It would be nice if writers only needed to write, but that’s no longer the case. There’s a whole lot more expected of us, and it can certainly feel overwhelming! Today, author Tracy Higley shares both encouraging words and practical advice about marketing strategy. I think you’ll find it helpful no matter where you are in your own journey to publication. ~ Dawn
How Uncovering Your Brand Brings Peace
by Tracy 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:
- 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.
- Analyze your lifestyle – your hobbies, your personal style, how you spend free time, places you love.
- 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?
- Brainstorm with a spouse, editor, or trusted friend to get some feedback on what you’re seeing.
- Distill all of this into an idea or tagline – it doesn’t need to be a forever tagline. It can grow and evolve, and it’s more for your own benefit than your readers at this point.
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.
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!
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Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored nine novels, including Garden of Madness and Isle of Shadows. 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