Sunday, July 19, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blog-athon 35 -- Anything Sunday

Rebranding and Correctable Mistakes


I've been thinking a lot about the J.J. McCall series this week. I love the story and am INCREDIBLY passionate about showing the world this side of intelligence. But when I started it, I was SO GREEN, so inexperienced it's not even funny. I spent my entire career (which was 2 years old when I started writing the "Itch" series) writing romance. I'd written four romance novels before I switched to writing spy thrillers. And when I conceived the series, I'd actually planned it to be more romantic and more comedy than it turned out to be. But I went where the story and characters took me and they came up with a better story than I ever could've imagined on my own. I'm so happy with the direction of the story...but not the sales. And I think part of the issue is marketing.

I've learned so much about the industry and marketing in the past 6 (almost 7) years. Stuff I had no clue about when I first started. One thing I've realized more than anything is GOOD WRITING isn't enough to stand out in such a strong field. You've got to have the right marketing--book covers, titles, etc. to get attention. Then your story has to knock readers off their feet. 

I'll admit, when I decided on the titles for the "Itch" series, it was a 100% self-indulgent decision and based more on my original ideal for a romantic comedy-ish series than an real market research. Certainly wasn't based on the darker, edgier series it turned out to be. I had developed five title for the edgier series that "fit in" with the industry standard but elected not to use them. My vision for the original covers also fit the thriller genre. But I told myself, I don't want to fit in. I want to stand out. I'm going to make it MY WAY.  

Ha! 

Well, I've spent three years doing it my way and I've learned a major lesson. In the publishing market -- sometimes when you stand out, you stand alone. The key to standing out successfully in the thriller genre--is to standout within the crowd not outside of it.  If you're too far outside the crowd, your audience may not find you. And so I believe it is with the J.J. McCall series. 

The beautiful thing about being an indie author is this -- ALL MISTAKES ARE CORRECTABLE--and don't ever forget that. They may not be easily correctible. They may not be cheaply correctable. But they are all correctable. 

So, I'm using all that great knowledge I gained while earning the otherwise useless MBA collecting dust in my office. I'm going to spend the next month taking the advice that I would give to another author in the same situation if I was serving as a business/publishing consultant--I'm giving the J.J. McCall series an overhaul. Or in marketing terms--REBRANDING. The series will NOT change in terms of storylines. or characters. They are just going to undergo cover redesigns and title changes. 

I will reveal the new branding in September, just in time for my appearance at a mystery-thriller type writer's conference which I will announce in the coming weeks. 

Stay tuned. Lots more to come on my process and the steps I'm taking to give J.J. new life before the much anticipated release of Book 4 in December. 

It's going to be A LOT of work...but  I believe it will be worth it. 


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