authors

Creating Characters’ Personalities

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Today  I met Gretchen Rubin, a New York Times bestselling author, as she celebrated her newest book release, The Four Tendencies. I hadn’t heard about Rubin before attending the event, but since I’m continuing to research personality characteristics to help my fictional characters come to life, Rubin’s book title intrigued me. In her talk, Rubin shared that her book, The Four Tendenciesfocuses less on specific personality types or temperaments, and more on an “expectations framework” – how a person responds to the inner and outer expectations placed upon them. Here’s how she breaks down these four characteristics:

GretchenRubin_SpkrA. Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations. They value authenticity and self-determination.

B. Questioners meet only inner expectations. They push back against and question all expectations. Above all, they do something only if they think it makes sense — they hate anything arbitrary.

C. Obligers meet outer expectations but not always inner ones. In other words, they usually need some form of external accountability.

D. Upholders generally meet both inner and outer expectations, meaning they don’t let others or themselves down.

Over the past few months, I’ve researched several personality/character indicators to get a feel for the positive and negative sides of typical thought and behavior patterns. This serves as a checklist to help me see if my fictional characters are acting true to their given natures (personality temperaments) that I’ve assigned them. It also provides me with an easy list of what their inherent weaknesses and strengths are. I can use their weakness to increase conflict and use their strengths to help them overcome their fears and conquer their problems and conflict – all while staying true to their assigned character traits, making them more believable as a real people.

1. Expectations Framework and the Four Personality Temperaments:  Rubin believes her Expectations Framework can float on top of any of the four personality temperaments, but having researched these personality types for the past several months, I can also see how they might link up with them. Sites I have explored included descriptions and self-quizzes, as one from Psychologia and, for ease of use, a personality type calculator. The four temperaments are said to influence appearance, thinking, behavior, and possibly even career choices. One site states that the “origins of this typology belong to Graeco-Arabic medicine where it was successfully used to treat illnesses.” These types were originally labeled:
A. Choleric (Rubin’s Rebel)
B. 
Melancholic (Rubin’s Questioners)
C.
Sanguine (Rubin’s Obligers)
D. Phlegmatic (Rubin’s Upholders)
To help our modern minds better grasp the distinctions between these four types, some descriptive names have been attached to these ancient Latin and Greek names by various researchers, authors and trainers. Several of these are explained below.

2. The Smalley Institute
As a writer, I found the Smalley Institute examination of temperaments most helpful because this assessment tool focuses on viewing personality types in terms of how they affect relationships, a very important element in developing fictional stories. Smalley also links animal images to each of the temperaments:

personality_test_Lion-Beaver_Otter_-Golden_Retriever.pngA. Choleric – Lion (bold)
B. Melancholic – Beaver (careful, busy worker)
C.
Sanguine – Otter (playful)
D. Phlegmatic – Golden Retriever (loyal)
The Smalley Institute also charts each style’s relational strength to illustrate how these strengths look when they get out of balance (for example, when a character experiences stress or conflict), as well as each type’s dominant communication style, relational needs, and the relational balance each type brings into a relationship. A download of the chart is available here.

3.  The Anatomy of Love – Dr. Helen Fisher
This site focuses on personality types through the lenses of relationships and work, typifying these four traits as:
A. Choleric – Director
B. Melancholic – Builder
C. Sanguine – Explorer
D. Phlegmatic – Negotiator

4. Jung and Myer Briggs
The Jung’s/Myer Briggs assessment focus on four personal preference opposites:
1) E/I: Extrovert, a preference for people and things vs.
     Introvert, a preference for ideas and information
2) S/N: Sensing, a preference for facts and reality vs.
intuitioN, with a preference for possibilities and potential
3) T/F: Thinking and feeling, with a preference to rely on logic and truth vs.
     Feeling, valuing relationship
4)  J/P: Judgment, a preference for a lifestyle that is well-structured vs.
     Perception, preferring a lifestyle that goes with the flow
Because the Myer Briggs assessment focuses on four personality type opposites, there are, in reality, sixteen types provided here.

ISTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ
ISTP ISFP INFP INTP
ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP
ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ

To put Myer Briggs into the context of our four temperaments, however, we can break it down into these four generic categories:
A. Choleric – ENTJ
B. Melancholic – ISTJ
C.  Sanguine – ESFP
D.  Phlegmatic – INFP

5. DISC Assessments
The DISC personal assessment tool is often used by businesses to promote work productivity, teamwork, and communication. These types are labeled as:
D – Dominance, I – Influence, S – Steadiness, C – Conscientiousness (DISC). To keep the various assessments in line with the ones above, however, I will continue to put them in the same sequential order, rather than forming them into the DISC order:
A. Choleric – Dominance / D
B. Melancholic – Conscientiousness / C
C. Sanguine – Influence / I
D. Phlegmatic – Steadiness / S

4-Square-DISC.jpg

6. Business Training Model Based on DISC
The “Take Flight Learning company makes the DISC categories even more accessible by giving them better descriptive names, and ascribing each DISC type with a bird’s name:

A. Choleric -Dominant -Eagles / D
B. Melancholic – Conscientious -Owls / C
C. 
Sanguine – Interactive -Parrots / I
D. Phlegmatic – Supportive -Doves / S

BIRD_personality-styles.PNG

7. Entry Pointe Christian Profile Assessment
Christian writers might find the “Spiritual Office” assessment helpful for their writing genre.

8. Dressing Your Truth – Energy Profile
Carol Tuttle, author of Dressing Your Truth – Discover Your Type of Beauty, looks at the four temperaments as “energy types” and relates these to each types’ best clothing choice:
A. Choleric – Energy: hydrogen/fire  Movement: active, reactive  Clothing/Shapes: exotic, captivating, angular, textured, dynamic, edgy (a mistake for them to wear black colors)   Label: Type 3
B. Melancholic: Energy: carbon/earth  Movement: constant, still   Clothing/Shapes: elongated ovals with straight sides, parallel lines in any direction  Type: 4
C. Sanguine: Energy: nitrogen/air  Movement: up, light  Clothing/Shapes: colorful, festive/circles and points of a star  Label: Type 1
D. Phlegmatic: Energy: oxygen/water  Movement: fluid, flowing  Clothing/Shapes: comfortable clotheselongated S curves, ovals, softened rectangles  Label: Type 2

DISC_clothes.jpg

Four Temperaments – Labels at a Glance

A. Choleric – 1) Rebel 2) Lion 3) Director 4) ENTJ 5) DDominance 6) Dominant/Eagle 7) Prophet, Peter or Apostle, Paul  8) Energy: hydrogen/fire, Type 3

B. Melancholic – 1) Questioner  2) Beaver  3) Builder  4) ISTJ  5) Conscientious  6) Compliant/Owl  7) Teacher, Luke or Apostle, Paul  8)  Energy: carbon/earth, Type 4

C. Sanguine – 1) Obliger  2) Otter  3) Explorer  4) ESFP  5) I Interactive  6) Influencer/Parrot  7) Evangelist, Phillip or Apostle, Paul  8) Energy: nitrogen/air, Type 1

D. Phlegmatic – 1) Upholder  2) Retriever  3) Negotiator  4) INFP  5) S, Steadiness  6) Supportive/Dove  7) Pastor-Shepherd, John  8) Energy: Oxygen/water, Type 2

personality_test_Lion-Beaver_Otter_-Golden_Retriever.png

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: authors, books, Character Development, writing tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Rizzoli and Isles meets Sontag

Gerristen_Sontag.pngThis week I met an author whose series of novels inspired a successful TV drama that spanned 7 seasons with a total of 105 episodes. The author was Tess Gerristen, and her series of medical crime thrillers inspired the TV show, Rizzoli and Isles. Gerristen shared thoughts on what has inspired her writing and how she’s turned these sparks of inspiration into compelling stories.

During Gerristen’s talk, she spoke of getting inspiration from reading newspapers, exploring her interests, and exploring things outside of her area of interest. When something intrigues her in one of these settings, she asks herself “what if” questions. She then turns her creative answers to these “what if” questions into fictional books that have sold over 25 million copies in 40 countries. Here is a three-minute video snippet from her talk as she shares the inspiration for her newest book (and perhaps the last in her Rizzoli and Isles series), I Know a Secret.

Gerristen’s success with medical crime thrillers proves the validity of the admonitions to follow your dream and to write what you know. It also validates authors’ experiences of writing out of their pain. As a child, Gerristen dreamed of one day writing her own Nancy Drew novels. Her Chinese immigrant and Chinese-American parents, however, prompted her to choose a medical career. She graduated from Stanford with a BA in anthropology and then studied medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Afterward, she established a successful practice as an internist. While on maternity leave, Gerristen entered a statewide short story contest and won first place and $500 for a story that focused on a young man reflecting on a difficult relationship with his mother. Gerritsen claims the story allowed her to deal with her own childhood turmoil, including the repeated suicide attempts of her mother.

