Marketing. Branding. Creating an author brand.
These are the steps that, quite honestly, take far more time than the actual writing in this crazy business of becoming an author. These are the steps I’ve been working on a great deal behind the scenes over the past several months.
While I was sprucing up my website back in June—did you happen to notice a few changes around here?—I knew I needed a logo and a tagline.
The logo popped out at me and—once I watched a zillion and one tutorials and went crosseyed staring for hours on end at tiny squares in Photoshop—it turned out pretty great. I know if I had hired someone to do it, it would have been way better; but I simply couldn’t afford it. And, as I build this business, I have to find the steps I can teach myself to do and do them as often as I can in order to afford the ones I cannot.
At the end of the day, when I look at that logo, I will know that it is something I made. I will remember how my kids sat beside me as I inched, pixel by pixel, through the entire book and thistle, making adjustments and zooming out to see the progress. When I see it on business cards and in my books and on websites, I will remember the incredible friends and family who took the time to look at choice after choice after (probably annoying) choice to give me their feedback and tell me which ones they liked and why … or didn’t like and why.
As I considered what my logo should be, I knew it needed to be a simple design that would look good in color as well as black and white. I wanted something that attracts attention, shows clearly what I’m all about and what my Press will be all about and encapsulates me.
I asked myself, what symbol screams me? Once I asked myself that question, it was obvious—a thistle. I love thistles; so much, in fact, I have one tattooed on my body. My great-grandfather came to the United States from Scotland, and one day I’m going to Dumfries to see where he lived. I’ll save my musings on that country for another time, but it calls to my heart … like bagpipes across the glen … and I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll find a piece of my heart there whenever I finally go.
Of course, a thistle seems an odd choice at first glance for an author and her—coming-soon-to-a-bookstore-near-you—Press. So, while I wanted to keep the logo simple, I knew I needed a book. From there, we got the thistle coming out of the book.
You see, this logo goes deeper than two symbols merged together.
The thistle really symbolizes me. I may not be the loveliest flower in the field and may appear to be nothing more than a prickly weed to some people. To others, though, I stand for something; and my books will do the same.
Books and the words they contain have always been a giant part of my life and will continue to be. As I continue to write books and short stories, my goal is that my essence, what I stand for and the soul of my characters (the soul of real, living people) will leap out of each story I pen.
And, that brings me to my tagline.
How do you sum up who you are, what you do, what you stand for, where you’re going and who you want along with you in a few short words that can fit on a business card?
Friends, I wrestled with this. I wrestled hard and long. At first, I thought I needed something super catchy and quirky. Something cute and fun. Maybe even a little tongue-in-cheek or clever saying. Something that would make passersby to my site think I’m one of the cool girls at the writing table.
Alas, I’m pretty sure that’s not me. Case in point, I just started this paragraph with “alas.”
After weeks of internally agonizing over this little phrase, I finally asked myself some questions.
Who am I as a writer?
What’s my purpose in writing?
Why am I doing all of this anyway?
Who do I want people to know me as?
What is the common thread across the multiple genres of my stories?
What do I want my literary legacy to be?
When I posed those questions to myself and took a deep inward look, it became far more clear to me.
I am a writer committed to quality literature who strives to tell ordinary tales in an extraordinary way and extraordinary yarns in a refreshingly ordinary light. I want to create tales that will transcend time and influence men, women and children all around the globe. My desire for my literary legacy is for it to be one of quality, depth and timelessness. Regardless of the genre, I want my stories to delve deep into the human soul. And, I want to do all this from my own soul with a burning passion.
In short, I am …
Writing the Soul with Heart
What would your tagline be? What few words could sum you up? If you have a tagline, share it! I’d also love to hear the story behind how you came up with yours and what it means to you.