Friday, August 19, 2011

Dear Charlie:

So, since I've been stuck home with my chest, head, and brain full of snot, I've been thinking about what I might want in a professionally done website. I know without even asking that, the better an idea I have of what I want and the more specific I can be about what I don't want, the happier I'll be with the results and the easier it'll be for whomever I choose to do it.

Like I said on my current site's news page, this means I have to think about my branding. Ugh. I hate that word. It rings synonymously in my mind with "pigeonholing". Similar context, and all that.

But if I want to do this whole publishing thing more than once, I need to step outside my little writer box for a minute and put on my Business Hat. It doesn't fit well, and it tends to chafe if I leave it on too long, but hey. Desperate times and desperate measures.

I need to make my author website powerful. It needs to be more than just someplace for folks to drop by when they're casually curious by my book's title. Right now, it's a placeholder without any pizazz. Sure, it has information, sketchy news updates, and some free reads. It has the bare necessities.

But it needs more.

So, the question becomes... how do I pigeonhole myself when I write across the board? My beloved sister, bless her amazing heart, has such an inspiring grasp of her scope that she can pack all of her incredible writing feats into a single phrase: "Dare to look beneath the mask". Sends a chill down your spine, doesn't it? Makes you want to look beneath that mask even while it tells you it won't be without risks and you might never be the same.

EXCELLENT branding there. It describes her skills perfectly without limiting what she can do with them.

Ugh. The only thing I can come up with is that hilarious line from the first Major League movie: "Juuuuuust a bit outside!"

Yes. My writing style is comparable to a wild pitch. This is what I'm dealing with.

Worse, how do I condense that down into something that could be made into an evocative image? Again using Joely as an example, she has several banners now that each effortlessly evoke the various moods and emotions of her stories. Admittedly, she didn't pick just one, but still. She knew what she wanted to get across and had the smarts to know the finished product when she saw it.

Not sure I can do that. The only thing I think of when I try to encapsulate my stories as a whole is that picture of all the whopperjawed staircases leading everywhere and nowhere. Part of that is because I love different genres and worse, I love adding a dash of this and a pinch of that to everything I write. If I'm writing a Regency, it has to have a touch of action. If I'm dabbling in contemporary romance, I want to throw in a splash of paranormal. I even have an urban fantasy in the works with traces of theology. Talk about your oil and water.

But I love it. I love to mix things up a bit and see what shakes out. I'm putting pirates in a steampunk. Dinosaurs in a space opera.

Staircases to everywhere and nowhere. Juuuuuust a bit outside.

So...I'm working on my options. If I'm gonna spend the money on something, I want to be thrilled with the finished product. My beloved sister's site is definitely good advertising for the people who did hers and they've won me as a future client. However, I'm not stepping into those waters without having a good idea of what I want to get out of it.

So, I'm brainstorming. Trying to figure myself out enough to pick one perfectly evocative image, one incredibly evocative phrase. These two things have to encapsulate my writing as a whole.

And I totally need to get more free reads up and running for the site! Yeesh, I've been meaning to do that forever!

2 Comments:

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Aw, thanks, Sis! I'm glad my branding is finally starting to work. I'm right there with you in the struggling against my natural desire NOT to pigeonhole myself. In fact, it took all of these years to finally make a realization about the ONE THING I want my writing to include.

I've definitely made a few mistakes along the way. Not everything is "there" yet, and a few things never will fit under that umbrella. But at least I know, now, and I can do a better job going forward.

The website headers will continue to inspire me -- while reminding me of where I belong.

Hugs, I hope you're feeling better! If you want to brainstorm, give me a holler!

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger GutterBall said...

*hugs*

Thanks, Sis. I'll definitely take you up on it when I'm feeling better. Right now, I'm doing good to remember to toke up on my new inhaler and to take my Mucinex.

I tell ya, I've been sick before, but this one's really wiping me out. It's like I can't make my brain work.

As for the website, I'm rolling some ideas around in my mind. Mostly, I'm hoping to get a few images and a tagline, then see what a professional with vision can do with them. *crosses fingers*

Oh, and I might ask if you can switch some docs over to pdfs if I can concentrate enough to make some covers for some free reads. Yay!

 

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