

You will be more recognizable as you develop a consistent and visible presence. Use the same or unmistakably similar handle across all your social media. I am Brantwijn on Facebook, G+, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. Anywhere I hope to be seen and recognized by potential fans, I am sure to make myself identifiable and consistent. I make it easy to find me throughout these networks, being sure each profile includes consistent links to my various pages. It's important that your brand be recognizable, consistent and accessible to your target audience.

Be Professional

Keeping in mind again that your brand is your public image, you should keep things professional. Your social media profiles (at least the ones connected to your public image) should be public and open, so anything you post would be viewable by potential readers and fans. Hence, strive to maintain an approachable, professional image. You want your audience to feel comfortable with you and trust that you are professional. I don't share things on my dash which will give my audience the impression I am flaky, careless or dishonest.

I'm not saying one has to be Ms. Manners all the time. Follow me on any of my forums and you'll see I swear all the time, and I especially love the word fuck. I also have a level of sarcastic and bit risqué humor For my particular audience, this is appropriate and even a little welcoming. If I were writing YA novels, things would be different. This is about strengthening your image and brand appropriate to your audience.

Be Active

Be sure you are visible. Engage people and do so for more than self-promotion. Start conversations, ask questions, be approachable and conversational.

Remember you want to engage your readers, but you also want to maintain your consistent and professional brand. If you've never seen our host Decadent Kane run an "Author Takeover", you really should. She nails the engagement and conversation, and her audience is drawn into the world of her books without being overwhelmed by sales pitches. Decadent uses games and small giveaways to gain audience attention: photo scavenger hunts, friendly ice breakers posted to Facebook walls, "Which Elf Are You?" quizzes, all of these provide a fun way for her audience to get involved and get to know her. She also maintains her brand—I like to think of it as "Mistress of the Elves"—all the time. She uses her own "elfalicious" words and presents herself as not only an expert in all things elvish, but a passionate fan of the world as well.

Another way to be active is to run your blog with content interesting to your readers, and helpful to them. I've recently begun posting articles on the craft of writing each Monday, and writing challenges each Wednesday. My hope is to eventually post original creative content on Fridays or Saturdays as well, and provide enticing and artistic erotic photography from artists I admire on other days.  Creating at least a semi-predictable schedule—such as Decadent's Monday Marketing posts—gives readers a reason to follow your blog consistently and become more engaged. Offering small tokens or "cookies", such as giveaway prizes or exclusive content to newsletter subscribers, also engages them. The purpose of this is to remain visible and involved with your audience even between new book releases.

Building and maintaining your brand is essential to marketing yourself if you are an indie artist. Unless you carry a big marketing department in your back pocket—and I work in PR, I know how big a marketing department needs to be—you've got a lot of work to do to build and maintain your brand. However, as much as it is work, I've also found that it can be very fun, and very rewarding.

Read, write and be merry!

Link to Book Trailer:

Buy Links:

Breathless Press:

Goblin Fires

From the moment she laid eyes on sweet Ceri, Reagan knew she would be lost forever. A Sidhe Royal, though, could never return such feelings for a War-Child...

As the daughter of the fae Goddess of War, Reagan was sworn into service to the Sidhe monarchies before she was born.  Her contract forever binds her to the beautiful goblin princess Ceridwen. When an unseen enemy threatens the Fae Courts, Ceridwen is caught in the attack, and Reagan must fight to the ends of the earth to save her. But will this battle tear her away from her princess forever?

I surprised her when I showed up without warning at her door; I hadn't called ahead. I'd barely recognized I meant to go there myself. When Talaith appeared in the doorway, though, one eyebrow cocked, I didn't offer any kind of explanation. I threw myself at her.

I kissed her, hard and desperate, wrapping my arms around her luscious frame. I pushed her backward into the entryway of her apartment and kicked the door shut behind me. She squeaked. She actually squeaked.

"My Lady Knight!" she huffed when I let her up for air. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"This?" I teased, and kissed her again. "This isn't pleasure, Majesty. What I'm about to do to you, that will be a pleasure."

"Mm," she chuckled, and then she returned the embrace, twining slender arms around me and sliding fingers into my tawny hair.

Though the sun had set less than an hour ago, it appeared as though Tala had already been settling in for the night. She wore an oversized blue nightshirt hanging carelessly off one shoulder, a pair of slim and shimmery satin boy shorts, and dark fleece socks. She held a mug of cocoa in one hand, holding it expertly away from the violent crush of my body against hers to keep from spilling it. I reached out and stole it from her, taking a long drink.

"Reagan!" she exclaimed. "You don't drink hot cocoa!"

"Tonight I do," I countered, and pressed her into another kiss, the sweet taste of creamy chocolate mingling on our lips. Tala of course had loaded her cocoa with the decadences of whipped cream and sprinkled chocolate shavings; the saccharine overdose made me wince. It hit me like a slug of strong alcohol, going down about as smooth. A quick, sleek burn kindled up through my limbs, bubbling all the way up to my head, and I slid both hands underneath her nightshirt to strip it up and off of her. The lace-and-satin bra underneath matched her panties. I nuzzled my face between her breasts and uttered an appreciative little sound of delight.

"Ridiculous creature!" she laughed, but arched against me all the same.

I came up to take the hot chocolate again, this time tipping it to her lips. She happily took a drink, and when I brought the mug away, a white trail of whipped cream marked her upper lip. I ducked in for another kiss and slowly licked it away—even the small bit of sweetness made me shiver. Her tongue met mine and we kissed over and over, tasting, sucking, and trading soft murmurs of pleasure. Each new kiss sent a pulsing, dizzy little thrill through me, and then the chocolate really started to kick in.

This is why I don't take sugar in my tea. All it takes is the littlest taste...

...and I'm smashed.

Vicious arousal caught fire in me. I tangled one hand in the pretty red hair at the base of Tala's skull, gripping tightly, while the other slipped down, under the cup of her bra, greedily caressing the warm, soft shape of her breast. I touched the tiny stiff peak of her nipple and squeezed it, teasing. Tala rewarded me with a quick, gasping giggle. I practically tore the nightshirt over her head and then the sheer designer bra as I fell upon her breasts with relish.

"The couch—"she managed, and she grabbed me by the shoulders to drag me to it. The room was dim, lit by the glow of the fire in her hearth. She tumbled backward onto the plush black leather and I followed, landing on top of her.

Author Bio:

They say you should never meet your heroes, but Brantwijn Serrah says otherwise. At a Los Angeles book signing in 2012, Brantwijn met one of her all-time favorite authors of urban fantasy, Jim Butcher, who couldn't have been kinder or more encouraging to her as an aspiring novelist herself. As it turned out, the book he signed for her that night gave her the first spark of inspiration for Goblin Fires, the story of a goblin Knight hopelessly in love with her princess.

When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog.

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1 comment:

  1. Your brand is your public image - that's a great way to describe it.
    Consistency is key. So is being available. And involved. You can't be the eighty percent who just shows up - you have to be the twenty percent who gets involved.


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