Branding and Re-branding Yourself by Steph Beth Nickel

old typewriter

This post first appeared on InScribe Writers Online. 

Ask These Questions

What can you see yourself writing about five years from now? Ten years from now?

What is the overarching theme of your writing? What fires you up? What can’t you stop talking—and writing—about?

How do you want to be known? Close to home and out in cyberspace?

If you can narrow your focus in these areas, you just may have found your theme, your tagline, your brand.

Narrow Your Focus

The name of my blog was originally “Steph’s Eclectic Interests.” That should give you an indication of how not focused I am. A dear friend and fellow writer said, “Each blog you post is focused on a single topic.” Talk about gracious!

A few years back, another dear friend said my tagline should be “Riding Shotgun.” And although I gave her a funny look when she said it, when she explained her reasoning, I was humbled and honoured. Because I “come alongside” others and assist them, she thought “Riding Shotgun” would be descriptive of that.

Not being a country music fan (don’t hate me), I never did go with her suggestion, but I don’t suppose I’ll ever forget it.

Like so many other people, I’m what I call “stupid busy.” It isn’t that I don’t like what I do—to the contrary. But it is long past time that I had a singular focus. And just a few days ago, I found it. <bouncing up and down, clapping>

A lot of factors came together to make it happen.

On June 25, I attended the Saturday sessions at the Write Canada conference. There, Belinda Burston stopped me to take my picture. Brenda J. Wood joined me in the shot. And I’m ever so glad she did! That picture is now plastered across the Web. It’s one of those shots that makes me grin—me with my newly dyed burgundy hair and Brenda with her flowered hat. (Who says writers are a stuffy, serious lot?)

That picture was a significant contributing factor to what followed. And late Thursday night, a tagline popped into my head. It was perfect: “To Nurture & Inspire.” I headed off to Dreamland flying high.

I spent the best parts of Friday re-branding myself online. I had to find the right background (thank you, pixabay.com), the right font and the right graphic (thank you, picmonkey.com).

Follow These Quick Tips

So, to close, I’d like to recommend six quick tips for branding (or re-branding) yourself:

  1. Pray. As Christians, it’s amazing to think that God cares about every detail of our life.
  1. Keep an eye out. You never know when inspiration is going to strike. Re-branding myself wasn’t on my To Do list last week, but one thing led to another and then another, and finally, “Poof!”
  1. Get creative. Explore sites like Pixabay and PicMonkey. Let your Inner Creative out to play. It’s amazing how much fun you can have. I admit that I’m more of a “pantser” when it comes to these kinds of endeavours. However, if you like to be more deliberate in your planning, you can find how-to YouTube videos on just about any subject.
  1. Know when it’s time to hire a pro. You may not have the time or the know-how to create your own brand. However, you will want to work hands-on with whomever you hire. You want to be able to say, “If I could have done it on my own, this is exactly what I would have done.”
  1. Your brand isn’t forever. At least it doesn’t have to be. If your focus narrows or changes, even if you just get tired of it, it’s alright to rework it. Don’t get me wrong; if you’re well-established, it may take some time for your readers to adjust, but I would venture a guess that most of them will.

And …

  1. Enjoy yourself. Even if your message is a serious one, I believe there’s something satisfying about choosing a profile picture and tagline as well as colours and graphics that are an extension of your message—and further, an extension of yourself.

Do you have a brand? Are you pleased with it or is it time for some revamping?

 

Contributed by Stephanie Nickel, CES writer and editor

Now Offering More Marketing Services

Most writers love to write. But then comes the time to sell. Whether using a traditional publisher or publishing independently, marketing is essentially up to the author.

How about you? Do you have a book you want to sell? Maybe it’s written and you have cases of them in the garage–a powerful message that needs to be in the hands of readers. Perhaps your book has just been printed . . . or maybe it’s still in the editing process. It’s time to market!

Perhaps you don’t have the time. Or don’t know where to start. We can help you!

