Monday, October 29, 2018

Finding Your Brand by Amy Rognlie

Amy Rognlie

Hi, friends. Annette here. Today's guest is fellow Mountain Brook Ink author, Amy K. Rognlie. Do you have a well-established brand? Or perhaps you're beginning to build it. Amy's advice on finding our brand is full of wisdom. Read on!

Finding Your Brand
by Amy Rognlie

I recently attended a writer’s retreat, where we had the inevitable discussion about author branding. We defined brand not simply as our slogans or the look of our book covers, but as who we are as people. We talked about examining our work and finding the common thread that ran through all our stories—a recurring theme that always shines through our work.

You are your “brand.” Your themes come out of our personal experiences, so it seems like it should be easy to discover your own personal themes. But it sometimes takes time and retrospection to see the common thread. A writer friend recently discovered that all his books have the theme of second chances and new seasons. Why? Because that’s the story of his life. Redemption.

For me, I was well past writing my fourth or fifth book when it dawned on me that the overarching theme of every one of my books is hope. But not just hope. True hope that shines even through difficult circumstances because it is a hope grounded in God’s faithfulness. Thus my slogan, “Real Characters. Real Issues. Real Faith.”

Maybe you can pinpoint immediately what your main theme is. Or maybe like my friend Bruce, you’ll have to purposely set out to discover your theme. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Look at your own life story. What is God constantly bringing up in your life? Has He taught you to trust Him during difficult times? Or maybe you’ve finally learned to set boundaries. Or face your fears. Or overcome a terminal illness. How does your experience shine through the maybe not-so-fictional experiences of your characters?
  2. Another way to ferret out your theme is to think of your three favorite movies. What are the themes of those movies? Grace under fire? Love conquers all? What goes around comes around? Whatever it is, it’s probably pretty close to your own theme.
  3. Examining reader feedback is also valuable. Look at your reviews. What chord are you striking with your readers? If the same thing is mentioned over and over, that’s a clue to your theme.

But why is it important to know your theme? As believers in Jesus Christ, the main reason is this: “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” Romans 8:28 (The Passion Translation)

The events of our lives are not random. God Himself has given your life a theme. He is the author of your story. And He has a higher purpose than we could ever fathom. Every life experience—good or bad—is redeemed when we choose to repurpose it to proclaim His faithfulness through our pen. Would you let Him do that through you today?

Where There's a Will by Amy Rognlie

Where There’s A Will

A mysterious postcard, a decades-old mystery, and a cranky realtor have suddenly thrown Callie Erickson’s plans into a tailspin. Callie, Todd and friends have their hearts set on building Hope House, a home for sex-trafficking victims. But before they can make much headway, Callie is confronted with the mysterious death of someone much closer to her than she’d like.

Was it murder? Callie isn’t so sure, but with Todd’s help, she’s doing her best to find out, even as she is drawn deeper into their relationship. Can she trust herself to love him? In the meantime, Aunt Dot and Harry are dealing with intrigue of their own. Will Harry’s missing relatives ever be found? As Callie delves deeper, she learns startling answers to these questions and to the questions of her own heart.

Amy Rognlie writes inspirational fiction, including mysteries and historical novels. She also blogs regularly on devotional topics on her website, When not writing, she is teaching middle school language arts or leading a Bible study at the local jail. Amy lives in Central Texas with her husband, granddaughter, dogs (including a pug, of course), and a plethora of plants, yarn, and books.