I've recently had discussions with people about my writing and the fact that I gave up a day job with insurance benefits and a 401K to write full time. It isn't a decision I made lightly or without understanding the issues that could arise. I've lived on tight budgets before and considering I'm single with no children (neither two legged, four legged, nor fanged, furry, or feathered) tight to me was fine. Been there, done that and all...
What I hadn't realized until just yesterday, was that I hadn't really started thinking of my writing as a business and a career until a certain, leggy, African-American dynamo opened her big mouth and nailed my ass to the wall. Oh yeah, I'm talking about you Tivi. Uh huh. That's right, it's all your fault and I'm telling everyone about it!
Ms. Tivi Jones , the owner and founder of Creativity Loft, sat my ass down about a month ago and started talking to me about branding...about marketing myself as an author...about color schemes. Me! Color Schemes....Girl, I mix blue-based black slacks with green-based black shirts (I only know this because of a graphic artist friend of mine) and green socks! I dress up in purple pirate shirts and pink box pleated mini skirts with rose colored leather and suede boots!!! I don't do color schemes.
But I guess I do realize I am a business and I better get started thinking that way. How do I know her lessons got through my thick, Tauran skull? Vista Print.
They were having a sale on business cards. Now, me, I've used my own software to create my own business cards in the past. Very nice, simple, clean fonts with just a hint of decoration. And they're sitting gathering dust on my bookshelves, because I always forget to take them with me when I go to conferences. (Probably because they don't say "me" is what I'm guessing now that I've dealt with Ms. Jones.) So I was thinking, hey, if I get one of those snazzy colorful type of cards, maybe I'll be more inclined to pass them around.
Not to say Vista Print didn't have some awesome cards. They did. I was looking through the different ones in the various themes. And every single time I picked one and looked at it closely, I heard Tivi. "Is this your color scheme? Does this reflect your work? Does this reflect you? Is this representative of what your readers expect from you? How would this translate into a Website? Could it work on your MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter pages? Is this the only brand/image you want associated with your work?"
On and on she yammered until there was no fun left in looking at the pictures. Only a litany of "I need to..."s rolling through my head. Oh, what do I mean by the "I need to...."s? Here's part of the list:
1. I need to figure out which color best represent me as an author
2. I need to decide if I'm going to establish a brand based on my Clubs series (oh yeah, readers, I've got more than the Diablo Blanco Club spinning around in my brain--and yes, there are more Halseys out there...damn it!)
3. I need to decide if my author brand is going to be separate or part of my series brand(s)
4. I need to decide which font best suits me (the author) and my series
You get the picture, right? Even worse...it isn't isolated to the business cards. Oh no! Her little lessons kept popping up as I was looking at t-shirts and key chains and other swag I've been considering purchasing for give aways and such.
And you know what? I'm grateful for every irritating thought. I have a feeling, my tight budget isn't going to be tight for long. Not with Tivi helping me out and guiding me toward a successful marketing plan.
By the way, I'm willing to share the pain... Ms. Jones will be presenting an online class/workshop for Heart of Carolina Romance Writers (HCRW) June 15th through July 1st. The workshop is on Integrated Digital Marketing. You can still sign up for it -- only $15 for non-HCRW/Carolina Romance Writers members and $10 for HCRW/Carolina Romance Writers members.
You can also work with her directly by checking out her Creativity Loft website and contacting her. (Oops, guess she's in the process of moving, but hey, check her out on Facebook or Twitter) She's in the process of establishing prices for the various service packages she offers. Check her out. I swear you won't be sorry.
Rant over, I'm off to get Vince and Triss back into bed and off to Happily Ever After--For Now Land.
Have a great weekend.