On Life as a 2014 Golden Heart Finalist

So no post last week, since it was Victoria Day Long weekend, which means I ran around battling mosquitoes and planting fresh young seedlings for the slugs to eat.

This week, I thought I’d share a touch of life as a 2014 Golden Heart Finalist. We’re all getting quite excited with the conference coming up quickly, and opportunity abounds. 🙂 Essentially, the Awards Night Gala is like the Academy Awards for romance. The Rita finalists (published authors up for awards) are the real belles of the ball, which makes us Golden Heart Finalists a bit like the little sisters who get to come, too.

Over these last few months, I’ve finally come to think that maybe it wasn’t fluke I’m amongst these other very talented writers. After much discussion, we’re now the Dreamweavers. And the close connections I’ve formed with some of my sister Golden Heart nominees is marvelous benefit I’d never considered. I’ve discovered some stellar CPs, the kind I’ve been looking for a long time.

I also didn’t anticipate the pressure the nomination places you under. Good pressure, certainly, but even still, there’s a feeling of wanting to live up to the nomination, to make the most of the opportunity, to “waste” nothing. I think I’m starting to understand the advice to hang on tight. 😉

Other than that, it’s been fun to actually blog hope a bit. Check out GH sister (and historical finalist) Jillian Lark, who’s been featuring the various nominees. Tomorrow (Tuesday), she’s featuring the paranormal and suspense nominees, so please stop by. 🙂

Otherwise, for me, I’m off to get back to writing. Since I’ve finally reached that part in this WIP where I can hardly wait to add new words each day. Thanks for reading, and have a great week. 🙂

Tagline Time: Creating an Author Tagline

Lately I’ve been thinking again about marketing, which leads to the author tagline. And how I’ve been trying to create a new one.

Big button issues deserve big buttons. (Photo by me.)
Big button issues deserve big buttons. (Photo by me.)

A tagline, in case you’re curious, is a marketing tool where a short phrase (usually 7-10 words) sums up and encompasses what an author brings to their reader, and what readers can expect from their books.

My current tagline is: True Love, Know Thyself, since all my books deal with self-discovery in some capacity. But I think this really doesn’t necessarily tell you other things you need to know about my writing: the humor, paranormal aspects, plus the journey to acceptance. And since I have to order new business cards anyway for the RWA Conference, I’ve been considering how I might better tailor my tagline and the rest of my marketing to help make my “brand” (aka: me and my books), more memorable and marketable.

To start with, I did some research with my good friend Google. 😉 Here are three of the most helpful descriptions of author taglines I found, which I thought perhaps you might likewise find helpful.

Branding 101: Do you Have a Tagline? by Jami Gold

How to Create a Great Author Tagline by Jean Oram

How to Attract Readers by Creating a ‘Lighthouse’ Author Brand by Jonathan Gunson

Following the suggestions in many of these posts, the first start is brainstorming a few key items:

  • what makes you unique from other authors in your field?
  • what emotions do you most want your readers to come away with?
  • what do you think you bring readers?
  • how do you picture your “brand” and your books? What words would you use to describe your books?
  • what universal message / emotion do you bring to readers?

Next, you start narrowing it down and playing around. Let yourself just have fun picking out the most significant of the descriptions and words. Then start combining them in fun and unusual ways. I did find one author who suggested too many commas in a tagline meant that you weren’t focused enough. I’m not entirely sure whether I agree with that or not (potentially as a significant portion of my list had commas – I love commas. And dashes. Have you noticed?). The other danger, and one which I may already have fallen into, is being “too clever” or too vague, meaning your tagline might be nice, but it doesn’t actually say anything about your books.

My honed down list (which I didn’t necessarily only stick with) was: Curious, playful, smart-ass, fun, acceptance, strong, curious, paranormal, magic, kiss*ss heroines, shifters, humor, duty, doing your best, accepting yourself and your magic, funny, shadowy, gallows humor,

Next is the fun part: playing with those words and ideas. Come on, start playing. I’ll wait. 🙂

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Discovering the person in the beasty, and the humor in the dark.
  • Come for the magic. Stay for the fun.
  • Acceptance, one Magical at a time.
  • Finding the normal in the paranormal.
  • Accept yourself and your magic.
  • Humor and acceptance, one magical beastie at a time.
  • Magic and humor standard. Acceptance guaranteed.

So how’d you do? I my list, I find I’m leaning towards the last one in the line. But I think I’ll talk to my husband. Sometimes it’s so much easier for someone else to encapsulate our writing better than we can. Stay tuned to the website when a new tagline should appear soon!

And remember, you’re not necessarily stuck with the tagline you choose today forever. Your writing and focus may shift and change. If you write in two very disparate genres (maybe fiction and nonfiction even), you may need more than when tagline. And, if (when!) you become big enough, your name itself becomes your brand and you won’t need a tagline as much.

What do you think of my list? Any ideas? What about your taglines – willing to share?

Thanks for reading, and hope you all have a great week. 😉

Family Holidays and Greenhouse Day

Tomorrow is Greenhouse Day. Which started me thinking about the kinds of things we celebrate as a family or a group that aren’t exactly universal. And frankly, I’ve been stressing March2013 003myself out, so I need some kind of celebration.

While I love Christmas (get to make and give presents) and Halloween (get to dress up), our family has a few other unusual holidays in our calendar. I’ve given you the dates for this year.

  • May 6 – Greenhouse Day. This day moves a bit, but it usually falls somewhere in the first week or so of May. Here we can’t actually plant our precious green-babies that we bring home from the greenhouse, so in my case, I usually kill lose a few before they ever get outside. But it also means winter is officially over, and my mom and I, usually accompanied by my aunt and grandparents, celebrate by going hog-wild at the greenhouse.
  • May 19 – Planting Weekend (aka: Victoria Day Weekend). Usually, this is the weekend when, where others go camping and get out, we plant our gardens. And I start my annual war against weeds and pests, which I inevitably lose. But the planting part I love!
  • July 18 – 20 – Garage Sale Weekend – Perhaps my favorite weekend of the year, this is when Alberta Beach and area, due to the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage, has a substantial number of garage sales. It used to be like every second house, but now it’s more like 4 /10 or so. Still, lots of deals and “treasures” to be found. My best friend, dad, and I look forward to it all year long. I’m secretly converting my husband and kidlet. Shh! Don’t tell. 😉
  • July 22-26 – Romance Writers’ New Year, aka the RWA National Conference – The dates this year are when I’ll be going, though the conference only officially runs from the Thursday to Saturday. It’s writers’ new year because you learn so much, meet so many new people, it’s like you’re refreshed and start anew with a boost of energy akin to a fresh new calendar year. Can’t wait!

So what about you? Do you and your family have special celebration days that you look forward to, but everyone else might think you’re crazy? Share and convert us. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.