Tag Archives: branding

A Sure Thing and a Church Window Recipe

Hello, Katy Lee here for the Scribes’ Sweet Tooth week. Tis the season to be covered in flour and chocolate as I stand among the tastiest holiday treats from my generations past. My kitchen has been turned into a cookie factory made from my too-numerous-to-count recipe cards that I really should rewrite sometime. However, there is just something about an old, yellowed index card with batter stains dripped on it from previous years that tells me Christmas is here.

My gift to you today is my tasty and colorful Church Window recipe, so stay tuned for that. They not only taste yummy, but they brighten up your plate and stand out from all those tan and brown cookies. But before I pass it along, and as yummy and colorful as they are, I have to admit there is something to be said for those tan and brown cookies.

They are a sure thing.                                   

My favorite cookie of all time is the basic homemade chocolate chip. You can’t go wrong, and when you are trying to be “good” by only taking two cookies from the table of assorted treats, you know you’ll be happy with your choice.

I like to equate a chocolate chip cookie to a favorite author. Time is limited. Money is limited. You have to be selective in your purchase, and at the bookstore with so many books to choose from, I still will grab a book by an author I know and trust. They’re the sure thing…just like that light and crispy, warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie.

The chocolate chip cookie has been branded in our minds, homes and culture since 1930 when the owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts ran out of baker’s chocolate and substituted broken up pieces of a Nestle bar. She created a mixture all her own, and voilà, the brand was set.

Creating your author brand occurs in the same fashion. Your writing is made up of a style and ingredients all your own. A style you will come to be known by. I can understand why many who want to mix their writing up by trying something new take on a separate pen name to do so. They understand a buyer is expecting something specific when they pick up one of their books. If the buyer is looking for X, Y & Z and you give them A, B, & C, you may risk losing them on your future books. Being let down by your favorite author is like biting into a chocolate chip cookie and getting a marshmallow. And speaking of marshmallows, here’s that recipe I promised you.

Church Window Cookies

Melt I stick of butter/margarine and a 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler

Once melted, remove from heat and add colored marshmallows and chopped walnuts. Mix up until chocolate covers everything.

 

On your counter have ready aluminum foil with coconut sprinkled in the middle. Pour marshmallows onto the coconut and form into a log. Roll to spread coconut evenly around whole log.

Wrap log up in foil and freeze. When it hardens, unroll foil and slice into ½ inch cookies.

The Unlocked Secret: Make a bunch to keep in the freezer for when you need to make a dessert for a bake sale or an impromptu visitor. People will wonder where you find the time to write such fabulous stories and make such amazing cookies!

Question: What authors and cookies are your sure things?

Brands Aren’t Just For Cattle

Hi!  J here.  Happy Saturday to you!   I’ve been thinking about branding lately.  No, no, no…not that kind of branding.  I already have a tattoo, thank you very much.  Incidentally, the artist said I was wimpiest person he had ever put a tattoo on.  I nearly ended up with just a straight black line rather than the delightful image I had planned. But that’s a story for another day.  Today, I want to talk about Marketing. 

I’ve been thinking about my brand as an author.  Jennifer Fusco is an expert on marketing and I’ve been following her blog, Market or Die.  And one of the things she says I need is a brand statement.  Something short and sweet that sums up my writing. 

I’ve also been giving thought to a piece of advice I got recently from author Toni Andrews. Even the most successful authors have times when they can’t attract people to the table at a book signing.  Back in October, I spent a week at my local mall attempting to sell books, but people went out of their way (literally!) to avoid passing by the table or making eye contact.  Toni suggested using a gimmick to bring people to the table.  Once they get there, I’ve had success converting browsers to buyers.

At this point, I’ve Indie Published four books.  Two of them are novels written for ‘tweens.  And two of them are beginning readers.  I have other stories in the hopper, too, and expect to increase my product list significantly in 2012. 

But who am I marketing to?  Unlike many of my writer friends, I’m marketing to two different groups: Buyers and Readers.  The people who will read and enjoy my books are primarily children, 15 years old and under.  But the people who will part with their hard-earned cash to buy the books are adults.  Parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles and so on. 

I need to get my book in front of Buyers and I need to get my book in front of Readers who will influence the Buyers to purchase it.  That’s two different things.  I think my Readers are still reading print books.  It may be changing right now, but my limited market research (asking my friends with teenagers who like to read) tells me that the 10-14 year old set are not Kindle/Nook owners yet.  They might have an iPad, they likely have an iPod and/or an iPhone (iPhone and iPod Touch have a Kindle app).  But much of their pleasure reading is done traditionally.  That tells me that I might do better selling my print book than my e-book, at least right now. 

I’ve been thinking about these seemingly different things, for months.  Now that I’ve created these fabulous products, how do I sell them?  What should my brand be?   What kind of events should I be doing, and where?  What kind of gimmick could I use to gain notice at events?

A possible solution popped into my head last night.  At their core, I write Adventure Stories.  Whether it’s my Livingston-Wexford Adventure Series for ‘tweens, my Dixie & Taco Series for beginning readers or the Time Travel Romance I’m working on right now, each of those stories is an adventure.  That’s the kind of story I like to read, that’s the kind of vacation I like to take, that’s the kind of book I write.  My brand needs to focus on the Adventurous aspect in some way.  And my gimmick could have something to do with Adventure Planning.  Vacation ideas, that kind of thing. 

Today’s Secret: We aren’t in Kansas any more people.  The days when all an author had to do was to write a good book are long gone. 

Today’s Question: What new areas are you dipping your toes into as a result of your writing career?  Are you learning new skills, forging trails you never imagined walking down?  How’s that going?