Gerristen’s first published books were romantic thrillers published by Harlequin Intrigue. Her writing career really took off, however, after she wrote her first romantic medical suspense novel, Harvest, marking her debut on the New York Times bestseller list at number thirteen. Five years later, she wrote The Surgeon, introducing the detective Jane Rizolli. Her next ten novels paired Rizolli with the medical examiner Dr. Laura Isles. The final episode of the TV Rizolli and Isles series aired September 5, 2016, hinting that the medical examiner, Maura Isles (played by Sasha Alexander) will take a break from the medical field and try her hand at writing. Gerristen makes an appearance in this final episode as a writer who helps Maura Isles establish herself in the literary field.

Gerristen shared that a possible eight-episode TV series may surface in the near future featuring Maura Isles as a writer (once again played by Sasha Alexander) who becomes involved in a medical mystery while writing a mystery story when vacationing in Italy. Alexander’s husband, Edoardo Ponti, son of Sophia Loren, will direct the series. Gerristen shared that she’s written what’s called the “Bible” for all eight episodes, and one show includes an appearance by Sophia Loren.

Categories: authors, books, events, in the news, inspiration, writing tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The W Plot

Plotting choices.png

I just read an article on yet another form of plotting. This one’s called the W Plot. My arsenal now includes the Hero’s Journey, the Virgin’s Promise, and the W Plot. I’m a pantser, but I’ve finally come to agree with writing coaches regarding the importance of plotting and finding the right one to fit your novel.

Wplot4.jpg

I just learned about the existence of the W Plot today in an email from writing coach, Lynn Johnston. I then found an article that presented the W Plot’s bare bones on a Blog by Ken Strathy. Intrigued, I went to a video about the W Plot narrated by Mary Carroll Moore in 2011.

Writing coach Lynn Johnston believes that, “The W Plot is one of the most flexible, easy to understand plot structures you can use to plot gripping stories.” Johnston is offering an inexpensive (very) course on the W Plot, so, after reviewing the above information, I signed up.

writers block.jpegI do, however, realize the trap of investing so much time on the creation of plot charts that I never get around to writing or finishing my novel. In fact, spending so much time on the left side of my brain has started to give me right-sided writer’s block!

islands.jpgMoore offers sage advice for this dilemma: “If your storyboard blocks your writing, go back to your brainstorming list of topics and keep generating islands for a little while.” For fiction writers, Moore’s “islands” refer to scenes you generate for a story that may not necessarily connect to your storyboard plan or character arc – at the moment. Generating a list of scenes, and even fleshing out a few, can get the creative juices flowing once again. Moore continues, “Eventually, you need to organize your islands. Your islands must become continents. They can’t stay as islands and create a book.”

Update: I just completed a self-study course by Lynn Johnston on The W Plot. I believe it will help me work through the snags in my current WIP. My new project didn’t fit into the Hero’s Journey or The Virgin’s Promise plot structure. I think this might be it! Johnston has slides, videos, and worksheets available with the course. I highly recommend it!

Categories: authors, books, Hero's Journey, Story Structure, The Virgin's Archetypal Journey, The W Plot | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sleuthing & Subtext

I just read two thought-provoking articles that shared gems I hope to employ in writing the first draft of my next novel’s first chapter – hopefully by this weekend!

Sleuthing.png

One article discussed what the mantra of “show don’t tell” actually means. The writer boiled it down to the concept of “sleuthing” – creating scenes where readers must conduct a bit of detective work in order to figure out what’s going on with the characters. This makes readers feel more engaged in the story, helps them feel as though they’ve come to know the characters better, and provides them with a sense of ownership of the people and the scene. “Since the reader did some work to figure out what was going on, they now feel included, emotionally invested.”

 

subtext.jpeg

The second article illustrates how we can create subtext in dialogue by taking into account all of the forces acting upon a character at a particular moment. Using the illustration of a crumpled ball of paper getting thrown into a trash can, she shows that, while the goal of the shot is to make the ball enter the receptacle, more forces come into play than just the person’s goal of making the shot. Other forces, such as the pull of gravity, the friction of the air, the breeze from the ceiling fan also come into play. The person making the shot makes an assessment (albeit subconsciously) of all those forces before taking the shot. In the same way, “With each line, we [need to] take into account all of the forces acting upon a character.” The protagonist’s goal “is not the only force acting upon the character, it is simply the most dominant. Like the fan breeze that bends the path of the paper ball, other forces will bend the behavior of a character. This is the source of subtext.”

