Jonathan Maberry, a wise author and mentor, once told me that the best way to get readers is not by pushing your book but by “branding” yourself. Perhaps you have a favorite shirt you might wear to signings. Perhaps everything you live and breathe resonates with Star Trek. I’ve been doing mine via Mylar balloons. Why balloons? I can’t say why, but I find it impossible to shop at most supermarkets without being waylaid by the balloons at the floral aisle. How many balloons do I have? A lot. If you’d like to guess how many, there’s a giveaway involved.
Any time you blog or go to a writing venue you’re “on,” meaning that the way you carry yourself will become part of your brand. So whenever you blog, you’ll want to keep it positive. If you had a quarrel at home, leave it there. Give yourself plenty of time to get to an event because if you show up late, people might associate lateness with your brand. “Oh, yeah, that’s Barbara of the Balloons – she takes her time,” and so forth. When I’m with writer buddies, doing the editor letter for Night to Dawn, or blogging, I usually open the top with my latest balloon escapade at the Giant, Acme, or other market. And I find that balloon analogies have a way of getting the point across.
Sometimes your brand can creep into your books. NTD author Michael De Stefano, for one, loves baseball, and you’ll find a lot of scenes involving baseball in In the Times of Their Restlessness and his other two books. Tom Johnson’s bouquet of balloons is his life in the military, and his experiences and love of science fiction creep into his Jur novels. Rod Marsden brands himself with his love of history in Ghost Dance, among his other books.
So … I guess you’re wondering if Mylar balloons have crept into my books. Well, let me put it to you this way. Did God make little green apples? Does it snow in Pennsylvania during the wintertime? Heroine Alexis of Steel Rose kept a squadron of Mylar balloons in her hospital room because she felt that the helium in them, being especially poisonous for Kryszka aliens, might protect her from the renegades. You will also meet balloon queens in Close Liaisons and City of Brotherly Death.
The most important part of branding though is having fun. Why is it so important? Because the branding tool enables people to get to know you in a good way. When that happens, good reviews, if not sales, are likely to follow.
So … how do you go about branding yourself and your work? Do you have a special interest in something that works? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
I’m offering two giveaways: A signed copy of Steel Rose and a copy of Night to Dawn 28, to be given to a random commenter during this blog hop. And if you can guess how many Mylar balloons I have, the person with the closest guess will get an eBook copy of Close Liaisons and City of Brotherly Death.
Interesting post. I struggle to find my brand as I write multi-genre, but in my dark stories things like apples and roses have often popped up. I’ve got a little demon I’m tempted to carry around. I can imagine him as the imp who like to poke me into producing my own style of dark fiction.
Glad you liked my post. Balloons creep into my work, no matter the genre, but I did uses roses in Steel Rose and the sequel. I know that I’ve got my own style of dark fiction, and that’s partly the reason I publish independently. 🙂
Barbara of the Balloons
Great ideas. My guess is 79 balloons. Best of luck to you.
Thank you, Jodie. I wish you a lot of luck, too. 🙂 Barbara of the Balloons
Thanks for the plug and yes I am a history buff. And a love of history does creep into my work at times. At other moments it strides in, smiles at the reader and stays a while. It is in my novel Ghost Dance and also in the more fantasy orientated Desk Job. Either book would be a good pick for Halloween. They’d go well with soul cakes and beer.
Soul cakes, beer, and let’s not forget balloons, Rod. Thanks! 🙂 Barbara of the Balloons
Barbara thank you for the wonderful wisdom. I’ve heard of branding before; however, I have not been able to decide what to use for branding. I’m currently in the waiting game for my first book to be published. Again thanks for the wisdom.
Thank you! I hope my post helped. I also wish you a lot of success with your book. 🙂 Barbara of the Balloons
Great post on branding! I need more consistency in my writing before I brand myself Though I always write horror, it’s MG/YA & adult and can be mashed up with other genres. I’m waiting to see which will get readers. (So far, adult zombie story wins, but I’m not planning to write anymore zombie stuff. It’s overdone.) So far, I’m a branding failure! LOL
Young adult is definitely in demand. Do you have a favorite hobby or pastime. Whatever it might be, you could use it for branding as you get further into writing. Barbara of the Balloons 🙂
I also wear a fedora at book signings. As many of my novels, short stories and novelettes are set in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, when men wore hats, the fedora tells readers that I am a fan of the hat period.
Hmmm, Tom, you’ve given me some food for thought. Maybe next time I do a signing, I ought to bring a Mylar balloon or two. 🙂 Thanks, Barbara of the Balloons