Who are you? That’s not an existential question but an essential one when you’re an author trying to be heard amidst the ‘noise’ that is the Internet. When you’re fighting for a foothold in the overcrowded publishing universe. Pick me, pick me!

Steena’s presentation was fast-paced and engaging. When you check out her website, it’s clear who she is in terms of author identity/platform and its easy to see that for Steena, it’s all about her books and her readers. She has swag, and a set of identifiable themes and encourages sign-ups to build her Street Team or Tribe.That loyal Team does much of the promotional and reviewing heavy lifting for her books.

Her ‘Meet Steena Holmes’ photo and blurb reflect exactly who she is as a writer – warm, personable, friendly. Someone you’d enjoy chatting with. How did she get all that? By trial and error, by being a prolific writer, and with a lot of hard work.

  1. Your brand is the promise you make to readers. We have a subconscious way of branding to our readers that is not in their face (colours, feel, messaging to readers). How many brands do we need? You also have a brand that is in their face – logo, wording, voice
  • The brand is you, not your genre.
  • What you are branding is the universal theme or message that is in your writing – something as simple as ‘chocolate’.
  • Colours you use to associate with your author persona – the scheme you use on your website, e.g., when you think of chocolate you think of warm, melting, soft, sweet, sea salt – this is the message when you promote your brand.
  • It’s okay to have multiple genres in your brand. If you have multiple genres create a website that is focused on you as an author. Use tabs – If you want steamy, click here. Use colours and a theme that encompasses the genre.

2. What is your message – warm, tear-jerker, scary – what is it you want the reader to feel?

  • How do you treat topics that are sensitive or controversial?
  • Remain true to the promise of your brand – in your face or with a gentle hand?
  • Every image you post, etc. must relate to your brand – theme colours, brightness, wording should convey your meaning.

3. If you ask your readers what they expect from you, what would they say?

  • THINK ABOUT FIVE PHRASES YOUR READERS WOULD USE TO DESCRIBE YOUR WORK. Hot, sensual, tingling, erotic, steamy – your graphics should match.
  • What would you like to see? Exciting, haunting, dangerous, mysterious, fast-paced – energy-filled images, posts about dangerous things, articles or links that respond to that type of branding.

4. What is your goal with your brand

  • Use consistent colours
  • Have a tag line
  • Even if your whole name is not on the marketing, people will get used to the image (soft or bold?) you use consistently

5. Promoting your work:

  • Go to MailChimp and get a code
  • Start a newsletter – give the subscribers Outtakes or exclusive content, something free – keep reminding people to sign up.
  • Create a website that has the newsletter on it – add a pop up (Mail Munch), a contact page and make a personal bio
  • Include your book covers on social media – have places where your readers can find you
  • Facebook author fan page – have a link on your website
  • Posts – include something fun in the morning that will catch people’s eye, ask your readers for inspiration during the day; at night, talk about your book, do some promotion – talk about a scene you’ve just written, reviews, good news
  • Ask readers for help with names – give a brief description and the setting then send a finished excerpt  to them to show how it was used.
  • Tie your readers in to the creative process. E-press.
  • Show your followers what you do during your writing process – post photos, ask for input, etc.
  • Include your logo on everything you post – graphics, posts to social media – establishes brand identity and loyalty

6. Her Secret Society is her loyal reader group (Street Team)

  • Engage regularly with your readers – offer them special access, contests, send birthday wishes
  • If some are willing to be advanced readers, send them drafts
  • Follow up to ensure you get results
  • Have a contest asking readers to submit their email address for a chance to read a chapter of the next book in advance