I’m looking forward to creating scenes that invite my readers to do some sleuthing in order to discover my characters’ wants and needs. I also hope to take into account all of the forces acting upon my characters at a given moment in order to create plot points that utilize subtext. Sleuthing and subtext will add layers of dimension to my characters while also deepening my readers’ emotional connection to the characters and the story.

 

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Story Structure – The Virgin’s Archetypal Journey

I recent posted about a Webinar I attended that focused on story structure. The presenter, Beth Barany, has graciously provided a link to the Webinar that also included helpful slides. I highly recommend you take time to view it.

nail down.jpegI’ve recently struggled to nail down the proper structure for my current work in progress. After the Webinar, however, I resonated with a form Beth called “The Virgin’s Archetypal Journey”. Several of the structure categories Beth discussed were ones I’d never heard of before, including this one. Beth emphasized that the word “virgin” in this structure’s title doesn’t refer to a lack of sexual encounters. Rather, it describes a main character who experiences an internal change because he confronts the story’s conflicts and obstacles. These challenges cause the protagonist to discover a dormant, unproven potential that lies within. As the main character acts on this discovery, it changes not only the protagonist, but also the world  he inhabits. This structure differs from the Hero’s Journey where the central figure overcomes obstacles that lead to an inner change, resulting in the hero selflessly saving the community.

The differences between these two structures illuminated the darkness of my writer’s block as I realized that I was trying to make my protagonist a hero, when in reality, he was a virgin!

Beth outlined and described a list of thirteen beats that formulate the world of a character whose storyline fits the virgin’s archetypal structure. The originator of the Virgin’s Archetypal Structure, Kim Hudson, explains her understanding of this construct in an article titled,  “The Virgin’s Promise, a New Archetypal Structure“. I’m still trying to digest all of this new information and would love to hear your take on it!

Categories: authors, books, historical middle grade fiction, inspiration, links, Story Structure, Structure, The Virgin's Archetypal Journey | Leave a comment

How to Choose Your Story’s Structure

rolling up sleeves right.pngNow that I’ve agreed to value lessons more than successes, I’m rolling up my sleeves to make major revisions on my current work in progress. I participated in a Webinar last night titled “How to Choose Your Story’s Structure” (recommended by my writing coach).  The presentation opened up a whole new area of thought for me regarding “structure”.

Hopefully I’ll devote subsequent posts to topics covered in the Webinar, (you can email Beth Barany to ask if she’ll repeat this Webinar in the future) but I’m going to focus first on material Beth referenced from a book titled The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.

recumbent bike left.jpgToday I watched the first of five (free) YouTube videos regarding Coyne’s Story Grid. They were easy to watch while I huffed away on my exercise bike for eight minutes. (No judging here – I’m slowly building up my stamina!). The material filled in knowledge gaps that I realize will make my WIP stronger. I just ordered Coyne’s book and will read that in conjunction with watching the videos.

One of Coyne’s major points that hit me over the head is the idea of creating “obligatory scenes”. This concept proposes that different genre readers have specific scenes they look for when reading a particular genre. If these scene types are not included, the reader will feel disappointed and probably not read more of your work (or may put the book down before finishing}! I never heard the idea  of “obligatory scenes” before. I asked Beth during the Webinar if Coyne covered obligatory scenes for historical fiction, and she did not think so since historical fiction can include either romance, adventure, mystery, or other specific genres. I believe historical fiction, despite its inclusion of some of these other genres, DOES have some specific elements of its own. I’m looking to discuss this further with other historical fiction writers. Any takers?

Categories: authors, books, inspiration, obligatory scenes, Story Structure, Structure | 8 Comments

The Silver Coin – The Aleppo Connection

Silver Coin Cover
John Dewey once said meaningful learning occurs when successive learning experiences “are integrated with one another. It [a learning experience] can be built up only as a world of related objects is constructed.”

That’s one of the tasks of volume 3 in the middle grade historical fiction series Ancient Elements –  The Silver CoinThis adventurous series about life in Ancient Mesopotamia relates to the 6th grade social studies curriculum.

The Silver Coin includes maps and scenes of Sam’s father on a caravan trip from Babylonia to Tyre in search of a treasure and revenge. Dagon’s caravan travels through the ancient city of Halab, known today as Aleppo. The teacher’s guide provides information helping teachers relate current events in Aleppo to Dagon’s 1780’s BC experience of the city, giving students, as Dewey suggested, a meaningful learning opportunity  where “successive experiences are integrated with one another.”

