Monday, June 26, 2017

Branding Breaks My Heart

For those of us who struggle with depression or that voice in our head that screams at us every day, “You’re not enough!” then branding is a bitch.

Branding is a key component to marketing. It tells the world who you are as an author. What happens if you don’t know you who are? If you spend hours upon hours trying to figure that out, but you don’t want stigmatize your brand?

“Oh, look there goes that indie author”.

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know. But doesn’t isn’t she, like, always whining about her stupid PTSD. Grow a pair. I mean, like, come on. lol”

Branding is that red-hot poker that leaves its mark on my forehead. It covers my thirdeye. Scar tissue blinds me, making things hard to write. The sigil blocks readers from looking past it to read the stories I create.

The usages of branding are important in this webbed world. It will allow me to stick out like a sore thumb or a green thumb or a goth thumb or a Christian thumb or an entrepreneurial thumb, the list goes on.

When we sit back and think about big name authors we think of their books, maybe their personalities and get a feel for them. A sense of their brand, right? Laurell K. Hamilton is a pagan who loves wolves. Stephen King loves Maine, is creepy, highly intelligent, and funny. Anne Rice is an oddball. That is where I’ll leave that. We all know J.K. Rowling’s rags to riches story. Is that their brand or just who they are? Is it one and the same?

Would my brand then be: I’m a quirky nerd riddled with depression, who loves her family, pets, all things otherworldly and stands up for equality. Is that my brand? Is it truly that simple? 

Maybe it doesn’t matter if people joke about my mental issues or not. If they did they wouldn’t be my target audience. And who knows perhaps one day word of mouth will get so big those people will look past those stereotypes and read my work.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Books versus Movies

Neil Gaimen’s American Gods season one aired last night, Sunday June 18. It was everything I expected from the creative genius. Trippy. Questioned boundaries and stereotypes. Beautiful. But did it add up to the same experience as the book?

I realize that is a series, not a movie. Hear me out. There are dozens of examples. Hollywood seems hard press to find an original idea. I can’t turn my head without seeing a book turning into a movie. Is this a bad thing?

First there are the children’s books. Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events had a movie made back in 2004 starring Jim Carrey. Now on Netflix it is an actual series with Neil Patrick Harris. Both widely popular in there own right. The books have been adorn by all ages since they were published in September 1999.

Then there is Captain Underpants by Dav Pikey. This movie stars the voice talents of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, and Nick Kroll. It got 85% at Rotten Tomato. I know my second eldest and youngest absolutely loved reading the books when they were younger.

Going up to the more adult ages we can move up to comics, graphic novels, novellas, speculative fiction and literary novels.

Two words: Superheroes Rule!

From Deadpool to Wonder Woman to Hellboy – I love superheroes. I cannot get enough of them. My love is feeding the frenzy and I don’t mind that one bit. I’m a nerd. Correction: I am a PROUD nerd. My kids are proud nerds, too, in one form or another.

This leads us to graphic novels. Wolverine: Origin Book 1, I own this graphic novel (shocker) was beautiful. They did one thing right. Logan has bone claws. Tada! The rest you need to read. That is a major downside to books versus movies –the changes. In Deadpool Negasonic Teenage Warhead made things go boom. That is not the case in the few comic panels she was in. She actually told the future and died very, very quickly.

As for novellas, lets examine Will Smith in I Am Legend by Richard Matheson or Isaac Asimov’s I,Robot (correction this is a collection of short stories). Neither is what was portrayed on film. They are action packed films. Both question humanity. I thoroughly enjoy the director’s cut of I Am Legend. I, Robot is written from the robot’s perspective. It is inventive. No pun intended.

