Monday, July 12, 2010

Part One: Who Are You?

The ACFW Conference is just weeks away, so I know many of you are wondering what you need or even where to start. Over the next four days, I’ll be posting some basics to help you get prepared. We’ll talk about identifying your genre or brand, one sheets, business cards, and how to apply this later on to your website, blogs, and future promotions.

So let’s start at the beginning. Who are you? Every path needs a starting point and creating marketing materials start with two things:

What am I selling?
Who am I selling it to?

Now to apply this to writing, start with your product. Your stories are your product, whether you’re published or unpublished (or pre-published, if you prefer). Start by identifying if you’re “genre specific” or “niche specific.”

Genre specific identifies what kind of stories you write. Suspense, YA, historicals, etc. Even if your story is a combination of genres, decide which is the stronger element to identify your book. In the long run, this helps agents and editors to identify and place your product. Where will it fit, and how will they market it?

If your story has more to do with a culture (Camy Tang’s Sushi Series), a hobby (Rebeca Seitz Scrapbooker’s Series), or ministry (Palmer and Chapman’s The Four Seasons of a Marriage Series), then your story is niche specific and serves a very unique demographic.

And it’s possible your stories could be both genre and niche specific, which can be even more appealing. Now don’t sweat this too much. It’s not an exact science, and if you’re just starting on your writing journey, keep it simple.

Once you’ve made this distinction, identify your market. Now I’m going to take the word “market” and use the word “mood” for my purposes here. The idea is to create materials that will portray what your story is about and clearly show that to the editor and/or agent you plan to pitch to. This is crucial to how you create your one sheets and business cards, and for published authors for your bookmarks and newsletters.

If your story is what you’d describe as a suspense or thriller, you don’t want to put cute little flowers and use bright colors on your one sheet. And if that’s your genre, you don’t want a business card that looks more like something a chick-lit writer would have. This all boils down to imagery and first impressions. This is an opportunity to communicate clearly who you are AND what you’re selling.

Tomorrow, I’ll cover more specific ideas for designing one sheets. I’ll also have some resource links for free and affordable royalty free photographs to help create that mood we’re talking about as well as communicate your story.

Feel free to leave questions in the comment section. See you tomorrow!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias, one of my favorite writing books! Leave a comment each day for more chances to win.


Lisa Jordan said...

Last year I tried to come up with a personal tagline to identify my contemporary romance and women's fiction work. I came up with "Promises of Hope and Happily Ever After" because my WF novels offer hope and my romances have HEAs, of course.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post. Your one sheets are gorgeous!

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Ronie Kendig said...

Excellent advice, girlie! I can't believe the conference is so close. WOW!

Phyllis Wheeler said...

Very helpful ideas for a newbie!

Cara Putman said...

Great advice as always! Thanks, Dineen! You're a master at helping us look good.

Dineen A. Miller said...

Thanks, everyone! Always a pleasure. :-)