Lois Lofton, CES Marketing Specialist, has helped many of our clients market their books and ministries. She can coach you in your online marketing. Or she can develop and maintain it. And she gets results! Here’s what one client had to say:

Lois has been superb in literally taking us from square one on Facebook to a vibrant, meaningful outreach. She takes short verses and encouragements and like arrows shoots them to the target every time. (Doug Coen, FindAnswers4Life.com)

team.lois-120-140

Lois Lofton

Lois received her BA in Marketing from West Chester University in 1987. She soon left the business world to give her time and talents as an AGWM career missionary to the Czech Republic. It was there she learned to value flexibility, communication, relationship-building, and adaptability – all necessary elements for thriving in today’s business environment. Her love for God and His people is her motivation to serve others in their God-given calling. Lois wants to help you get your book out there where God can use it to make a difference in the lives of people. From a marketing standpoint, she sees her efforts best described as “matching clients with their audience.”

I am excited to announce that Suzan Cook recently joined our CES team as a marketing specialist. With years of experience, Suzan can work with you to develop an overall marketing plan.

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Suzan Cook

Suzan has over twenty years’ experience in sales, marketing, public relations, and communication and media services for authors, businesses, ministries, and nonprofit organizations. She helps authors, large and small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and ministries market themselves and grow by gaining presence and prestige in their communities. Because of her passion for helping people grow in their relationship with Christ through a real personal daily walk with Him, Suzan loves working with Christian authors to help them get their message out.

Please read more about our services. Whether it’s getting the word out about your ministry or selling your book . . . we’d love to discuss possibilities with you. Please email me at Karen@ChristianEditingServices.com to learn more. No obligation at all. I’ll put you in touch with Lois or Suzan . . . and we can go from there.

Time to Market

PictureAre you writing a book?  Time to think about marketing!

Many writers are so absorbed in writing their book that they don’t think ahead to what will happen when it’s written and in print and/or online as an ebook. But it’s never too early to plan for marketing. Who am I writing to? What will make them want to read my book? How can I let them know about my book? These are questions you need to answer. No matter how important the message in your book . . . or how well you have presented it . . . it will only help people if they read it.

Need help in the area of marketing? Whether you are thinking about writing a book, have written it, or have piles of the printed books in your garage . . . our marketing specialist, Lois Lofton, can help you get it in the hands of readers.

We have a basic coaching package to help you learn how to do the marketing. Or we can do part of it for you. We can build an author website for you, set you up on Facebook, and even design a trailer to advertise your book. Read more details about all this on our website.

Here are comments from two of our marketing clients:

Lois has been superb in literally taking us from square one on Facebook to a vibrant, meaningful outreach. She takes short verses and encouragements and like arrows shoots them to the target every time.
FindAnswers4Life.org
FindAnswers4Life.wordpress.com

Just wanted you to know what an EXCEPTIONAL job Lois has done. She is truly working as though she is working for The Lord! Thanks for this great service!
Rhonda Landry
Author, Abyss to Abundance

Want to know more? Please email me for more information: karen@ChristianEditingServices.com or click here to complete our contact form.

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Marketing Your Book

Most writers love to write. But then comes the time to sell. And most writers do not like to market. Or don’t have time. Or don’t know where to start.

Let us help you!

Lois Lofton

Lois Lofton
CES Marketing Specialist

Lois Lofton, CES Marketing Coach, received her BA in Marketing from West Chester University in 1987. She soon left the business world to give her time and talents as an AGWM career missionary to the Czech Republic. It was there she learned to value flexibility, communication, relationship-building, and adaptability – all necessary elements for thriving in today’s business environment. Her love for God and His people is her motivation to serve others in their God-given calling. Lois wants to help you get your book out there where God can use it to make a difference in the lives of people. From a marketing standpoint, she sees her efforts best described as “matching clients with their audience.”

