Friday, December 5, 2014

Help! I Need Help With Branding!!!

By Judith Ashley

No, not the kind made with a hot iron or a tattoo.

I need help with my author branding.

2014 has been a busy year for me. By January 1, 2015 I’ll have published 4 full length novels and 5 short stories with a 6th one coming out by mid-January. In addition, by that time, I’ll have participated in 4 book signings. But most important, I’ve attended 2 writer’s conferences and several workshops as well as read a couple of author marketing books.

The author marketing books and several of the workshops talk about creating an ‘author brand’. This is where I need help—your help to be more specific.

What I’ve already done:

Named my series. Not an easy task. It took over a year to finally settle on The Sacred Women’s Circle series.

Hired Christy Caughie’s Gilded Heart Design to create the book covers for my The Sacred Women’s Circle series. My covers all have a cohesive design and if you look closely, you’ll see the ‘overlay’ which conveys the mystical/spiritual element that is in all the books. Check out the upper left-hand corner to see one of my favorite cover elements.

Hired Christy’s Gilded Heart Design to update my website and create a ‘new look’ that is part of my author brand.

Purchased Joel Friedlander’s Media Kit and created varied length bio’s.

But then I attended Emerald City Writer’s Conference in October and realized I need to be even more focused regarding my brand. One of the important pieces is to consistently label/market yourself. You’ll see excellent examples with B.A. Binns and Pippa Jay’s posts. Each post starts out with their name and their genre – a bit about what they write.

Here’s where you come in. I’ve written three short introductions (19 – 22 words) and I’d like your input as to which one best showcases my brand. BTW: the experts say 20 words is best because of how search engines like Google scan for content.

1. Welcome, I’m Judith Ashley, author of contemporary romantic women’s fiction and spiritual romance: stories that celebrate the journey from Relationship to Romance. (22 words)

2. Judith Ashley’s twenty plus years in sacred women’s circles gives her stories an authenticity that enhances a reader’s experience. (19 words)

3. Hi, I’m Judith Ashley. I write romantic women’s fiction with spiritual elements. My stories are all about journeys from Relationship to Romance. (22 words)

If you have other ideas, please share! Commenters will be entered into a drawing for a $5.00 gift card for Starbucks. Please be sure I have your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner! Drawing will be held 12/10/2014. If you want to know who the winner is, I’ll post it at on my Judith Ashley blog.


Mindy Hardwick said...

I like the second one. When I looked at your website what intrigued me about your stories and made me want to read them are the Sacred Womens circles. This is much more specific than spiritual elements which could be so many things. The sacred women's circles are what makes me think....ah...a Judith Ashley story!

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks, Mindy! I hadn't thought of it that way but what you say does make sense.

Patricia Burroughs aka Pooks said...

I like Mindy's point, but I like the first-person nature of the others. Maybe a variation:

"Hi, I’m Judith Ashley. I write about things that are important to me—romance told through the lens of my twenty years in sacred women's circles."

Terri Reed said...

HI Judith, I like all three for various different reasons though I like #1 best. I think because you start with Welcome, so right away you're inviting the reader in.
I like that you state the genres. I'm not sure what you mean by spiritual romances though or what you mean by sacred women's circles, so neither of those terms hit with me. I like the stories that celebrate the journey from relationship to romance. that tells me exactly what to expect from the book and I want to go on the journey.
just my 2 cents.

Terri Molina said...

Well, I'm no help because I like all three. ;)
Congratulations on your success, Judith. Well deserved!

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for commenting, Pooks! (Patricia) I like the way you've more personalized #2. Something to think about.

Judith Ashley said...

Terri R., Excellent feedback about the 'journeys from relationship to romance' versus the genre. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Judith Ashley said...

I appreciate your support, Terri M. There was something about each of them I liked or I wouldn't have put them up for scrutiny - lol.

Judith said...

Judith, I like #3. I think it can actually be a drawback to hit too heavily on the overriding theme of your stories. Even if readers resonate with your theme, they still want to know that they'll be entertained, and, especially, emotionally engaged with your characters' jouneys. But I see that I'm the only one so far who picked #3, so take that into consideration! One suggestion I'd make is to find out if Theresa Meyers still does branding consultations. Her writing career has taken off, so she may not be doing so any more. I had a consultation with her (a little too early in my career, and things changed afterward), but I've also taken classes on author branding from her. I just checked out her website, and she hasn't updated her writing classes page since 2012, so I don't know that she's still doing that at all. I think you're on a good path with your branding, though, and wish you the best!

