3 Key Points About Branding – Kristin Wallace

Mata Hari Series launches April 1st
Mata Hari Series launches April 1st

Brand Smart- Your Guide to Author Branding (tape 19-042)  RWA2014

by Kristin Wallace

This was a tightly organized workshop chalked full of information. Kristen began by making the distinction between marketing and branding. Marketing is what you do and branding is how you do it.

“Branding is about telling consumers ‘who you are’ and what they are going to experience when they pick up one of your books.” (workshop handout)

These are my three take-away points:

One – Know Who You Are

  • in the world of advertising the first step is to make a Creative Brief
  • this involves answering 6 basic questions:
  • 1 – What are you selling?
  • 2 – What is the tone?
  • 3 – Who are your competitors?
  • 4 – What is your competitive edge?
  • 5 – Who is the Target Audience?
  • 6 – What mediums will be included in your marketing plan
  • what theme runs through your writing
  • develop a tagline 

Two – Know Who Your Target Audience Is

  • create a reader profile (just like a character profile)
  • What are their interests? What do they read? Where do they read it?…
  • consider primary and secondary audiences (for example, YA often reaches both the teenagers and their mothers)

Three – Develop a Marketing Plan

  • consider how you can translate your themes and tagline visually
  • think colors, images and font choices that support who you are and what you’re writing
  • figure out where you will go (i.e., the mediums) to meet up with your target audience
  • make a list  (she uses Excel) of all the places you will go to reach your audience
  • consider print (RWR ad Publisher’s Weekly, etc.), online ads, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon Instagram, Pinterest etc.) blog appearances, PR (local news papers/organizations), newsletters, radio interviews
  • Google to see what markets are out there and which ones other writers are using

Note: There is a detailed handout for this workshop.

So What Does It Look Like?

Kristen Wallace is a 15 year veteran of the advertising industry. Here is the first paragraph on her website:

“Hi, I’m Kristin Wallace, voracious reader turned author. As my tagline says, I write stories filled with “love, laughter and a leap of faith”. Books filled with sassy heroines, sexy heroes, lots of humor and a hopeful message of forgiveness, healing and enduring love on earth and beyond.”

Wow! Talk about knocking your brand off the shelf and into the hands of readers!


Smart Sexy Suspense – is my new tagline, which I refined while I listened to Kristen Wallace. What do you think?

I know who my readers are, and I’m going to figure out where I can meet them.

I’ve got some work to do  to create a good marketing plan, and having a slight aversion to Excel spreadsheets (the damn data never stays put for me), it will probably take some time. Maybe if I make PJ pancakes he’ll teach me (for the hundredth time) how to set up a spreadsheet. Oh well. I’ll get there, one way or another.

Even if it takes me a lot of pancakes <g>.

Doing a good job of branding and marketing is essential for writers.


What do you think? Does “Diamonds are Forever” ring in your ears? Love to hear from you.


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Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

6 thoughts on “3 Key Points About Branding – Kristin Wallace”

  1. My iPad seems to be doing weird things. If you could delete the first two comments I’ll try again. I love your tag line. It’s short and zippy. More to the point as a reader who doesn’t want to read smart, sexy suspense?

    You’ve packed a ton of information into a short article my friend. And it’s all good. Who knew being a writer was going to mean being a marketing maven as well?


    1. It does sound like me a lot of work doesn’t it. I’m just going to take a slow Ann’s steady tack.
      Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it.


  2. Hey, Jo-Ann. I’ll print this one out. Really good info.
    Like your tag line. Does “sexy” mean as in “sex” or like in “cool & funny”” Haven’t read your stuff, but I’m not expecting a lot of sex. LIke that it’s short. Like Smart. Because that I expect from your writing. You know mine is longish, but my folks who did my website came up with it from my two really long sentences. 🙂 You know how wordy I am. So I’m grateful for: Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. We wanted to hint at the older characters part.
    I’ll share this blog, Jo-Ann. Excellent.


    1. Hi Marsha
      I love the “second chances” part of your tag. Who doesn’t want a second chance? It makes me feel warm and hopeful which fits your stories. Great branding.
      Sex? Oh yeah I have sex. I’d call my work medium in the steam department. Lots of sexual tension and one major sex scene.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I’m getting lots of traffic but not many people are feeling chatty today.
      You’re the best.


  3. Too much to think about! Like Marsha I think I’ll print this out for my marketing folder. But you are smart to be working it as you write the series. My logline (logline? tagline? what’s the difference?) for my Fortune Bay trilogy might be – Secrets. Every family has them.
    Good post. I’ll share it too.


    1. Hi Judy
      Love the idea of secrets being in your tag line. It works really well for your cabin series. But I have to ask – will it work for all your writing? So much to think about.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Happy writing


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