More information at: www.mariesontag.com and www.thebronzedagger.com

Categories: Aleppo, Syria, Omran, current events, authors, books, current events, historical middle grade fiction, social studies | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I Write – Reason #1

fal bed.jpgWhy I Write – Reason #1: So I don’t fall out of bed at night.
At least, that’s my working theory. You see, this month I haven’t had time to write. My mom, who has lived with us for the past three years, has dementia that advanced to the point where we needed to find her a place to live where she could receive professional care. Getting this in place absorbed all my time and energy this month.

As a result, my story brain went into overload. The other night I struggled to free myself from gunmen (in a dream), but discovered my feet bound with a belt. I cut my bonds with a knife, but my legs still wouldn’t move. I had to will my body to roll over to avoid getting shot by my pursuers. The next thing I knew I was on the floor next to our bed with my husband looking down on me, asking if I was okay.

So if I don’t return your call or email right away in the next few weeks, it’s because I’m busy writing so that I won’t fall out of bed at night.

 

 

 

Categories: authors, books, inspiration | 4 Comments

Stink Bomb

Stink Bomb

Today I’m interviewing one of my critique group members, Rick Crawford, a.k.a. Ricky Bruce. At last night’s critique group he handed me a copy of his newly released book, Stink Bomb. It’s always an exciting moment (kind of like a midwife?) when fellow-writers see their first copy of a book they helped critique. I decided to ask Rick a few questions to help you get to know this humorous and engaging author.

MS: Rick, tell us about your passion for writing.

Rick: I have a passion for writing children’s fiction chapter books for ages 6-12.

MS: What do you think qualifies you to be a children’s writer?

Rick: I hold a Master’s Degree in Education, Bachelor’s Degrees in Anthropology and Social Science, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and I am C-TEL/ CLAD Certified. I have taught in elementary school settings for over fifteen years in Santa Clara County. These life experiences have helped me discover my passion for writing, and to understand what children enjoy reading.

MS: Have you published others children’s books beside Stink Bomb?

Rick: Recently, I self-published a book about a kindergartner’s first day in school, called Ricky Robinson Braveheart. Following the publication of this book, I received a contract from Auntie M Children’s Books to publish Stink Bomb. In addition to writing children’s books, I also blog weekly at www.rickybruce.com. This blog, A Writer’s Diary, showcases my books and provides information for authors.

MS: Tell us more about Stink Bomb. What inspired you to write it?

Rick: It was a beautiful spring day and I was considering starting another story, having just completed my previous writing project. Bees were buzzing around flowers, a few flies were swarming, and beetles crawled in the dirt around me. The idea hit me. There I was in the back yard and it occurred to me that many insects exhibit heroic traits.

I thought, “What if bugs could be superheroes? How would they act? What would they do? What crazy things would they say?”

The casting began. I went to work looking for a villain. Every bug hates spiders and so do most people. Arac and Nid, giant spiders, were a logical choice as the villains. My mind turned to find a hero for my story. Superheroes hide until they are called upon to rescue the helpless. I spotted a rock in my yard and lifted it up. There it was—a beetle. An ordinary, inconspicuous beetle with super powers would provide the perfect hero for my new story.

MS: What did you enjoy most about writing Stink Bomb?

Rick: I enjoyed writing action scenes where the hero swooped in, said something pithy, and rescued the helpless. The scenes with Arac and Nid battling against Stink Bomb were my favorite parts for sure. Here’s a quote from the book to show you what I mean.

The black beetle spoke his plea one last time. “Someone, help!”

Grub could see Arac dragging the beetle across the ground by a rope of silk.

“Throw him up on the web,” Nid advised.

It took Arac only moments to wrap the beetle in silk and hoist him to his web. The beetle hung like a dangling apple waiting to be picked and eaten.

“Very creative,” Nid said to Arac.

“Why thank you. This is definitely my best work,” Arac replied.

A strange look came across Arac’s face followed by an odd silence, and then from nowhere a green sludge hit him like a rock. Grub shuddered from the force of the vibration, but continued watching.

“My eyes, my eyes! It hurts,” Arac yelled. He toppled over and spun in circles trying to ease the pain and scrape the ooze off his body.

“Move away from the bug. And I mean now!” Stink Bomb said smartly. He flew to land below the black beetle.

Nid crept toward Stink Bomb as quietly as he could, but his forward progress was halted by a noxious odor. Nid shrank back into the shadows, dizzy from the stench.

