JULIE HERE ... and every now and then you meet somebody pretty special who goes above and beyond in Christian kindness and when you do, they impact your life forever.
That's exactly what author Tracy Higley did for me when I was fortunate enough to meet her through the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt last fall. You see, Tracy was the author who was hosting me on that hunt, and after she learned I was Internet and blog illiterate, she took it upon herself (unbeknownst to me) to check out my website and noticed a lot of things that could cause me problems.
Turns out my blog Journal Jots (on which I would be hosting author Kristen Heitzmann) loaded reallllllllly slow, which meant a lot of people might not wait for it to open. Tracy is SO savvy technically that she was able to determine what the problem was, actually took the time to run a “load-time test” -- AGAIN, unbeknownst to me! She then looked to see what website company I was using and sent me a very detailed e-mail with links that she took the time to look up, which gave step-by-step tutorials on how to do what she said I needed to do.
Incredibly nice person, huh? No! Incredibly amazing angel who not only ended up doing it fo me, but ACTUALLY went in and fixed tons of other things as well, then offered to do whatever else I needed including adding a subscribe button to my Journal Jots blog, something I'd been trying to do FOREVER!! So, thanks to Tracy, if you want to subscribe to my blog Journal Jots and receive an e-mail whenever I post (every Friday) to keep up on what I'm doing, read my latest excerpts, or find out about giveaways, here's the link: SUBSCRIBE TO JOURNAL JOTS.
Needless to say, not only is Tracy Higley one of the kindest authors I have ever run across in this business, but one of the savviest as well, AND a wonderful author who has even been a Christy Award finalist. So, without further ado, I give you my dear friend Tracy Higley. Listen to her, people, the woman KNOWS what she's talking about!!
How Uncovering Your Brand Brings Peace
by Tracy L. Higley
With the publishing industry in upheaval these days, writers are paying close attention to buzz words like discoverability, platform, and branding. Where and when is a writer to begin? Marketing ideas and opportunities are endless, and finding time to actually write seems impossible. Posting, tweeting, commenting. Blogging, sending newsletters, updating my website, growing my email list. Ack! I’m hyperventilating!
Okay, relax, breathe, and let’s take a step backward.
I’ve watched countless writers over the years plunge headlong into various marketing and platform-building activities with little or no strategy, except to imitate what seems to be working for others. This is a sure path to burnout, discouragement and inefficiency. I’m here today to tell you that it doesn’t need to be that way for you.
Whether you are already published or working toward that goal, you are no doubt thinking about marketing. If I could encourage you with one paragraph, here it is:
You need a customized marketing plan that is especially for you. It starts with a clear understanding of who you are as a writer (your brand) and then a clear understanding of the types of marketing that flow from and support that brand. You develop a plan that perfectly suits who you are, and then let go of everything that doesn’t.
Did you hear that last part? You don’t need to do it all, and in fact, you shouldn’t. The key is to uncover who you already are as a writer and go from there. Unlock the fascinating truths about yourself and your writing, then help readers fall in love with what you write.
It’s time to stop comparing yourself to others, cherry-picking ideas that seem to work for them, feeling guilty that you’re not doing enough or defeated in what you are doing. Instead, let’s focus on what makes you unique, and keep your efforts within the circle of that uniqueness. Let the storm of marketing craziness swirl around you, while you remain at peace in the center of your unique circle.
Space does not permit a full lesson on uncovering your brand here, but let me give you five quick starters:
1. If you’re published and have reviews on Amazon, etc., go there and filter for ONLY your 4- and 5-star reviews. Read them all and make notes of phrases readers use to describe what they love most about your writing. Find common threads.
2. Analyze your lifestyle – your hobbies, your personal style, how you spend free time, places you love.
3. Focus on the sensory – what colors, images, sounds, words, texture, smells come to mind when you think about your true self, when you’re immersed in the things you love most?
4. Brainstorm with a spouse, editor, or trusted friend to get some feedback on what you’re seeing.
When your writing and your marketing flows from this idea, it’s easy and fun! I could say much more about how to use all of these discoveries to uncover your brand and then choose marketing ideas from it, but we must end.
If you get nothing else from this post, remember this: Uncovering your unique brand and letting it guide your marketing brings peace in the midst of an unsettled publishing world! My own brand involves world-travel, exotic settings and all the fascinating adventures I can bring to my novels. If you’d like to see what my brand looks like in marketing, take some time to explore my website.
And if you’d like to experience my brand in the pages of a novel, I hope you’ll escape to a Greek island with me, in my latest release, Isle of Shadows!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from those of you who are feeling overwhelmed – what are the tasks that cause you the most stress as you think about marketing your writing? Let me know or just leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Isle of Shadows!
Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored ten novels, including Garden of Madness, Isle of Shadows and the upcoming So Shines the Night. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. See her travel journals and more at TracyHigley.com
Raised as courtesan to wealthy and powerful men, Tessa of Delos serves at the whim of her current patron, the politician Glaucus. After ten years with him, Tessa has abandoned all desire for freedom or love, choosing instead to lock her heart away.
JACKET BLURB FOR ISLE OF SHADOWS:
But when Glaucus meets a violent death in his own home, Tessa grasps at a fragile hope. Only she knows of his death. If she can keep it a secret long enough, she can escape.
Tessa throws herself on the mercy of the Greek god Helios, but finds instead unlikely allies in Nikos, a Greek slave, and Simeon, Glaucus’s Jewish head servant. As Simeon introduces her to a God unlike any she has ever known and Nikos begins to stir feelings she had thought long dead, Tessa fights to keep her heart protected.
As an assassination plot comes to light, Tessa must battle for her own freedom—and for those to whom she has begun to open her heart—as forces collide that shatter the island’s peace.