Therese & Morgan Say: Are you still cringing at the thought of doing a photo shoot for an author portrait? Well, here is an alternative for those of you who may be camera shy or otherwise have a specific reason for not wanting to have your picture floating around the internet. We reached out to our dear friend, Sabrina York for her thoughts on why she chose to use a cartoon illustration instead of an author portrait. 'Her Royal Hotness' was an early supporter of our efforts and we will forever love her!
Sabrina Says: For the last century or so, I have worked in government for a very conservative organization. (Well, it seems like a century.) What I write is not conservative in the least. So I knew as soon as I sold my first steamy romance, I would need to use a pen name. It would serve as a tool to keep my personal and professional lives separate and would also allow me to write in other genres under another name if I so desired.
Because this separation between my worlds was so important to me, I hired a company (Visual Quill) to help with developing a branding strategy. We defined a profile for my core customer, and from that designed a logo and tagline, which I would use for all my marketing.
My core customer is, like me, a little reserved on the surface, but with a playful and naughty side. She has a snarky sense of humor and loves bling. These elements are all incorporated in my persona.
What are the hallmarks of an effective persona?
My philosophy as a newbie author was this: “Begin as you mean to go on.” It was my intention to be a bestselling author and I decided to behave like one from the very beginning. My thought was, this is big business. And big businesses have logos. They do not rely on photographs of their CEOs.
“But Sabrina,” you may ask. “How can a cartoon logo be professional?”
And I will respond, “Stop interrupting.” But then I will go on to share that any cartoon can be a professional logo…if it illustrates your brand. KFC and Wendy’s are two that pop to mind, but I won’t mention them because then I’ll get hungry.
A logo is far more recognizable at a glance than a photograph. As we all know, a customer must see your logo three times for it to sink into their consciousness (new studies reflecting our shortening attention spans suggests that number is closer to 17). By using my logo as my “face,” people see it over and over again on Facebook, blogs, marketing material, Goodreads, Pintrest, Twitter…and so on.
It has recognizability. They know, immediately, who I am. And if they’ve read my books, they know my brand.
On that note, for those of you who regularly change your profile picture on Facebook, realize you are losing a little chunk of your brand recognition every time you do so.
Because I use my logo rather than a photograph in my marketing efforts, it is easier to maintain personal privacy, or at least some distance from my personal persona. This may not seem important when you are just starting to build your fan base, but when 75% of your followers on Facebook (and closer to 95% on Twitter) are people you do not personally know, this becomes essential.
Friends of mine—erotic authors—who use their personal photograph as their profile picture, spend a lot of time fending off advances from individuals who think Facebook is a dating site. Apparently these charming fellows think erotic authors need a date…which is far from the truth. We are all too busy writing to date.
Other authors have shared even more disturbing stories about being stalked (and not in a good way), and fans who “friend” their husbands and children as a way to connect with them. It is an excellent idea to keep your personal business off social media—especially photographs of your children. If this is your business, treat Facebook, and other social media outlets, like a business site.
Advice on how to create your own persona
Think about who you are and what you write. What image do you want to portray? Is there a unifying brand you can apply to your persona? For me, my tagline, Her Royal Hotness, ties into the tiara in my logo. To extend the thread, I do a regular tiara giveaway and my promo pens are festooned with bling.
Everything ties together into a neat package. A package readers can recognize in an instant.
And if you were wondering why I felt the need to keep my private life private from my conservative employers, download a copy of my free teaser book and see for yourself: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/
About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the award winning author of over twenty hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers, her titles range from sweet & steamy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!
- Most recent release! Making Over Maris
- Free Teaser Book:
- Newsletter & contest: Enter to win a signed print copy of scorching Regency romance, Dark Fancy on Goodreads!
STALK SABRINA (IN A GOOD WAY)
Like my Facebook Author Page
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_yorkFollow me on Goodreads
Check out my Pintrest boards
Like my Amazon Author PageCheck out my Barnes & Noble Author page
Follow me on Ellora’s Cave
Gary D. Robson Book Signing Tips
Don’t limit yourself to only bookstores. I’m a huge advocate of bookstores (after all, I own one), but sometimes gift shops, fairs, and other venues can actually work better. My two best signings (in terms of books sold) were at a trade association’s annual conference, and in the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone Park.