Lois can coach you in your online marketing. Or she can develop and maintain it. And she gets results! Here’s what one client said:

Lois has been superb in literally taking us from square one on Facebook to a vibrant, meaningful outreach. She takes short verses and encouragements and like arrows shoots them to the target every time.

Doug Coen
FindAnswers4Life.org ~ FindAnswers4Life.wordpress.com

Visit our site to learn more about the various marketing packages we offer.

Something New!

Exciting news! We are now offering book trailers. Read the details here. And here is a sample trailer created by Lois!

New! Bundle and Save

Bundle and Save

We recently began offering a bundle discount. If you contract for three services, you receive a 3% discount on everything. Four services, a 4% discount. Five or more services, a 5% discount.

Some of our services . . .

Editing: Various levels available.

E-book: If you would like to sell your book online as an ebook, we can help you with that. First we would format it and then submit it to online vendors like Amazon and Smashwords (your choice).

Format for print:  You can read more about this service at http://www.christianeditingservices.com/book-formatting-services.html.

Book cover design: Depends on the package you choose. (See http://www.christianeditingservices.com/book-cover-design.html .) Prices start at $250. (Less if it is for an ebook instead of print)

Marketing: We now offer coaching to help you market your book! I’m very excited about this service because it’s help most authors need. You can read about it at http://www.christianeditingservices.com/marketing-christian-books.html. The basic coaching package of six hours is $250.

INTERESTED? Visit our website or email me at karen@ChristianEditingServices.com.

New! Christian Book Marketing Services

Through my years of working with authors, I’ve learned that most want help marketing their books. Whether you self-publish or use a traditional publishing house, the bulk of the marketing is up to you. And with our cyber world, the how-to’s of marketing constantly change. 
 
I’ve wanted to be able to offer help with the marketing, but until now have never found just the right person–someone with both marketing skills and a heart for helping Christian authors make a difference. No matter how well-written or meaningful your book is, it must reach the hands of readers to be effective.
 
Lois Lofton

Lois Lofton

I’m happy to announce that the “right person” I’ve been waiting for has arrived. Lois Lofton has joined our team as a marketing coach. Lois has a degree in marketing and a rich background in both ministry and business. She has developed an exciting marketing package that includes six hours of coaching to help you get on your way! Or if you would rather spend more time writing and less on Internet marketing . . . she can do the hands-on work for you.

 
If you are just getting ready to start a book . . . it’s time to plan your marketing. If you’ve published your book already but want to sell more . . . it’s time to plan your marketing. Visit our site to read more about these new services. And sign up for a FREE 20-minute consultation! During the free consultation, Lois will help you . . .

  • Determine what your general goals are
  • Define your niche in the Christian market
  • Describe your target audience
  • Decide general strategies for connecting with your target audience.
I hope you will get in touch with Lois soon. It will be time well spent.

PromoCave

PromoCave.com

I recently received this message on LinkedIn. Check it out! Here’s a chance to get in on the beginning.

Join the BETA program for FREE – visit www.PromoCave.com and fill out the form.

We have 30,000 members in our Book Writer Group on LinkedIn. With feedback from all of you and more than 3,500 comments every month we’ve been working on an Author Software Platform.

This software platform is ONE year in the making with programming and adjustments. It will provide writers a way to become better writers, network with colleagues, and find their audience. Readers will be able to find you, read your work, and become fans; giving you feedback and starting conversations around your work.

All of this is FREE for you and all authors. This includes your BLOG, WEBSITE, BOOK PAGE, MEDIA PAGE, writing webinars, marketing webinars, and we’ll do all the marketing of the site to bring traffic to your work.

Once you join me and the team will send you emails for the status, next steps and what is happening with the platform. We’ll choose 100 new writers at a time for the first weeks and help them one-on-one develop their Author Marketing Platform for free to make sure they are up and running. Make sure you are one of the first ones to join.