Aside from comic books lets list the books made into a movie or show in the last couple years
  • The Shack
  • Hidden Figures
  • Live By Night
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Fifty Shade Darker
  • Before I Fall
  • The Sense of Ending
  • The Zookeeper's Wife
  • Berlin Station
  • Everything, Everything
  • Shadow Hunters
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Riverdale
  • The Leftovers
  • Outlander
  • The White Queen
  • The White Princess
  • The Handmaiden's Tale
  • My Cousin Rachel
  • Spectrum
  • The Dark Tower
  • The Mist
  • It
  • Thank You For Your Service
  • Big Little Lies
  • Sharp Objects
The list goes on and on. No wonder readers aren't reading that much any more. Their mentality is, "Hey, if it is any good they make a movie or show out of it." Why should they spend hours reading when they can lounge on the couch and have the story beamed into their brain?
Now more than ever is the time to make your story stand out from the rest of the pack. Yes, stand by your fellow author. Hold one another up. The main take-away....

Make every word count because people's attention span is fle -SQUIRREL! 

Thank your time. Please leave a comment below. Click subscribe here and at Facebook for discount information on my books, t-shirts, and author swag. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Different Strokes For Some Day Folks

They say things come in threes. The past six months stayed true to form. Three strokes felt by three different people every couple of months. It was like strokes became Number 1 on Oprah’s Favorite List and she was handing them out to everybody, myself included.

February 10, 2017 I was rushed to the emergency room. My left arm, both legs, neck and face tingled like those bits had fallen asleep and refused to wake up. My chest ached. The room spun. Though I could speak it was slow. They ran me through so many tests that by Sunday they couldn’t run any more because the dye used in the CT and MRI scans had ravaged my kidneys. But that is okay, the diagnosis was confirmed.

Some time in the past I had suffered one or two silent strokes. They couldn’t tell exactly how many because there are two places in my brain that have scar tissue. There is no way to determine if those occurred at the same time or not. The next bit of info makes me feel like Wolverine.

The small vetebral artery in my neck that connects to the main banch in the brain had burst, scarred over, and created a bypass all on its own. With my bizarre sense of humor am I more like Deadpool?

These events have led me to stop saying the phrase, “Some day”. As in “Some day I’ll own a Mustang convertible” or “Some day we’ll take the kids to Disneyland” and “Some day I’ll finish writing the next great American novel”.

Well, I’ve got the Mustang.

We are planning our trip to Disney.

And I am back on the keyboard. My eyes are open. There is no “Some day”. There is “Today”.

What is your “Some day”?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

When To Put On Your Grown-Up Shoes?

Do we decide when is the right time to step into our grown-up shoes? You would think as a wife, mother, and (young) grandmother, I would already consider myself a “grown-up”, but I don’t. An adult, yes, sometimes, when I have to, but I never really considered myself that way.

As an angst-riddled teen I scribbled on my homework. I filled up more notebooks than I could count. In my late teens/ early 20’s I used to journal, still do. Birth of a Vixen’s first draft took about a year to complete. I was 27 years old when I knuckled down.

I have learned so much since then. SO MUCH. That is what I spent most of my time doing. Learning. Researching. Discovering as much about the publishing industry. That is the cool thing about the writing community. The moment you announce you are a writer you aren’t an outsider. The world opens up.

Even as I kept editing, kept tweaking, I spent seven years very slowly growing my brand because I was unsure about when I would put Birth of a Vixen out. I traveled to conferences and conventions. I became a sponge.

Now I wouldn’t pat myself on the back and say I’m any more a grown-up than I was when I started. As I type this I am also watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones, cuddling with River, and dunking chocolate chip cookies in milk. Then again being in touch with my inner child may be just what the doctor ordered.

Which leads me to my announcement. I am an author. I am an entrepreneur. To truly combine the two I have opened a boutique-publishing house: 

The biggest difference about DHP is what we plan to give back to the writing community. You may have noticed a new author name at the top of the page, Kirstin Rowan. She will be posting book reviews for authors outside of the company here. If you would like to have your book reviewed by Mrs. Rowan email with Book Review in the subject line. She will post reviews on Thursdays.

We are not taking author submissions until January after we square away the final details. When we become open to submissions those details will be posted here and on our Facebook page.

In the future we plan on growing bigger, expanding the fandom to levels that would make everyone’s inner child squee.

We are really pumped about this idea and hope you are, too. Please let us know what you think. If you have any questions feel free to ask. We’d love to answer anything to the best of out ability.

None of this would be possible with you. THANK YOU!

~Colleen Tews