First a little history:
If you have an interest in author branding, and coming up with an author tag, it might be useful to consider that ‘branding’ originally was designed to make a product identifiable to an illiterate population. Consider the barber’s pole. The basic idea is identification.
Modern branding received a major boost from Rosser Reeves’s book: “Reality in Advertising”. Reeves outlined the USP, Unique Selling Proposition.
Example: Ivory soap is pure. (It’s 99 and 44/100% pure”). Dove soap is one quarter cleansing cream. After the publication of Reeves’s book, the USP became a kind of Holy Grail to all marketers.
The USP concept dominated advertising thinking until Ries and Trout came out with my favorite advertising book: “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind”. Both these books are very short and written so clearly that they were best sellers -- even outside the advertising industry.
The big idea behind ‘Positioning’ was that there is only room for one or two brands-- in any one category -- in a customer’s mind. It is also very difficult for a new product to break into the prospect’s mind after the first one or two positions are established.
Example: we may remember who was the first man on the moon, but how many can remember who was the second man? While some people can remember the first man to break the four minute mile, how many know who was second? Some remember the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic, but who was second? You get the idea.
Positioning is very serious business. It is very hard to break into a prospect’s mind unless you position your product in a category that is empty or has only one competitor. Therefore, it is often helpful to create a new category! Gatorade created a new category of drink. OK, now, tell me, how many other brands can you name in this sport’s drink category?
I consider ‘author branding’ to be a ‘subset’ of the USP and Positioning approaches.
If you are considering ‘branding’ your work, there are several important decisions that you need to make:
1) are you ready to be ‘branded’? In a way, getting branded it is like getting a tattoo. Do you want to be known forever as the ‘edgy werewolf’ queen? (Actually, it may not be forever. Tattoos can come off and products can be repositioned. However, it can be a lot of work and cost a lot of money to do so.)
2) have you come up with a tag line that you really like? You should not rush into a tattoo and you should not rush into a brand.
I consider the ‘brand’ to be like the USP and the author tag line to be an expression of that proposition. The brand might stay the same for a whole career while the expression (tag line) might change over the years as long as it still expresses the same USP.
For example: An author might make her career writing Amish romances. Perhaps she has personal experience with many Amish people. Her USP (brand) might be:
Amish Romances Written from the Soul of Experience!
I think the above is a great tag line as well. But the author might change the tag line to something like:
Amish Romances Inspired by Love!
Enduring Amish Romances to Warm the Soul!
Love, Family, Devotion in the Timeless Amish Way!
I can see the tag line changing a little from time to time. I can also see a different tag line for each novel if the new tag line applies uniquely to that novel. But in all the above tag lines the basic USP or brand stays the same.
Elements of a Good Tag line:
1. a tag line should reflect and support the author’s chosen brand.
2. a tag line should be original and not too much like another author’s.
3. a tag line should be memorable and intuitively attachable to that author. ( By this I mean a reader might reasonably be expected pick the author’s tag line from a list of tags without ever having read one of the author’s books.)
4. a tag line should promise a benefit just as an advertising headline should promise benefits.
It may be very hard to come up with a tag line that incorporates all four points mentioned above. However, a tag line could be so strong on one point that it would actually be better than a weaker line that did incorporate all four points. So if you come up with a really great tag line, keep it! Don’t worry about tweaking it to get all four points included.
Now for the contest:
I have listed a series of tag lines below. Some of the tag lines are the author’s official tags. However, not all Seekers have an official tag line. I have provided tag lines for most of the Seekers. Frankly, some of the official tag lines are so good, I couldn’t improve on them. So I left these alone.
Your job will be to put an author’s name to each of the tag lines listed below. See how many you can get correct. To play fair, please don’t go to the author’s webpage to find her official tag! All the author tags that I provide here are for those authors alone and they can have them with all rights if they choose to use them. Otherwise, any other author may feel free to use them.
Please note: An author may appear more than one time in the list below. All the Seekers are represented below but some will appeal multiple times.
1. Passion with a Purpose
2. Lassoing the Spirit of the West with Romance, Comedy & Cowboys
3. Enduring, endearing... Fiction that embraces the heart.
4. Rugged Stories with Heart
5. Exploring the Frontiers of Faith with Romantic Suspense! (Expanding the Frontiers of Faith with Romantic Suspense!)
6. Where the Mission is Romance & Rescuing the Human Spirit!
7. ‘Gilded Age’ Romance Inspired by Faith and a Touch of Mystery.” (‘Gilded Age’ Romance Inspired by Love and a Touch of Mystery.”)
