Author Brands Are Important – Part 2

Which brand would you like more: one that says that it is nice or one that does something for you?

– Author of the Social Brand

Before I had found a publisher, my friend and former colleague, Frank Tobin, from when we worked together for actress Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman, The Young and the Restless) back in the 2000s, advised me to start thinking about creating something to market with my book. Originally I had thought about creating a replica of the king’s Bynoch, which is similar to the manifested quartz crystal I wear around my neck. But then I realized I wanted something a bit more “cool”.

In 2016, I commissioned Magical Alley, known for their beautiful, custom designed wands, including Pottermore wands, and there great customer service, to craft the wand known in my series belonging to the warlock, Mierta McKinnon!

Magical Alley started in 2004 as a dream to have a company that would be creative and fun, designing wooden products of the utmost craftsmanship and at a price that would be affordable. Their unique items range from lathe turned magic wands, many various hand carved or crafted artistic items. They offer one on one consultation with their customers, to create their very own custom designs for wands, wizard or walking staffs. Head of Magical Alley, is master craftsman Timothy Wood. He has been a professional craftsman with 30 years of woodcraft skills, ranging in Antique Restoration to Cabinet Making. Check out the video below of Tim demonstrating his craftsmanship!

Then, something “magical” happened. I learned actor Matt Smith, who inspired my main character, Mierta McKinnon, was going to be appearing at Wizard World Cleveland, which is where I grew up and my parents still live. A thought started to turn around in my head that maybe I could bring the wand to him and he could sign it! Then for the rest of my days whenever I needed some extra inspiration, I could look at the wand or even hold it, knowing it would forever be a special moment for me. I contacted Magical Alley and asked them if they would be able to get the wand to me by then for I had someone I needed to bring it to.

Literally two days before the convention, my wand showed up at my door. I brought it to Matt, laid on the table in front of him, and just became lost in the moment. At first I don’t think he even knew how he was going to sign it. The wand cost the same as much as Matt’s VIP (just to give some perspective) due to rarity of the Gabon ebony wood. He stared at it for a while before signing it, picking it up, and swinging it at me. That moment is what changed my wand from just looking nice to doing something for me.

Over the past year, this story has gone viral around social media. One of the authors of BHC Press had learned of my story and passed the word onto her publisher. That is how the beginning of my journey began. Sometimes one must give to the universe and sometimes the universe will even give back.

Since, my brand, and my story has led me onto fantastic opportunities and connections with Genesee Davis, Rachel Caine, James Morris, Mini Matt Smith, DrWhoOnline, and Jake Dudman.

I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me and thrilled to have you, my readers, along for the ride.

Author Brands Are Important – Part 1

A powerful author brand doesn’t happen by accident, but by design.

– The Book Designer

When my publisher, BHC Press, began working on the research for the cover of The Rite of Wands in spring of 2016, they sent me a questionnaire to get an idea of what I was looking for and to assist them with their design. I had complete faith whatever concept(s) they came up with would be amazing. After all, they at just won a RONE Cover Award for Contemporary Design for their anthology – A Winter’s Romance! I gave them one requirement – put my wand on the cover.

Back in late 2015, I had successfully completed half of what would later become the first novel in The Rite of Wands series. I wanted something to remember everything by, something that would forever remind me of my journey of becoming a published author. It brought me back to the first time I ever attended a Creation convention for one of my favorite movie trilogies – The Lord of The Rings. Members of the cast mentioned what they had “stolen” from the set to keep for themselves. That is the moment I realized what I really was after – the establishment of my brand.

What is a brand?

One has to admit as an indie author, there are multiple challenges on getting your book onto the market. You can’t just publish a book and let it sit on Amazon and hope and pray it becomes a best seller overnight so you can quit your day job.

One of my author friends teased that someday I could find myself in the position like J.K. Rowling, who had recently sold a wooden chair she had sat in while typing Harry Potter for $394,000 at an auction. While it was cool to think about reality is that doesn’t happen for most authors. There are millions of books now on the market, and it’s becoming harder and harder to sell books. As a result, many books are never discovered, and authors are often forced to continue their outside of the home job in order to continue to afford the cost of editing, cover design, and marketing, instead of doing what they want to do – write!

That is where your brand comes in. Your brand is constantly evolving. It helps communicate to the world what makes YOU unique, what you represent, and what readers can expect from you.

So, what makes me unique? It’s not me, my story, my background, or my personality. It’s my wand, and the “magical” story behind it.