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Ruby Release: The Sweetest September by Liz Talley

Amy_SweetWelcome, friends, to the party I’m throwing for myself. Presumptuous of me, huh?

But, oh well, today is a great day to celebrate, Friday and all that, so I figured why not throw a release party and invite all of you?

The Sweetest September is my 13th book, and I’m banking on it being lucky ’cause I’m positive that way. And not only am I celebrating another book released into the wild, but I’m celebrating a new me. Yeah. A new Liz Talley.

Once upon a time….a long time ago (aka, when the fab Liz Bemis set up a website design and promotions business) I put myself out there as Liz Talley, Romance Through the Seasons. Liz and I thought long and hard about what I wrote and she came up with a really cool idea based off some images I gave her. She’d asked me to think about my writing and what I wanted to represent to potential readers. I immediately hit upon the seasons idea because at that point, I liked to chose a different season in which to set my books. And the image that I finally settled on was a tree. I liked the imagery – the growth, renewal, and, well, trees are pretty awesome. So she came up with a website in which there was a tree and it changed with the season. It was very cool. Really.

And then I got a few more books under my belt, and Liz said, “Maybe we need to freshen your look” and so we did. She created an fantastic set of seasons that changed accordingly.

And it was good.

But this spring, I attended RT in New Orleans where I received the Reviewers Choice Award for Best Superromance (humor my bragging – I’ve never won anything before). At the book signing I sat next to the energetic, sexy Damon Suede (I say sexy because I don’t have a chance with him…and he’s totally cute).  Anyway, over the course of me taking pictures of him with his fans and assisting him with marking his books with stickers, we talked about the business. At one point, he leaned over and said, “I love your bookmarks.” To which I said, “Oh, thanks.” And then he said something quite transforming -“But they don’t really tell me much about who you are as an author.” Well, I sort sat back (not physically…but in my mind, I totally fell back, mouth open.) I took a deep breath and asked, “Huh?” And because Damon is a kind person, he broke it to me quite gently that I needed a brand that said something about my writing and what I brought to the reader, and while bucolic scenery is nice, it says nothing. I left the book signing hot (it was a bazillion degrees in there), flustered (those lines!) and confused about who I was.

The next day while lunching with my fabulous Rubies, I brought this up and guess what? They AGREED with Damon.

Set me on my ear, I tell ya.

But with my faithful sisters’ aid, I began to really think about what kind of books I write….and what I wanted the reader to expect when he/she first made contact with me.

So I took suggestions – magnolia, Southern, sassy, modern, small town, mint julep, porch swings, cotton fields, plantation houses – and I contacted Wizard Liz Bemis (Yeah, that’s her moniker around here – magic behind the curtain). And she started tossing those suggestions into her vat of creativity. And she came up with this: http://www.liztalleybooks.com

I think it’s the perfect combination of modern and country. It’s bright, sassy, slightly nostalgic and fresh. It’s what I hope people associate with my stories. And since I’m no longer limiting myself to romance, it still fits my overall writing tone and style.

So as I launch this new book, the first in a series set in fictional Magnolia Bend, I happy to say I feel renewed, energetic and optimistic about who I am. Which sounds weird, but y’all know what I mean. We all need a little spit and polish at times, a little fresh coat of paint. Feels good. Gives us a little oomph. So if you haven’t thought about branding and who you are as an author. If you haven’t looked critically at what you’re portraying through your website and promotional items, maybe it’s time you do.

It worked for me….and I’m really hoping I get to sit next to Damon again sometime. Maybe whatever he comes up with next time will land me on a list or lead to a six figure deal. He’s genius…which is why his branding is a light bulb.

So tell me today who you are as an author? Have you every changed your vision?

Oh, and since this is a party of sorts, we need a gift. And cake. Man, I wish I could share some cake with you. But I can give away a present. How about a lucky commenter (Rubies included) wins a $10.00 Amazon card and a copy of any of my books? Oh, and here’s the link to the book on Amazon in case you want to take a peek,. Happy Friday, friends!