8. Romance with a kick of wasabi.
9. Crystal Clear Historical Romance Inspired with the Ring of Truth!!
10. Faith, Family and Finding Mr. Right
11. Romantic True North! Where Enduring Fiction Embraces the Spirit & Warms the Heart.
12. Romantic Comedy with Cowboys
13. Stories of Hard Men, Audacious Women, & Rugged Country!
14. Romantic Women’s Fiction…Where LIFE and love collide.
15. Romance with Suspense and a kick of wasabi!
16. Freeing the Romantic Spirit with Inspiration!
17. Romance Forged in Faith, Love & Humor!
18. Where Love, Romance & Inspiration Come Sweepin’ Down the Plain!
19. Faith with an edge…cross my heart.
20. Where the Mission is Inspiration, Romance, & Rescuing the Human Spirit!
21. Love on the Light Side
22. Lifting the Spirit with the Power of Romance!
23. ‘Gilded Age’ romance with a touch of mystery
24. Where Passion Makes The Spirit Soar!
25. Inspiration, Humor, Romance
26. Making Romance a Peak Experience!
- Answers will be posted at 9 pm MST.
- Two winners will be announced based on the most correct answers. Winners announced tonight.
- One winner will be announced solely based participation (commenting). Announced in the Weekend Ed.
- All winners will have the opportunity to pick a Seeker Book of Choice from recent releases available.
And if you'd like a comment on your author tag, just let me know!
Bio: Vince Mooney was trained to be a philosopher and high school history teacher. He wound-up teaching marketing and real estate at colleges and at his own real estate school. He also spent many years working in advertising as a copywriter and editor. He has written over 100 three-hour real estate continuing education courses, a real estate manual and real estate exam preparation book for a major publisher. He has conducted over 3,000 three-hour workshops and has published many magazine articles. Vince has been a speech writer and has sold comedy over the years. His greatest achievement is being a Seeker friend. (Vince has written over 1000 romance novel reviews.) You can find Vince at Philosophy of Romance blog.
Answers To Today's Contest: Vince will announce the winners in the comments, with the final winner announced in the Weekend Edition. Email the Seeker email if you won!
1. “Passion with a Purpose” -- Official – Julie Lessman
2. Lassoing the Spirit of the West with Romance, Comedy & Cowboys – Vince -- Mary Connealy, (Logo a lasso in the air)
3. "Enduring, endearing... Fiction that embraces the heart." Official – Ruth Logan Herne
4. “Rugged Stories with Heart” Official -- Audra Harders
5. Exploring the Frontiers of Faith with Romantic Suspense! (Expanding the Frontiers of Faith with Romantic Suspense!) Vince’s – Debby Giusti
6. Where the Mission is Romance & Rescuing the Human Spirit! Vince’s – Cheryl Wyatt (Logo: a open parachute).
7. ‘Gilded Age’ Romance Inspired by Faith and a Touch of Mystery. (‘Gilded Age’ Romance Inspired by Love and a Touch of Mystery.) Vince’s – Cara Lynn James (Logo: a dove sitting outside and at the top of a gilded cage).
8. “Romance with a kick of wasabi.” Official – Camy Tang
9. Crystal Clear Historical Romance Inspired with the Ring of Truth! Vince’s – Janet Dean (logo: finger hitting a crystal glass with sound waves coming off.)
10. Faith, Family and Finding Mr. Right – Official – Missy Tippens
11. Romantic True North! Where Enduring Fiction Embraces the Spirit & Warms the Heart. Vince, Ruth Logan Herne, (use a compass as a logo)
12. Romantic Comedy with Cowboys – Official Mary Connealy
13. Stories of Hard Men, Audacious Women, & Rugged Country!
14. Romantic Women’s Fiction…Where LIFE and love collide. Official – Myra Johnson
15. “Romance with Suspense and a kick of wasabi! Vince – Camy Tang
16. Freeing the Romantic Spirit with Inspiration! Vince’s -- Pam Hillman (logo a flying dove)
17. Romance Forged in Faith, Love & Humor! Vince’s – Sandra Leesmith (logo smithy’s anvil).
18. Where Love, Romance & Inspiration Come Sweepin’ Down the Plain! Vince’s – Tina Radcliffe (Logo a tornado swilling around a cross).
19. Faith with an edge…cross my heart. Official – Debby Giusti
20. Where the Mission is Inspiration, Romance, & Rescuing the Human Spirit! Vince’s – Cheryl Wyatt (use parachute logo).
21. “Love on the Light Side” – Official – Glynna Kaye
22. Lifting the Spirit with the Power of Romance! Vince -- Tina Radcliffe, (logo: a dove flying next to a lighting bolt).
23. ‘Gilded Age’ romance with a touch of mystery. Official – Cara Lynn James
24. Where Passion Makes The Spirit Soar!
Vince – Julie Lessman (use a soaring eagle as a logo)
25. “Inspiration, Humor, Romance” -- Official – Sandra Leesmith
26. Making Romance a Peak Experience! Vince – Audra Harders (use mountain peak logo)