As a relatively new author in the writing business, I’ve discovered I have a lot to learn. When my first book was published in October 2012, I was naturally ecstatic.
After all, I had achieved a very important goal I set for myself when I decided I wanted to be published. I thought all I had to do to be successful was just keep writing and getting my books out to the readers.
There are so many fantastic authors out there in the m/m genre, and as a new guy, people had no idea who Jacob Z. Flores was. I had no clue that I needed to tell them. Sure, I wrote up an author bio that gave readers some insight to who I was, but I didn’t do anything else. After all, I didn’t see myself as this big corporate entity like Apple or McDonalds.
Why would little old me need to set up a brand?
Well, I needed to let readers know who I was, and that’s what an author brand does. It tells readers what type of books they can expect to read from me. It also gives them something to remember. After all, we associate the golden arches with McDonalds and the bitten apple with, well, Apple. I had given my readers nothing to associate with me.
Luckily, a dear friend and fellow author pointed out what I wasn’t doing. She became my Yoda, and I her willing padawan.
And her first question was a doozy!
Who are you as an author?
She had me take a good, hard look at myself. Not just the person I was at home, but the person I was as an author. I needed to discover what there was about me that set me apart from the other amazing authors out there.
Let me tell you, that was not only difficult but terrifying. I had no clue what set me apart from everyone else. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing unique about me. So, I turned to my friends and asked them how they would describe me.
I freely admit that I can be pretty stubborn and pissy at times, but did my best friends really have to jump all over those qualities right off the bat? Apparently so! It’s a good thing I love each and every one of them! Once they were done giving me a hard time, I learned some interesting things about myself. I won’t bore you with all the details, but there was consensus on the fact that I could be very sweet but also very spicy.
That was something I could build on!
Like a good padawan, I discussed being sweet and spicy with my Yoda. What did she say?
Yeah, so she didn’t like the sweet and spicy that much. But, hey, it was my first try. Luke Skywalker didn’t lift his space ship the first time he tried on Yoga’s swamp planet. I couldn’t expect to be successful on my first attempt either!
But I was on the right path. And through extensive training in the force, the phrase “sinfully charming” was born, a better combination of sweet and spicy that was neither feminine nor generic.
What does “sinfully charming” mean as my brand?
Well, it tells readers that I’m nice and also naughty, and that they can expect a combination of those qualities in their interactions with me, and in the books that I write. It also gives me an excuse to share all those photos of hot, barely dressed men on my social media sites and on my blog. Not that I needed an excuse, but now, I can say it’s just part of my brand. 🙂
But, I wasn’t done yet. As my Yoda explained, I had defined myself but I had more work yet to accomplish.
What do I have to do now?
Create the Brand, I Must
But wait? Isn’t that what I just did?
Apparently, not! I had only just begun. You see, I now had to think about the colors that would be associated with the brand, and the image that I wanted people to associate with Jacob Z. Flores, the author. This was pretty important.
Colors are powerful association tools. McDonalds’ colors are red and yellow. Apple’s color is white. We remember that because that’s a part of their brand. Now, I had to decide what colors I wanted readers to associate with me.
At this point, I became overwhelmed and just wanted to rush through the process. My Yoda, however, would have none of that.
Yoda was right. I had to take my time. My author brand would be with me forever. I couldn’t rush the process. This was the career I wanted. After all, writing is what I want to do full-time, and I needed to make sure I got the brand right. Because my brand was going to be with me a very long time.
I took a deep breath and asked myself: what did I envision when I thought of “sinfully charming”?
Well, the image I saw in my head was a hot, barely dressed man in a tuxedo. That meant black and white were definitely in the running. How charming is a man in a tux? Yum! As for the sinful part, well, red was the natural answer.
Finally, I’d done something right!
Not only had I gotten my colors, but I also had my visual. Now, all I needed was a tagline that captured the “sinfully charming” nature of my author persona and my books. Once I had that, Yoda put me in contact with the fabulous A.J. Corza who took the abstract ideas and created this.
Which I think perfectly captures the “sinfully charming” author brand.
So, now I have my brand, and my website now reflects it as well. My readers have an idea of who I am and what they can expect from me and my books, and hopefully, I’ve given them an image they can remember. 😉
By combining that with well-written books, I’m doing my best to carve out a place for Jacob Z. Flores in the world of m/m fiction.
And that is part of the business.
P.S. This post has been