Grub moved back too, after catching a whiff.

“You saved me,” the beetle said.

“I’ve got your back!” Stink Bomb said, looking up at the beetle. “No worries. Slow moving snails need not be afraid. Stink Bomb is there by your shell. He is a friend to hard working ants and beetles like you.”

“You’re Stink Bomb?” the beetle asked.

MS: What do you think is one of the hardest things about writing a book?

Rick: Changing a part of the book you really like. From time to time, an editor or critique partner will give you advice that is very hard to act on. When I first got a publishing contract for Stink Bomb, I began working with an editor named Demi. She raved about the manuscript, but asked me to make a few changes. One big change required me to change the point of view character. This involved changing much of the plot of the story. Stink Bomb was the main character, but Demi wanted Grub to move into the starring role. This was painful because writers get attached to their characters, but Demi was right. Her idea involved Grub following Stink Bomb around Riverbank in order to help. Great advice, Demi!

MS: Any ideas on what you want to write about next?

Rick: I’ve wanted to write a sequel to Stink Bomb for some time. I even have a few ideas for the story. I’ve also just finished a story called Dot and Scribble Fall into Adventure, but the story that I’m currently writing is called Sucked into Cyberspace. This story is a mystery set in the future at a computer and technology school. The main character, Devon, goes to the school to find his missing father. The story integrates scenes within the classroom and scenes set in the virtual world. This book is really stretching my ability as it is written for an older audience. Add to that all the computer, technology, and physics I’ve adapted and you have a whole lot of research.

MS: Sounds like fun. I know I’ve critiqued a few of the chapters for it, and it’s definitely sucked me in! But back to your new release, how can readers purchase Stink Bomb?

Readers can purchase the book at:

Auntie M Children’s Books Publishing.
or
Barnes & Noble

RickPickMS: Rick is also available to do book signings, speak about education and learning, or share about writing fiction. You can contact him at rickrbc53065@gmail.com.

Categories: authors, book marketing, books, Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.

This line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet works well for flowers, but not so much for author names, especially when it comes to book marketing!

ImageTake for example, The Cuckoo’s Calling, a crime fiction novel by Robert Galbraith, released April 2013. After it was revealed on July 14, 2013 that the book was written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym “Robert Galbraith”, the book surged from 4,709th to the 1st best-selling novel on Amazon. Rowling says she used a pseudonym for her newest release because, “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name”. Clearly, when it comes to a reader’s book selection, the author’s name matters!

Like it or not, those of us hoping to turn our writing dreams into reality have to consciously build name brandingSmlrecognition for ourselves. One way to do this is to think about our “branding“. A brand is different than a platform. A platform is what we do to communicate our brand. Branding is what people expect when they hear our name attached to a book. Even those of us churning out our first novels need to ask ourselves the basic branding question: “What kind of an author image do I want to create for myself?”
velcroTheresa Meyers of Blue Moon Communications describes an author’s brand as “emotional Velcro”. She explains that emotional Velcro is achieved when readers love a certain writer’s stories and are moved by them. “This in turn leads readers to believe that they have formed a relationship of some type with that author and understand him or her. Because of this emotional attachment, they are willing to purchase a book written by this author simply because her name is on it.” How can our branding create this emotional attachment?
First, branding should create an image of an author and a product that is of high quality, and provides that that little “something special” that no one else can provide. Another part of our branding is the attitude that shines through in our platform development. Can readers tell that we’re willing to put in the hard work it takes to create and communicate our brand? This includes hammering out a brand statement, creating multiple, interconnected social media contact points such as a webpage, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts, as well as personalized contact with readers through interviews, speaking engagements, book signings, and teaching.
We may not have the name J.K. Rowling plastered on the front of our books, but the author name that does appear should create its own fragrant scent, inviting the reader to sit down and breathe in the adventure with us.
Categories: authors, book marketing, books, brand, brand statement, branding, Cuckoo's Calling, J.K. Rowling, platform, Romeo and Juliet, social media | 1 Comment

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That Ranch Life

A Donkumentary of City-Turned-Country Livin'

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Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

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Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

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Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

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A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant

That Ranch Life

A Donkumentary of City-Turned-Country Livin'

Blissful Scribbles

Musings through the journey of writing my first novel

ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Bay Area Writing Group

Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

Letters to Noah

Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

Sontag Writing Dreams

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

marsha ottum owen

I make Children's Books

Under His Wings

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant