I’m a branding girl. If there is one thing my clients know it is that I believe in building a brand, and a platform for your work.
Yeah, but you can’t brand a person?!
Actually, you can and you should. It doesn’t matter that all your books fall under different genres. It’s about you, the author and the image that you are presenting to the world and to your readers. You are the company and your books are the product. So in terms of branding you need to think like a company and make your brand noticeable. Your brand may not be identifiable by a traditional logo, but your across the board consistency will.
What is your mission and your vision? Figure those things out and you can start building.
One of the biggest issues related to branding I have found (besides the poorly designed book covers) are feebly constructed websites. Would Nike throw together a web page to highlight their products in a free site with no identifiable markers? Nope. And neither should you. Don’t know what I mean? Check out John Grisham’s web page – now look at yours. Yeah he makes oodles of money off the sales of his books, but if you want to sell like a best-selling author, you need to act like a best-selling author.
Here are some tips when building your author website:
Now, you have an idea on how to setup your author website – get to work.
If you don’t know where to start and couldn’t possibly do it alone, please contact VMG Literary and we’d be happy to do if for you!
[su_pullquote]”A beta reader (also spelled betareader, or shortened to beta) is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as ‘a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.'” – The Free Online Dictionary[/su_pullquote]
Everyone throws the term beta reader around. Goodreads, blogs, forums, you name it…people are always looking for someone to read their book and pass judgment. Except there is a key to picking the perfect beta and it doesn’t include expectations of edits and it certainly doesn’t mean they will or should blow glowing smoke up your perky backside. What a beta reader does is simple: they read and give critique, but they aren’t editors.
If you aren’t willing to hear the bad and the good, you shouldn’t publish, because even the most well received books have naysayers. To get a feel for what the critical mass is going to spout at you once you publish your baby and upload it on Amazon or Goodreads, or send out those query letters you should enlist a beta reader. They are the spotters of what you need to recheck, redo, and revisit and they (should) find pesky problems you may have overlooked.
[su_note note_color=”#66fff8″]BUT they are NOT substitutes for professional EDITORS![/su_note]
You don’t have to enlist professional writers, I don’t recommend friends (although friends can read your book, they will most likely give you biased feedback) and you should never count on just one reader to get a good feel for your work. Further, and I know I am beating the expired equine with this one folks, but you must never forego a professional edit in exchange for a bunch of unskilled, unpaid betas.
Now that I have listed all the “nots”, let’s move on to what you should look for in your testers. One, pull from a broad pool. You don’t want a mediocre book that only translates to people who like one specific genre. No, you want an exceptional book that appeals to the masses (or maybe not; it’s your bank account). So, in order for you to really understand what parts of your story translate and what parts are stale, you should find readers that love your genre and those that don’t. If the story reads well to both, you probably have the start of a good book on your hands.
Two, don’t just get writers to read your book, because often times they are competitive and extra critical just for the sake of pumping up their own skills. You should focus on book lovers who have a solid grasp on the basics of structure and syntax. They must understand what works and what doesn’t, but more than that, make sure they can explain what it is they find wrong. Just a simple, “yeah it was cool.” or “Wow! That super sucked.” isn’t what you are looking for. You need someone who can explain in detail why it was cool, or super sucked.
There are a couple of ways to go about this, but they require a little work from you (ugh, I know). First, you should set up a standard form that you give to every one of your testers. It must ask the questions you want them to answer. Guide them and their reading. Have them think about the book while they are in it, but also reflect upon it afterwards. Style it with checklists, ratings (1 to 5, etc.) and written answers. Then at the end ask them some broad and pointed questions, leaving the second side open for their own thoughts. Spend time on this part because it will be very important. You want to guide them toward an honest and fairly structured opinion. Tell them to make notes of any and all spelling/syntax errors they spot: repeated words; difficult names; dialogue that sounds forced; unclear sub-plots; distractions, etc.
Second, get on the phone with them (or Skype, or god forbid, spend time with them face to face). A lot of times there are elements that the reader noticed that they can’t put into words. Take them out for coffee (or send them a Starbucks GC and meet them online for a drink). Ask them questions and just discuss the book. It’s surprising what you can learn from someone just from a simple voice to voice conversation. Plus, it gives the reader a chance to say something they might have been afraid to put in writing for fear of a misunderstanding. And because tone is often lost in emails, you might have taken offense to something that the beta intended to be constructive, so use this conversation to clear up any misconceptions.