 

 

28 responses to “Ruby Release: The Sweetest September by Liz Talley”

  1. Laurie Kellogg says:

    LOVE the new website, Liz. Good branding is so important, and I think you really nailed it.

    My brand is Contemporary romance that’s steamy, heartwarming fun! L.L.’s brand is Red-hot romance that’s a little naughty and a lot of fun!

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Thanks, Laurie. I think taking some time every few years to reevaluate your branding and image is important. All the big companies do it, and since we’re artists/business women, we need to do the same. Knowing what you bring to the table is important if you want to be current and desirable to readers.

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Thanks, Laurie. I think taking some time every few years to reevaluate your branding and image is important. All the big companies do it, and since we’re artists/business women, we need to do the same. Knowing what you bring to the table is important if you want to be current and desirable to readers.

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  2. Tamara Hogan says:

    Liz, I think “Sexy, southern sass” describes you, and your work, perfectly! Love the website revamp. Is it too early for a mint julep? 😉

    I know I need to put more thought into taglines and branding. Right now the writing part of being an author is kicking my butt. I’d appreciate any thoughts or ideas from the Rubies and Ruby readers!

    Congrats on releasing Lucky 13!!

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Making time for writing is the most important thing.

      When it comes time to redo or update, you know where to go for some good advice. The ladies here are so creative and willing to help.

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  3. Kim Law says:

    Bought it!! I’ve been waiting for this one. I love your enthusiasm for this book, so I’m positive it’s going to be amazing! Of course, all your books are, so that’s not a hard bet 😉

    And I love the new look. You described it perfectly, and it FITS your perfectly. Don’t you just love those ah-ha moments? At RWA this year, I had a couple of those myself. AND, before going I had been trying to decide if attending (spending the money, time, etc) was still as worth it as it used to be. While coming home, I decided it absolutely was worth it if for no other reason than the ah-ha moments that come out of it after spending time with like-minded people.

    Fingers crossed this book does wonders for you!

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Thanks, Kim, and I appreciate your help that day. You, Tamara, Vivi and Anne Marie really validated the need for change. It’s one thing to hear it from a person you don’t know as well, but to have it seconded by people you absolutely trust, well, that moved me where I needed to be.

      I’m excited about this new series. I’m hoping readers will be able to find it on their ereaders. Superromances are scarce on the shelves these days, so making a bit of a splash is the only way to be discovered. And, yeah, my splash is small. But with the help of my Rubies, family and friends, I’m finding new readers every day. And the good news, is that they buy not just one of my books, but several of my backlist.

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  4. First, super congratulations, Liz!! Thirteen books is truly something to celebrate and I wish I could have cake and champagne with you. 😀

    Second, I LOVE your new brand. While I love what you said about trees and renewal and growth, you strike me as young and vibrant and sexy and needed something to reflect that. Now you have it. 🙂

    I’ve been thinking about my brand, too. While I’m not quite ready to dive into a reconstructed website, I write what I call “thrilling romance, chilling villains” with a psychological twist. But I didn’t want to do the typical red-black theme that a lot of RS has. I’m kind of waiting until I see how this new series shakes out in 2015 before I rebrand, but it’s been on my mind.

    Hugs to you, and congrats again!!

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    • Liz Talley says:

      There does seem to be lots of darkness surrounding suspense and what you write is dark. So it makes sense, but I do like that you’re thinking about being pigeonholed and feeling uncomfortable with that. So color can work for you.

      Heck, look at Darynda’s bright covers. There’s plenty of death in her books (lol) but death is pretty on her covers. You can do something similar with your look.

      But your tagline rocks!

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  5. Liz Talley says:

    Thanks so much, my Rubies! I’m excited about so much in regards to my writing. Now if I could only control the market. If only I had a magic wand…but cake will work. Feeling the need to celebrate with some sugar 🙂

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  6. Gwyn says:

    I think the new website is perfection; it captures the essence of you and your books without bludgeoning your fans. The colors suit you as does the catch phrase. Kudos to you, for taking the bull by the horns, and to Liz, for hog-tying that bovine with pretty ribbons.

    Laurie is always at me about branding, especially now with the Sci-fi just about ready to make its debut (professional edits being done as we type–hubris can derail the best of us). I write quickly, but edits take a while, so there’s concern for maintaining two personas. We shall see what we shall see.

    Congrats on Lucky #13!!!

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Thank you, Gwyn. It IS something you need to consider because much of this business is marketing. If only it were about the quality of books. Not that I think mine is necessarily outstanding, but if it were as easy as just writing a good book. But, alas, there is so much more, and almost all of it is something an author can’t control. But we can do things to make ourselves a bit shinier. I felt this was a good step for me.

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  7. Elisa Beatty says:

    The new site and the new tagline are FABULOUS–they really do share something about who you are!!

    And I love it that you’ve still got the seasons going with Sweetest September! Looking forward to reading it!

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  8. Love the new look. I think I need to borrow Damon to brainstorm with me. My tagline is “because love is funny” — I have baseball player heroes, a reality TV duo and one about a healthcare administrator & the Klingon interpreter she’s forced to hire. The comedy aspect is the only tie.

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    • Liz Talley says:

      I like your tagline. I think you have to be comfortable with what you’re portraying through your branding. For me, I’m moving a little away from being just a Superromance author. I have a fun detective series I’m working on that’s a little cozy mystery, a little chick lit. I’m also working on some single title series that aren’t necessarily as, well, category….even though Superromance doesn’t feel category.

      Oh, and Damon should do some consulting. He was very kind but generous in telling me what has worked for him. It was eye-opening and I appreciate the insights he gave me. And that my friend confirmed, really pushed me to examine myself as a writer. I’m happy with what I came up with…and what Liz Bemis did for me. Thanks, Arlene 🙂

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  9. Joan Bamburg says:

    I love the ideal and can’t wait to read your book!

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  10. flchen1 says:

    LOL! Hooray, Liz! I think some of the best parties are the ones you throw yourself 😉 (Who better to know what kind of party it ought to be and who to invite? 😉 )

    Congratulations on the new series you’re launching today–it sounds like a great setting! Looking forward to exploring it as you bring us along on the journey!

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Thanks so much. I needed the confirmation that it’s cool to throw you’re own party 🙂 Appreciate your best wishes and hope you like this new series.

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  11. Julie Mulhern says:

    Liz,

    I’ve been tasked with creating (okay, hiring someone to create) a website. So I’ve been pondering branding and who I am as a writer and what I want my site to convey. Yours is fabulous! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Julie

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    • Liz Talley says:

      Well, getting some help from friends is always a good call. In someway it’s like writing a book blurb. Often my critique partner and I swap those jobs because I’m so close to my work, I can’t write a brief little blip about it. Designing a brand is similar, so let those who know your wiring best help you. Best of luck and thanks for popping by 🙂

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  12. Agatha P. Townsend says:

    I won your new book and loved it, it’s great read everyone. Agatha

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  13. Liz Talley says:

    So it’s Sunday night and I’ve waited all weekend to draw the winner of a book and $10.00 gift card. I wrote down all the names, gave them numbers and my son chose a number. That number was 8 and it was Joan Bamburg’s number! Congrats, Joan! I’ll be in touch.

    And thanks to everyone who took the time to look at my new look and help me celebrate this new release!

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  14. I finally got confirmation from Amazon that your 13th book has shipped. I was starting to worry that I hadn’t actually preordered it.

    Love the new website.

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  15. margie says:

    Liz,
    Just can’t wait to read more of Sweetest September. I have really laughed at the heroine’s watermelon pink panties. I’m glad she found them. If the rest of the book(which I know it will be) is anything like the opening this is a great book and an enjoyable read. Glad you wrote this.
    margiet
    member of NOLA

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