Tag Archives: Inspirational Romance

What To Expect When You’re Expecting Your First Book – Branding Pt. 1 – The Tagline

Continuing with my new series on what happens after the contract is signed.

Once you sell, it’s important to start figuring out “who” you are as a writer and what public face you want to put on your books. Actually, you don’t have to wait until you’ve sold to start building your brand. If you’re active on social media like Facebook and Twitter (or any of the seemingly hundreds of social media channels out there) you should be thinking about what message you want to say. When you’re posting – even if you’re not posting about writing – you need to consider what it says about you and your books. If you write dark paranormal…what should that sound like in your posts? If you write frothy romantic comedy, that should be reflected in the words and tone you use.

Whether you’re on the path to your first book…or your 25th book…you still need to know “who” you are. You need to know what your brand is and you need to “sell” that brand everywhere. On your website, blog, facebook, twitter, pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Since I come from an advertising background, I actually know something about branding. I’ve thought about what my brand will be for years. Once I sold I really tried to crystalize what I wanted my public face to be and what that would look and sound like.

Kristin Wallace Author – The Brand

So…big question. Who is Kristin Wallace as a writer? I write inspirational romance and general market women’s fiction (with strong romantic elements). No matter which genre I write I must have humor. Sarcasm, snark, comedy of errors. There is always drama and angst and conflict, too, but I can’t do a whole book of complete sadness and gnashing of teeth. As an 80’s Valley Girl might say… “Gag me!” I have to include some romance. I will also always include a faith element. For my women’s fiction, the “inspirational” subplot is much softer and subtle…but the spiritual message of love, forgiveness and healing are still present.

The Tagline

One of the first things I recommend is coming up with a tagline for yourself as an author. A tagline is a few words or sentence that encapsulates an entire campaign. You probably know some of the famous ones…“Have It Your Way,” Diamonds Are Forever”, “Good to the last drop”, “Got Milk”. Those lines say what a brand stands for and every time you see or hear them, you feel something about that brand. An author’s tagline needs to do the same thing. Coming up with a tagline usually involves sitting down either at the computer or with a notepad and sort of free writing as many phrases or words as you can. There’s probably been a time where you’ve tried sitting down and writing whatever flows from your imagination, without stopping to censor yourself or fix misspellings or whatnot. Try the same thing with your taglines. Just write any idea down. Even if you know it’s bad (and there will be bad ones) or not the right phrase, don’t worry about it. Just get it on the screen or paper. If there’s a certain word/phrase that you really like, try as many variations using that word/phrase as you can. When you hit the right one you’ll know.

After writing and dismissing many, many lines I stumbled upon my tagline.

“Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”

I tried a bunch of variations of this line, using different words. Why did I choose this one? First, I like the message it portrays. Those words are what my books are about. They have romance, lots of laughs and a spiritual element that isn’t too heavy-handed. I also like the sheer poetry, the way the words flow. The three “L”s.

Finding Your Message

Finding your tagline will really crystallize everything you want your brand to be. It will also help you develop messaging for your online presence. I’ve been blogging for a few years, but I always had trouble coming up with topics to write about. I’m not an expert in anything so I didn’t feel like I could write about gardening or knitting or cooking, etc. No husband or kids, so I can’t write about that. I don’t want to fall into a trap of only writing about…well…writing. Besides, others do a much better job of writing about craft. But once I had my tagline the problem of what to write and post about became easier. Why? My topics are spelled out in those three words. I can write about “love”. Could be romantic love, could be parent/child love, could be the love between a pet or even other animals. Stories I read, experiences I have. I could also write about funny things, “laughter”. How many posts do you see everyday with funny stories or photos? How many of those hilarious ecards? How many funny YouTube videos? Lastly, I can write about “faith”. My faith or perhaps the faith demonstrated by someone else. I can write about how my faith is reflected in my writing, too.

Now I’ll give you a lesson. Come up with a tagline for yourself as an author. Even if you have one already, go ahead and try. Let me know when you find “the one”.

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There is a PLAN for your life…and He’s writing it

The Story of MARRY ME

Remember how I said the book I sold (MARRY ME) is a clear picture of God’s Plan? Here’s what I mean. (If you missed that previous post, here’s the link to it…)

https://authorkristinwallace.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/there-is-a-plan-for-your-lifeand-he-is-in-control-of-it/

First, I have a confession…I never thought I’d write an Inspirational romance. I had (a perhaps unfair) impression of Christian romance as overly sappy or preachy, with awkward conversations about women’s Bible studies. The covers always featured some Amish girl or a girl who looked like she’d just climbed out of a wagon bound for Little House on the Prairie. Now there is nothing wrong with books like that, and judging by how many I see in bookstores, they must have a substantial audience of readers. But that wasn’t the kind of book I wrote or read. My books had snark and humor and sassy heroines.

Then came this idea for a book. At first all I knew about the story was that my heroine would be a woman who never wanted to get married – and who in fact hated weddings – who wound up having to run a wedding planning business. Don’t ask me where the idea came from. It wasn’t some hang up from my past. I don’t have an unnatural loathing of weddings and while I am single, I don’t hate the institution of marriage. I simply thought the idea was funny.

Armed with this funny idea, I then spent a long time trying to figure out “…the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. I had to ask myself a lot of questions…

Who is this woman?

Why is she so cynical about marriage and why does she hate weddings?

Why is she running this wedding planning business?

What would compel her to do it?

And the big question…who could be the love interest?

I went through many possibilities. It would have to be someone she’d run into a lot while she was planning these weddings. Then one day I stumbled upon the answer…a minister!

Then an amazing thing happened. The story practically came together in an instant like Athena jumping out of Zeus’ head dressed in full on armor. Suddenly, I knew exactly who my heroine was, I knew her past, why she would take on the business, I knew his past, too. Along with the plot came an entire fictional Southern town called Covington Falls. (that name is actually my grandmother’s maiden name my mom’s side.)

And with the idea to have the hero be a minister, came another bolt of lighting. I could have a faith element in the story. I could take a heroine who was cynical about everything (love, God, religion) and have her not only go a romantic journey, but a spiritual one as well. I could write a Christian romance that was funny and sweet and snarky, but still had an ultimate message about God’s love. I could write an inspirational story I would want to read and that hopefully others would, too…even if they weren’t religious.

I wrote MARRY ME (formally called Here Comes The Wedding Planner). Rewrote it a couple of times, taking it from a first person point-of-view book to third person (that’s a whole other story, too). It finaled in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest in 2010. My agent sent it out to publishers…and it didn’t sell.

MARRY ME sat in my computer until this year when I decided to dust it off and try again. You, see in the last couple years the entire publishing industry had undergone a seismic shift. The rise of ebook publishers, Amazon & self-publishing changed everything. Then in April I pitched the book to two editors on a website called Savvy Authors. I got two requests for full manuscripts…and two offers!!! Yes, that’s right…TWO!!! Within a week! I accepted the offer from Astraea Press.

You see how His Plan worked? Just needed the right time, place, editor for everything to come together. I have a special place in my heart for this book because it helped me figure out the kind of writer I wanted to be. And I am so completely smitten by my hero and heroine, Julia and Seth (especially Seth because frankly I believe he wrote the book so I blame it all on him). And I’m so glad everyone will be able to FINALLY read their story.

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