Do you need to build your author brand in a clean way?
My blog at cleanlit.com, a website that helps readers get a “morality check” for the book(s) they are considering, helped me build my author brand! In this article, I’ll discuss how blogging affects the importance of your online presence as an author.
Ten years ago, when I was a baby author, I went to the Rocky Mountain Gold writers conference. I had written three books and was getting bites on my query letters, but no contracts. I didn’t know what was wrong. I had no literary education, no Writing For Dummies library checkouts, no beta groups. So, I decided to get some training. The conference was great. I made some contacts, took loads of notes, and learned a lot, including some of the problems my writing had.
But I kept hearing something over and over again from everyone: “You need to read your genre.” “You need to stay current in your genre by reading a ton.” All my extra time was spent writing, not reading. But on the ten-hour drive home from the conference, I downloaded Audible and started to listen to some YA books--and this choice started a two year “reading-bender”. I listened to all the books that had been recommended to me at the conference; Hunger Games, Hush, Shiver, and 13 Reasons Why (I’m betraying the year this all went down, aren’t I?).
I noticed something right away. None of these books were books I would ever let my own teenager read. They had sex, swearing, drug abuse, alternate lifestyles, adult relationships, Hollywood behavior, etc. I wished not only for myself (I prefer my books on the moral side), but for the teens of the world, that there was a book rating system. I scoured the internet and all I found were review websites. I knew there needed to be a rating website, so I decided that making one was my calling.
I contacted my brother-in-law to ask what went into designing and running a website. As a Gen Xer (1979) I was not savvy on the whole ‘make-a-blog-and-run-it’ thing. And when he started talking, unfortunately, my ears glazed over, and I felt like he was speaking a different language. This goal of mine to start a book rating blog was just not going to work. I was too stupid. I was too old. It was too difficult and expensive.
So, I left it.
But you leaving something does not always mean that that thing leaves you.
Fast-forward a few years. I started working on a new project, Guardians of the Garden, (shameless plug: seven years later this book is getting published on Oct 6th, please check it out!) and I started querying. And though the publishing world said nice things about my writing, no one could fully commit to contracting a Folklore novel about American Indians and the Garden of Eden. “This topic sounds too religious.”
I scratched my head, my book was not at all religious--it was fantasy and folklore. My characters were moral, sort of, but not at all overtly religious. What was I missing? I did not understand these publishers/editors/agents and decided I needed to go back to reading what teens are reading now-a-days to get a feel for how I’d misjudged the market.
When I did, I realized things had only gotten worse. All teen literature was filled with adult situations and themes and morality was looked down upon. I kept wanting to quote Despicable Me 2 at the books I listened to: “This is literature? This is garbage.”
I couldn’t be the only one feeling this way.
The idea of cleanlit came back in full force. It was a useful idea. It was an idea that I could be proud of. I also learned that having an online presence was becoming a must for all authors--and cleanlit was a way for me to have an online presence that meant something. So, I made a few goals.
Back to my brother-in-law I went, and a few months later cleanlit.com was up and running.
I don’t promote it, all I do is post, still it didn’t take too terribly long before I started getting notes from moms, grateful for the resource my website was to them. I looked at my stats on WordPress and saw that moms all over the country were looking up books on my site. I was getting hits every day, which totally surprised me because none of my friends used my website. They didn’t even know about it! Soon I was getting 100 hits a day, letters from grateful parents, and asked to rate books of all flavors.
As my personal books have come out, I have linked my author website with my cleanlit website; they work harmoniously to get eyes on everything I’m doing. You may wonder: has this ‘online presence’ helped me as an author? I look at the numbers and they seem to indicate yes.
Maintaining a blog like cleanlit is lots of work, but it is worthy. And I feel like nothing worthy is a waste of time. So, my point: anything extra you do as an author can be used to build your brand, and if that thing is worthy…then you’re living the dream.
Meet the Author: Theresa Pocock is a history lover which lead her to study the subject at BYU-Idaho. However, it was her obsession with literature that sparked the idea to write (well that, and a couple of seriously crazy dreams). Since, that desire has become a relentless compulsion gnawing at her attention and focus. She has written ten books in ten years and hopes to keep that pace up. She loves to travel even though she gets horribly motion sick and could live off of Italian sfogliata. After sixteen moves, three kids, five dogs, and a few fish, Theresa and her family currently reside in Washington state. For now. You can contact Theresa through email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or through her website ( theresapocock.com). Also feel free to check out her other published books, ELIZABETH TUDOR: Ancestry of Sorcery, and FILLOS, or come see some of the books she's reviewed at her blog (cleanlit.com).
About Guardians of the Garden
One bite of an apple...
That's all it takes.
Miriam is so done with protecting immortality. Rejected by her family and the other Guardians, Miriam wants nothing more than to turn her back on Edenia and forsake her strange, invasive magic. In the outside world she could be free from the garden, free to lead her own life, and free to forget that she is a freak.
When Seth Johnson's sister starts losing her battle with cancer, their family moves to the USA with hopes of saving her. Only that's not what happens at all. Seth finds himself in the tiny town of Edenia, with parents that seem to have given up. Seth vows to go to whatever lengths he must to save his sister; even if that means stealing secrets, betraying parents, or risking his own heart.
Neither Seth nor Miriam want to be caught up in the tide of fate and feelings destined for them, but with such harshly opposing goals their worlds are bound to collide.
Pocock takes her readers to a land where magic, folklore and reality merge, where love is strong, fear runs deep, and the end of the world is coming.