Talk! Use your mouth, not your fingers…please. There are so many things to glean from this experience and I urge you to make sure you get the most out of it. It is free after all and an invaluable tool.
[su_note note_color=”#66fff8″]If you’re interested in getting beta’s for your upcoming release, contact us! [/su_note]
CELEBRATE VALENTINES DAY WITH A SALE![su_divider top=”no” style=”double” divider_color=”#1846f3″ margin=”10″]
Blue Paramour: Blue Ridge Saga
Is now a softer shade of Blue.
THE NEWEST RELEASE FROM VOIR MEDIA GROUP AND THE FIRST NOVEL FROM DEBUT AUTHORS LIGON AND MAINE RELEASE INTRODUCES THE SALE OF THEIR SPECIAL EDITION AND FOR ONE DAY ONLY IT’S
The award winning novel, Blue Paramour, just became ‘A Softer Shade of Blue!’
Blue Paramour; Book 1 of the Blue Ridge Saga, has received tremendous acclaim since its release last June. Residing in the erotic category, a devout faction of the historical romance fans clamored for a softer version of the current novel.
Authors, Louise Ligon and Hunter Maine, have enjoyed the response but also took note of a few comments from readers who love historical romance but do not usually read erotica. Hearing from the authors, here is what they had to say, “One reader said she always shares a book when she’s done with her mother who is also a big fan of historical fiction, but was afraid the erotic content would be too intense. We get it. So without compromising the story, we were able to tone it down for those readers who prefer a softer version. Is it “mom” ready? We’re leaving that up to you. It is still a very sexy read!”
Blue Paramour Romance Edition is available on Amazon this Valentine’s Day!
(for those of you still willing to walk on the wild side, the original version with all it’s dirty glory is still available)
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THIS ISN’T AN ORDINARY ROMANCE, IT’S A SWEEPING STORY SET IN PRE-CIVIL WAR AMERICA WHEN ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLES WEREN’T JUST UNFAVORED BY SOME, THEY WERE CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE A CRIME. AND THIS EPIC SPINS THE MOST DELICIOUS TALE YET, BACKDROPPED AGAINST A BEAUTIFULLY TRAGIC ANTEBELLUM SOUTHERN PLANTATION AND THE LAVISH, YET MEAN STREETS OF NEW YORK.
BUT THIS ISN’T YOUR ORDINARY HISTORICAL ROMANCE…
[su_heading size=”22″]FIND IT WHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD[/su_heading]
BUY LINKS: AMAZON
AUTHORS: LIGON AND MAINE
PUBLISHER: VMG PUBLISHING
COVER ART: NAJLA QAMBER DESIGNS
When Brayden, a devastatingly handsome heir to a prominent Southern family, is caught in a compromising position with his handsome male lover, Jackson, life as he knows it comes crashing down. Exiled from the only home he’s ever known and separated from his love, Brayden is ordered to live in Boston where he is expected to become a true man and a proper successor.
But life will show him that things don’t always go as planned…
When Brayden encounters the mysterious and powerful, Vincent Gallaud, he instead embarks on an unforgettable adventure with his newfound king in the tantalizing world of New York City, forsaking everything he has ever known. Taking him on an unexpected journey that teaches him lessons Daddy would never approve.
Back home, Jackson has no choice but to consent to marry Brayden’s greatest adversary and twin sister, Annabelle Steed. Consumed with greed and longing for revenge, Annabelle will stop at nothing to destroy Brayden’s life and rob him of his birthright, Blue Ridge.
But everything comes at a price.
[su_heading size=”22″]ABOUT LIGON AND MAINE[/su_heading]
Louise Ligon and Hunter Maine met while vacationing in Ireland. Sharing a love of writing, they instantly connected. Louise’s background in history and passion for strong female characters coupled with Hunter’s intuitive skill for vivid storytelling make them a dynamic team. Their first book collaboration, Blue Paramour is a historic erotic romance with gay and racial themes. Blue Paramour is the origin story of Brayden Steed their alpha male character who will culminate in a thrilling trilogy of love and war. Both authors currently live in Los Angeles with their three beautiful rescue dogs.
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Let’s get this conversation started!
WARNING: IN ORDER TO REMAIN AUTHENTIC TO THE ERA AND POLITICAL STATE OF THE COUNTRY AT THE TIME IN WHICH THE NOVEL TAKES PLACE, SOME OF THE ISSUES OR TOPICS MAY BE DIFFICULT FOR SOME READERS: DISCRETION IS ADVISED.