Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Image is Everything

Breaking Delia's Rules
W. Lynn Chantale

My latest attempt at a book launch fizzled. I had no idea what I was doing and my publisher at the time knew even less. So I stopped and regrouped. When I decided to become serious about writing I figured e-books were the way to go. After all I wouldn’t have to do traditional book signings or TV interviews--I’ll be honest I’m not a big fan of crowds, the telephone, or even leaving the house for long periods of time. But I still needed to get my name out there. Thank goodness for the Internet.

After much searching I found several articles on Branding and attended a meeting at my local chapter of RWA on the same topic. So what is Branding? What does this term mean? It’s a good or service that consumers connect with a name, slogan, or logo.

Have it Your Way - Burger King
The Golden Arches - McDonald’s
It’s in there - Prego Spaghetti sauce

Or how about these: Worlds of Adventure...Souls of Desire...
Unstoppable Heroes, Uncompromising Love, Unforgettable Passion
Where words mean so much more...
She’ll keep you up all night

Recognize any of those? They are all tag lines from various romance authors’ blogs or websites. The first is Emma Lai, second is Kayelle Allen, third is Em Petrova and last is Jackie Collins. I know what’s she doing in the midst of all these steamy writers? Just to show that even a NYTimes bestselling author has branded herself.

But then there are some authors or products which need no slogans, like Stephen King, Nora Roberts or Kleenex or Kodak. Automatically one thinks of horror, romance, tissue, and cameras. None of that recognition would have been achieved if branding hadn’t been accomplished.
So, how does one accomplish branding? I thought this would be something difficult, but turns out, it’s fairly easy. First get your name out there! Make it easy for readers to find you. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter or Myspace readers should be able to find you by name. Not a nickname or something cutesy, but by your name or slogan. And those aren’t the only places you can brand yourself. Use your email signature line, GoodReads, Blogs, Online Communities, (Eharlequin, ARe Cafe, Savvy Authors, The Romance Review, etc.) articles, blogs you visit, email address, websites. Note: a word on websites--even if you don’t have one now, buy the domain name. You don’t want to put in all this hard work building your image, cultivating your brand just to have someone else take all the credit. People need to know who you are and what you’re about.
I will confess when I first set up my Twitter account I used a nickname, as soon as I heard that tidbit from an avid reader and blogger I came home and changed my name. After all, everything else says W. Lynn Chantale, why not Twitter?
Keeping this in mind what image do you want to convey to readers? Do you write dark, sensual love stories? Then your site needs to reflect that. Sci-fi/fantasy or historical romance? Something relevant should be in the header, like a group of sexy men (great site Kayelle). Or if you’re a closet romantic and want to convey that image; well a pink background, red roses, and maybe a picture of a bubble bath is the way to go. *grins* However you decide to build your name, your image, your brand—this is how readers will find and remember you. So make it count, get your name out there, and have some fun while doing it.
Until next time, indulge your inner romantic.

Seducing His Wife
W. Lynn Chantale
About the Author

W. Lynn Chantale resides in southeastern Michigan. Married to her high school sweetheart, they’ve been together for the last twenty years. They have three children. She writes African-American and Interracial sensual erotic and erotic romance. She has a mad affinity for milk chocolate, preferably Dove chocolate truffles or the caramel-filled squares (Godiva and Ghiradelli are acceptable), and plays the bass guitar when the Muse begs for a bit of distraction.

Contact Info

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Visit Our Other Blog

MFRW Authors Blog

As a group, MFRW decided to create a separate blog where members can share spicy excerpts with our readers. 

The blog director is Lynn Crain. Admins are W. Lynn Chantale, Chris Redding, Karen Cote', and me. You can visit this brand new blog by clicking its name beneath the image to the left. Please take a moment to comment, and don't forget to follow via Google Connect, or Networked Blogs.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meg Mims: I See Dead Characters

I started writing traditional romance. Really. Just ask my long-time critique partner, who slogged through a family saga before I started another project. Over the first few years, I snagged plenty of editors (slush-pile submissions, no less) who loved my writing style. So? Why didn’t I get published long ago in romance?

They told me I had plot-heavy manuscripts, not enough romance—and what was with all the dead bodies? Plenty of historical romances have dead bodies lying around, though, from wars or vengeful alpha heroes. I didn’t see the problem. Yeah, my historical style focuses on the plot. For years I tried to beat that down and failed. If one of my characters turned around, someone ended up dead. Blame them, not me! And besides, my characters didn’t have time for romance. They might think about it, or get distracted by their mutual attraction, but then they force themselves to refocus and solve the puzzle.

Trust me, I’m a slow learner. I never considered switching genres to mystery. Go figure.

Problem number two—I hadn’t learned how to keep a reader’s interest from start to finish. My beginnings sucked them in and then fell flat. So who am I to complain (too much) about not selling right away. No first book wonder here. Or second book. Or third, fourth or fifth. Even my sixth, a traditional mystery, written during the Master’s program at Seton Hill University—which won an RWA chapter contest last year, for heaven’s sake, is still languishing on an editor’s desk. (Revisions ahead, I’m sure, whether or not I’m rejected.)

I did sell the fourth book, however, after a major overhaul. But I don’t regret the hours I spent learning how to market from the Savvy Authors group, from Kayelle Allen and Marcia James, and from expert Margie Lawson who teaches infusing emotions and body language. I chose to accept the offer from a small publishing house, Astraea Press—whose focus is on clean fiction. They loved the mix of suspense and romance (and the happy ending is guaranteed, since justice is always served in the end of mystery!) Astraea Press is now rocketing upward in the wake of readers wanting stories with sweet romance.

Does Double Crossing have *any* romance? A hint, with more to come in the sequel (I promise, unless my characters get distracted again). Lily Granville tracks her father’s killer across country to California, but soon realizes she is no longer the hunter—but the prey.

Double Crossing is what I call a twist of “True Grit” on the new transcontinental railroad, set in late summer of 1869. It has more than one dead body. But I’m very pleased that readers have given it high marks for “suspense, humor and an assortment of colorful characters… And history buffs will enjoy every accurate and fascinating period detail…” Check out more reviews on my website ( and on Goodreads and Amazon.

To romance, to mystery and suspense! May dead bodies continue to haunt my characters.

Meg Mims
Author Meg Mims is a member of Marketing for Romance Writers. You can follow her here:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Twitter Tips for Newbies

After our recent Tweet Like a Pro class, we had requests for other versions, including some basic classes on how to do simple things with the program.

This video is a good place to start: Twitter in Plain English. It was created by the folks at!/CommonCraft You can follow them on Twitter to learn more.

Try these links for some additional tips.

We'll also post more info from the class. Take time to read these articles. They're chock full of simple, good-to-know information. Post any questions you have, and we'll work on the answers.