Diana McCollum said...

Hi, Judith< I like #3. To me it is exactly what your stories are about. I like spiritual elements vs spiritual romance. What is spiritual romance? I'm not sure. Thanks for letting us participate in your journey. :))

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for your comments and support, Diana.

Judith Ashley said...

Judith, I don't know who you are but really do appreciate your thoughtful input. If you see this, pop back in and leave your email address so you are in the drawing.

Sarah Raplee said...

How about this:

"Hi, I’m Judith Ashley, author of the Sacred Women's Circle Series of spiritual romances - romantic fiction
that nourishes the soul."(20 words)

Are your books about Relationship to Romance or Romance that Nourishes the Soul? definition:
Spiritual fiction often involves a protagonist who embarks on a journey of self-reflection and self-actualisation, which includes spiritual, although not necessarily religious, experiences. Spiritual fiction nourishes the soul, captivates the emotions, and attempts to explain existential questions such as why are we here, what is the meaning of life, and what happens when we die.

Anonymous said...

First, think if you might ever write something other than the Sacred Women's Circles romances. If that is the case, then I would take that part out. As Terri said, it narrows your audience only to those who know what that means.

Second, I really like Sarah's question and suggestion about romantic fiction that nourishes the soul. When I read that I thought: Yes! That really captures Judith and who she is.

Third, your tag line is/could also be romantic fiction that nourishes the soul.

Finally, I disagree that it needs to be limited to twenty words. the Google search display is 156 characters (including spaces). Depending on word length that averages closer to 25 words. In any case you have a great start.

Jessa Slade said...

I like Sarah's suggestion. Takes all the best parts of what you hvae now and remixes them while still leaving you open for brand expansion later.

If you take Maggie's advice and go a little longer, you could add:
"Hi, I’m Judith Ashley, author of the Sacred Women's Circle Series of spiritual romances - romantic fiction that nourish the soul and celebrate the journey From Relationship to Romance."

Susan said...

Hi Judith,

I like Maggie's suggestion for your tag line...romantic fiction that nourishes the soul...because that can follow you when you start a new series, and it really says who you are, I think.

I think starting out with Welcome is warmer, so I tweaked Jessa's suggestion a little :) "Welcome, I'm Judith Ashley, author of the Sacred Women's Circle Series - stories that nourish the soul and celebrate the journey from Relationship to Romance."

Judith Ashley said...

Thank you, Sarah. I've looked up the kinds of books under "spiritual romance" but had gone with the SEO guys read that it fit my books. In many ways it does. I don't see my characters dealing with existential issues but certainly use spiritual practices to find their happily-ever-after among other things.

Judith Ashley said...

Maggie, Good point about future books. At this point I've three more full length novels to write to finish the series. I've also another half-dozen or so (or maybe more) to include secondary characters and the children of the current main characters.

From the comments and suggestions I'm getting I can see I've some thinking to do about my longer term plans. Thank You!

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for the input Jessa and Su,

I like the combination of the 'nourish the soul' and 'relationship to romance'. While "hi" is shorter, I do think "welcome" is warmer.

We everyone's help, I'll have a new introduction to my January 2015 post here at RTG!

Madelle Morgan said...

Hi Judith,

Since most romances describe the journey from relationship to romance, I suggest focusing your brand on what makes yours different. Aren't they about spiritual practices enabling a romantic happily-ever-after? You said it in your comment!

Search Key Words for book descriptions: spiritual development, new age, sacred women's circle, soulmate, romance fiction.

Judith Ashley writes about how spiritually-aware women find their soulmates.

Everyone wants to find their soulmate. Just my thoughts. :)

Judith Laik said...

Judith, I'm away from home, left the next day after your post, then I had three days without email which put me very behind, so I didn't come back again until now. I don't know why it didn't show more about my identity, though I don't remember whether I logged into Google, and I can't log in this time because I didn't think to bring the Google password with me on my travels. It's all right about the drawing. I don't really enter them; I figure it's better for a prize to go to a reader fan, not another writer. You got lots of really good advice. And, you're well on your way. (I do love the Sacred Women's Circle theme!)

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Judith,

Of course after I wrote that my brain expanded to include my GSRWA chapter mates and I knew it was you!

Thanks for your support!!!

Judith A.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks, Madelle - I really admire the work you've done to create your brand and increase your visibility.

I've been playing around with different wording and having fun with it. I also know that when it is a blog post, I can add different key words as labels that the search engines will see without taking up space in my introduction.