Author integrity and what building a brand means.
I got some bad news this weekend. An author friend of mine, who has been saying (for quite a while now) she’s rewriting her first book posted on social media that she has decided not to. She’s rebranding, and the old book will be republished under her new pen name, cover, and reformatted interior. I was bummed, and I’m sure I’m not the only person she let down.
When we start building our businesses and start thinking about author brand, we think right away about our website, our logos, pen names, and everything in-between. But building a brand is more than the color palette we’re going to use on our website. Building a brand is letting readers (i.e. the public on social media) know who we are as people. Are we honest? Do we do what we say we’re going to do? Do we treat our peers with respect? Do we run our businesses with integrity? Do we have follow-through? I see plenty of authors who like to be jerks online. They say people are too sensitive, or people are too easily offended, and that gives them an excuse to say what they want without regards to other people’s feelings. I see authors publish without follow-through. We write the first book in a series or trilogy, publish it, then nothing. For years. Or authors who release less than stellar books and then get upset (sometimes online by way of responding!) when their reviews reflect that. That does not inspire loyalty from readers, and doing something like that won’t build a readership.
Building a brand is showing people who we are. We want to inspire trust. We want readers to know that if they buy one of our books, they know what they are going to get. Quality. A good story. Authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts are household names for a reason. Even big named indies like Melissa Foster and Mark Dawson have created brands that a lot of us can identify just by hearing their names. Their names bring to mind who they are as public figures and as authors.
You’ll lose readers if you aren’t kind and honest, don’t produce quality work, and don’t have follow-through. Keep your promises. Be a professional.
I love this quote by Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing:
Your brand is your business, and your business will sell your books.
I wish my author friend well. I wish her lots of success.
Where I’m at with my A Rocky Point Wedding series.
I sent books one and two to the proofer/beta reader. He’s going to tell me how they sound and if there’re any typos. With these books I’m cutting out a couple of editing steps, but adding one I haven’t done for the past three books. This time I will proof the paperback proofs as they come in. Hopefully that will make up for the two I’m skipping.
I’m done editing book three. It’s sounds great, and the only thing I did so far is deleting sections that don’t fit/slow down the flow and finding typos. I must have been feeling good when I wrote this book, or I liked the characters a bit more, because this couple is punchier than the other two. Ivy’s got an attitude, and I like her very much. Here’s a small snippet of something I came across that made me laugh:
“You’re going on the sleigh ride with us, aren’t you? I don’t want you to be hungry, and there’s not enough time to go home first. Come on, we’re meeting in the dining room.”
He looked good in jeans and a dark blue sweater. His blonde hair glinted in the sunset sparkling in from the huge windows that overlooked the slopes. Logan had always hated his glasses, but Ivy liked them. They made him look smart and handsome.
That hadn’t changed.
“I can grab something in the kitchen. It’s where I take my breaks, anyway,” she said, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
Ivy enjoyed it.
He’d paid for her time; she didn’t have to make it easy on him.
He sighed. “Please?”
“Honey, don’t turn down the pleasure of this hunk’s company,” Lola said, nudging Ivy’s shoulder.
“You don’t even like men,” Ivy said.
“Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the finer of the species,” she said, winking a heavily made up eye with silver sparkly eye shadow and a million coats of mascara.
Ivy glared at Logan. “Fine, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.”
When she went to the stockroom for her jacket, she heard Lola say, “She’ll come around, honey. She doesn’t date much.”
“Much?” Logan asked, and he sounded way more interested than he should have been.
“Okay, none. She needs a little fun, and a little fun.”
Ivy could picture Lola leering.
“Oh, I’ve got that covered,” Logan said.
Dammit. He could charm an Eskimo into buying ice.
“That’s enough,” Ivy snapped, stomping out of the stockroom.
Lola whistled. “Honey, you ain’t got that covered enough.”
“I’ll keep working on it,” Logan said, laughing. He took her arm in a strong grip, and Ivy let him lead her out of the lounge.
Book four will take a little more work since I haven’t looked at it since finishing it a few weeks ago. The time away will help me find what needs fixing, but I doubt I’ll get it to the proofer before the holiday stuff kicks in.
I’m not in any hurry to get these out. I did plan for book one to be released around Thanksgiving, and I don’t see that as an issue as long as everything stays on track. I don’t want to have too much time between releases, but my timing might just be a little off. It depends on how fast my proofer goes, as well.
A little side project.
I am doing a little side project to keep me sane while I edit. I write that in longhand at work then when I get tired of editing my wedding series, I transcribe what I have so I can start fresh the next day I work. It’s been working really well and will be the first book I’ve written completely in longhand.
It makes the editing tolerable, and I’m already 51,400 words in. This is something I’m thinking of publishing under a pen name, and it won’t be out until my series is fully released. So maybe in the spring. I’m not sure. It’s already plotted out, and it will be a full-length novel trilogy.
It’s fun trying a new direction!
Thanks for stopping in. I’ll be talking about change and being in uncomfortable situations.
Have a productive weekend, everyone!