Note: My Story Empire partners pushed for me to write this. (You know who you are.)
Hi, gang. Craig here again for something called Five for Friday. This is where we pick five things, hopefully related to writing, and share them with all of you. If this one has a theme to it, it has to be advertising.
My opinion is that I am the brand. Sure, I have books available, and will have more, but those are short sighted advertising. When I talk about branding, I’m looking at a bigger picture. I needed something to make myself stand out from the crowd a bit.
Once upon a time, I wrote a novel called Wild Concept. It was the first thing I ever published, but not the first one I ever wrote. I decided to publish it, because I really liked the character and the character arc. It’s a bit rough around the edges, and it shows me how far I’ve come since those days. Nutshell explanation: Lisa Burton is a concept model robot built for experimental and promotional purposes. She escapes her shackles and declares her independence.
There I was, trying to figure out how to sell this thing on the internet. I had a blog, and decided to occasionally say something about the book. This led to some fictional posts where I interacted with Lisa, but they were more about my writing challenges.
It turned out the posts with Lisa were pretty popular, so I added some other fictional characters. Some are unique to the blog, some are characters from other stories I’ve written.
At this time, the only graphic of Lisa was the original book cover, but I decided maybe something for the blog could be helpful. I commissioned my first piece of blog art.
5.) When my first piece of blog art arrived, I was both excited and apprehensive. The day I shared it set records for my blog traffic, at that time. There have been many pieces prepared for the blog today. My number five Lisa Burton promotion is the blog art. Here is a small collage.
4.) In the novel, Lisa was much like a concept automobile. Promotion was a big part of her reason for existence. I might be a little slow on the uptake, but I get there eventually. Lisa was recognizable, popular, and drew the eye. This all sounded like what we want for a book cover. We want people to at least stop and look. This works really well for promotional blog tours. I had participated in tours as myself many times, but people wanted to have Lisa come over. I started commissioning artwork to promote my subsequent books with. Why not, actually? People make fancy banners, book trailers, and such. My number four choice is posters to promote individual books with. I usually commission three, but only did one for Quantum Wanderlust. QW is an anthology, and I only have one tale in it. I’ll include the Egyptian Lisa in this collage. I’m thinking about using it for a new iPhone cover, since it also includes my image. (Twice)
3.) At this point, Lisa became kind of my trademark. She is a recognizable entity. She might not be the Golden Arches yet, but among the independent author community she is recognizable. I’m not exactly known for writing lengthy series, but Lisa helps tie all my works together. It’s always a fair idea to help other authors, and we’re actually dedicated to it here at Story Empire. There is an occasion where I might want Lisa to help illustrate a concept. This requires something I can reuse on occasion. I had my artist make a sequence of six “whiteboard” images. These involve Lisa using her pointer at three different angles, and from the left and right side of the board. A board which I can add anything I want, including graphics. While I was at it, he made me some “sign shaker” images, and gave me a selection of colors for Lisa’s outfits. These have also proven useful for promotion on social media. My number three choice is re-usable artwork.
2.) At this point, I’m all in. I decided that if Lisa was my recognizable logo, I might as well expand a bit. I got her a Facebook site, and use it to interact there. FB requires some specific images, so I had them commissioned. A bonus here is the availability of apps to add some fun things to the graphics. My number two concept is to use those images to promote my brand everywhere. This collage is of things I’ve put through an app to add something to them.
1.) At this point, with Lisa becoming popular, and in my desire to help other authors, I created a platform for you to promote your books. It’s called Lisa Burton Radio, and Lisa interviews the characters from your books. As part of this, I commissioned the most popular poster to date. It’s been posted on over a hundred interviews and counting. In the spirit of making a collage, I’ll also include a “red carpet” image that I’ve had the background changed on several times to reflect the event. In this case it was Lisa’s 100th episode. My number one choice is using my logo to help others reach their goals.
To bring this full circle, it never hurts to have a logo or something that makes your body of work recognizable. It wouldn’t be hard to come up with a logo, symbol, or something else recognizable to promote your own brand. I’m still waiting around for my next fun idea, and you can almost bet it will include my spokesmodel in some fashion.
Lisa’s artist is the amazing Sean Harrington. He has a fun webcomic called Spying With Lana, and has done covers for quite a few independent authors.