Join the BETA program for FREE – visit www.PromoCave.com and fill out the form.
Thanks,

Jorge S. Olson
Group Administrator


October Webinars from the Christian Writers Guild

October 9, 8-9 pm Eastern: “How to Get Ideas and Inspiration” by Deborah Raney

October 25, 8-9 pm Eastern:  “Ten Ways to Increase Your Platform Using Facebook” by Suzanne Eller


Expand Your Market

One of the greatest challenges faced by any author is marketing. Here’s my book. I believe it can help people . . . but how do I get it in their hands?

Here are two books to consider purchasing to help you deal with that challenge successfully: Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt and Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, Second Edition by Sara Bolme.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. Michael Hyatt’s website says this: “As the former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest publishers in the world, I’ve met hundreds of hugely talented people with outstanding ideas. Unfortunately, most of them couldn’t get published. Why? They didn’t have a ‘platform.'”

Hyatt says  a platform provides visibility, amplification, and connection. Through years of learning by doing, he has successfully built his platform with remarkable results. In this book, he tells readers how they can build theirs.  “Platform consists of five sections and sixty, short chapters full of practical steps, real-world examples, and helpful resources. It is not armchair theory. It is not idle speculation. It is full of “news you can use” to help you build your own platform.”

Read more about Platform here. Order here.


Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, Second Edition

Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, Second Edition by Sarah Bolme. Sarah Bolme offers a wealth of information about marketing your book. Though many of the pointers are directed to publishers, if you are self-publishing, you are the publisher!

Two things I especially appreciate about this book:

  • (1) It is aimed at the Christian marketplace.
  • (2) It is not just theory. It is hands-on, nuts and bolts information providing an abundance of helpful website addresses, addresses, and phone numbers.

Read more about the book and order here.

Please visit my Amazon Affiliate Christian Editing Services Bookstore

Webinars for Authors

You may be familiar with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. I would encourage you to visit their site. You’ll find an excellent source for training and encouragement.

One training and encouragement tool they use is webinars. You can attend these live sessions via the Internet . . . or purchase the videos from their growing webinar library. A glance at the titles reveals that there is something for everyone. Here are just a few of the topics:

  • Write the Query Letter That Will Sell
  • Writing from Painful Experiences
  • Write How-To Articles That Sell
  • Evoking Emotion in Your Reader
  • How to Present Christian Themes to a Mainstream Audience
  • Make Money Writing for Specialty Markets
  • Making Your Non-Fiction Sing
  • Using Social Media to Build Your Online Platform

Please let us know if you’ve ever participated in one of these webinars. Give us your thoughts.

Sip and Read

Sip and Read

Marketing can be one of the greatest challenges for writers. If you write Christian fiction, you are facing an especially big marketing challenge. I just received a blog post from Sarah Bolme about Sips – a relatively new way to promote fiction stories, so I decided to check it out.

Sips is for “sharing stories on the go.” Participating coffee venues offer Sips Cards to their customers. A Sips Card is a business card linked to media. “Each card contains a QR code (like a bar code), loaded with a short story from an independent writer meant to last as long as their drink.”  The code can be scanned by Smartphones and iPods and iPads with cameras.

If your story is accepted by Sips, customers will not only read your story while they enjoy their coffee – they will also have access to your name, the story’s title, and your website address. What a great way to market your writing . . . and even more important, to share messages of God’s truth.

Visit Sips to learn how you can submit a story.


This and That

Sarah Bolme (I mentioned her blog above) wrote The Christian Writer’s Market Guide. This book is a must for any writer wanting to publish. I use it constantly as I write and edit. From the Amazon listing:  ”In addition to providing a wealth of ideas and tips for publishing in the Christian industry, The 2012 Christian Writer’s Market Guide also includes up-to-date information on more than 400 book publishers, more than 600 periodicals, and hundreds of agents, contests, conferences, editorial services, niche markets, self-publishing services, and more. This is the ultimate reference tool for Christian writers.”

Looking for other books? Browse my Amazon affiliate bookstore. I’ve put together a vast collection of books for writers in the Christian Editing Services Bookstore. Please let me know  if there are any books you’d like me to add to the store.