Friday, May 6, 2016

Continuity Through Images

Therese Says:  I've been working on a strategic plan for my Therese Patrick, Author business. I only have one published novel, and this one nonfiction book, but I do have projects that are in the pre-publication stage. This means I plan to have a brand that will become familiar to readers wherever they may find me when I'm promoting future books. It's a looking into the future exercise. 
This is my current business card and it has my novel cover on the reverse side, plus a space where I can autograph it. Most of you are probably cringing at the yellow font and how it disappears on the background. I didn’t realize this until the actual cards arrived as the digital version looked great. So I will be redoing my business cards someday and that’s one reason why I’m playing with branding now.

The first step is choosing the main image and a tagline that represents the flavor and genre of the stories.
Here’s the table sign I have created to hang on a table or wall where I could be meeting readers at book events. It’s the image of a lake taken from an open cockpit bi-wing airplane and has talking points: It’s a Starduster II experimental single engine aircraft, that is Pine Hollow lake in eastern Oregon, those are the Cascade mountains in the background, and I took this picture from the front seat of my husband’s airplane.

This is the same lake represented in my not-so-great business card so the continuity of my marketing collateral is still consistent.

This image works for me because all of my current stories are set near a large body of water like the Columbia River and though this is an inland lake it can represent a large river or coastal bay. The wind-in-your-hair feeling with dynamic scenery will be present in every book as well whether in aircraft, or on boats or motorcycles, and someday on horseback.

My current tagline is Romantic Adventures to Cherish, “contemporary romance novelist” is inferred and the image works for the second word. So why did I pick “to cherish” as the final flavor of the type of stories I present? Because they are light family saga type stories, fast and fun reads that have a feel-good flavor. My intent is that a reader cherish the story and set it on their Keeper Shelf to reread. I’m happy to say that many readers have told me they enjoyed it and are waiting to see stories of some other characters I introduced.
Okay, now I have my primary image so I put it on my blog, which is still my primary website. With only one novel to promote today it's acceptable to retain my online presence as I've been blogging since 2009 and it is engaging to readers.

I’m currently only posting about once a month and you can see the site title is the same as my business cards. This WordPress theme is no longer supported but they can give me a CSS code to change the title to red when I am ready. Long time readers of this blog will probably notice it is different but not be sure what has changed. It has been updated and enhanced, not revamped.

I don’t have any plans to change my Facebook cover photo or profile at this time because the flavor does match my primary image of water adventures though kayaks are less wind-in-your hair than an open cockpit airplane. Our Jack Russell terrier is in the kayak cockpit with me on Jackson Lake and those are the Grand Tetons.

My Google+ profile is similar

Did you notice that I am pretty solid with blue? As in the blue half of the AM101 color scheme on this site?

Now we come to the primary reason why I'm strategically planning for a future brand. There are a lot of circular links to my original website and a memoir I wrote that is almost ready for prime time publication.

It is a family story and does have a similar “to cherish” and fun flavor. There is one vignette that does include boating on a lake and there are other adventures so, for now, I made that very basic site align with my other profiles.
Therese is the name on my birth certificate so I use it for my nonfiction projects.

Terri represents my whimsical side who creates astrological charts for my fictional characters.

The red color has replaced the yellow because when I was designing my table sign I wanted the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water represented. Also, the red roses on the wheelchair wheel is a graphic created by a friend to represent my parents romance and paintings by my mother.

Once I felt my table sign was good, I printed out a copy and showed it to people for their input and approvals. Then I went to a print shop and had it enlarged to 11x17 size. The clarity was good but maybe not for any larger, so I had it laminated and ready for more public events.

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