Spread the Word – Postcards DIY

I am ready to send postcards to announce the release of The Book of Sharon – book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy. I designed these using Vistaprint, and I am very happy with the result. I have to say that I have used this service for a lot of my promotional and business material and it is great. I am always happy with the result and quality. It is also economical. Just sharing one of my ideas; I am not affiliated with this service. It is a great way to spread the word, and you can even place them inside your books, as bookmarks.

Here is what it looks like, front and back.

Post card (front) - The Book of Sharon

Postcard (front) – The Book of Sharon

Postcard - The Book of Sharon (Back side)

Postcard – The Book of Sharon (Back side)

In addition, Moo.com is a great alternative, although they are a bit more expensive, in comparison, but offer more flexibility in creativity. They have mini cards that you can carry in your pocket, and double-sided cards perfect to create hand-out book cards. You can create an image of your cover for the front of the card and a small description of your book on the back of the card. I made mini cards for all my novels; however have not made any of the regular size with the description, but I’m planning to do so. Here is a picture of a mini card for The Book of Sharon. The back just shows my business information and logo. The mini card is about 2.75 x 1 inches.

The Book of Sharon mini card

The Book of Sharon mini card


There you have it, just sharing a few ideas for indie authors. Hope it inspires you.


Developing a Brand Statement

I should have written about this topic sometime ago, but it is something that you do not think about unless you are making a conscious effort to create, evaluate, or develop/expand your brand. Whether you are an author, artist, entrepreneur … or are starting to create a brand, eventually, you will have to develop a statement. In this case, I will refer to your statement as a branded author.

What is a brand statement? To make it easy, compare it to your novel’s elevator pitch. I have read in several sources about many variations of expressing it, but it can be easily explained as the sum of what you/your product is, plus the type of customer/reader that is your target, plus what you/your product offers/does for them (your intention). Once you put that into words, in a short sentence, you have developed your brand statement. For example, my brand statement is: “Inspirational fiction author Maria Antonia Diaz delights readers of fiction and non-fiction by offering works that combine adventure with the supernatural and the divine.”

If you look at that statement it tells who I am/my product as an author, it mentions my target market, and what the product (books) offers the readers. The reason that I include the non-fiction sector, is because my novels have an inspirational tone to them, which might be of interest to that sector. If you think about it in those simple terms, you can develop a simple brand statement that you can sum up in a sentence.  It is an easy way to keep the focus of your brand in front of you, and make it clear to others. Think about who you are as an author and who your readers are, and what you want to do for them through your work. That should lead you to express your brand statement.

Retail Giving

The title of this post may seem a contradiction, but it is not. If you deal with customers or clients, you are probably very excited/happy every time you make a sale. It is the natural reaction; however, do you go the extra mile to deliver the same happiness and excitement to your customer/client? I hope you do. Once it is time to deliver the goods, do you take care of the presentation? Do you give something extra to the customer/client or do you deliver just what he/she paid for when the order was placed?

Going the extra mile for a client/customer is important to your business/brand whether you sell products, services, or entertainment. It is what the client perceives at the other end when he/she receives the goods that will determine repeat sales, and “word of mouth.” One of my retail customers emailed with this comment – “Love it! Just opening the package was a fun experience. Thank you!”  I don’t have to tell you that this made my day, because having that praise from a customer meant that my efforts to show that I care, were perceived.  It was perceived in the delivery of the goods, the product, and even in the package presentation.

What things can you do to wow your customers/clients?  There are a few that I practice all the time.

  • Answer emails promptly.
  • Ship/deliver the goods as soon as possible.
  • Never overcharge a client (including the shipping charges).
  • If shipping happens to be a bit less than quoted, refund the difference.
  • Present your brand in a consistent manner.
  • Wrap the item in an attractive and safe way.
  • Presentation of the goods should be beautiful and neat.
  • Include a little extra as a thank you gift or a coupon for next purchase or both.
  • Always thank the customer, whether with a thank you note or a quick email.  I prefer a pretty thank you note.
  • Let the customer know that you have shipped the goods and provide a tracking number or any other pertinent information.
  • Follow up with the customer/client when he/she emails you back.

These things are simple to do and tell the customer/client that he/she is appreciated and in good hands in the future.  They should become second nature to you as you keep practicing them.  There are many other ways in which you can give to your clients.  It is a matter of using your imagination and enjoying the process.

I hope this post was of help whether you sell goods, services, or words.

Building Your Brand – the Rewards

Line art representation of a Quill

Line art representation of a Quill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a follow-up to the previous post, I thought that I would mention the benefits or rewards of building your brand.  The rewards go beyond the monetary gratification, as brand building touches the entrepreneur’s “soul” (for lack of a better word).  When you set out to build your brand, you are strenghtening the process of reaffirming your commitment to your business or craft.  To outsiders, it serves as mere recognition of a brand, to the entrepreneur/artist/writer it plays an important part in building not only the business, but the perception in which the endeavor is seen from the entrepreneur’s side, deepening the commitment, inspiration, and serving as a refreshing fountain of energy (fuel) to keep it going.

Branding builds in professionalism, setting you apart from many other similar endeavors, for example, the author that just produces the book, lists it for sale, but never worries about building a brand around it – an author’s website, page, networking, and plenty of marketing, among other things.  It doesn’t matter if you self-publish or go the traditional way, brand building is important if you are planning to become a lifetime writer.

The financial rewards will eventually increase with brand recognition, if done right, but it should never be the main goal of building your brand.  It goes deeper than that, and if you are serious about your product (whatever that may be), you will understand that while everyone needs to make a living (preferably doing something that you love), it is when you give something back to the reader/customer/client that your brand will become stronger and your endeavor/business will grow.  This principle is old and you may have heard of it in the scriptures, popular wisdom … “What goes around comes around,” “You get what you give,” “Give and you shall receive,” and many other variations of it.

If you become serious about building your brand, do it with love, passion, and generosity and the rewards will eventually show up.


Building Your Brand – The Challenges

This post is a follow-up to the earlier – Building Your Brand.  It is a challenging task that never ceases; however, most difficulties are encountered at the beginning.  These challenges may be concrete or emotional, but they are present during the process of discovery and even after you had set out to build your brand.  The more you ignore dealing with these challenges, the slower the process will become, and it may even affect your own “emotional branding” – the way you perceive your brand.

YOU – The Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge that you may meet building your brand is YOU.  Even after you have figured out where you are headed, your belief system (in yourself) may be shaken after the journey of self-discovery.  There will be the moment when you might say “nonsense” and doubt the entire process.  In addition, there is always the negative little voice that tells you to “be careful,” “wait,” “can’t,” “too difficult,” “too expensive,” … you know it.  Training yourself to bypass YOU (your fears and doubts) will take some effort, but will make you stronger and give you clarity of perception.

Emotional Challenge

This challenge is tied to YOU, as depending on the process of self-discovery, which is different for everyone, the array of emotions/feelings set free are the challenge in itself.  Dealing with those is important to continue building your brand.


At one point or another, motivation may get stale, especially when instant gratification is nowhere to be found.  In an instant society like ours, we are cued to get results and get them fast.  In most cases, building your brand will not yield instant results.  So patience and perseverance most be found inside your motivational briefcase.

Family, Friends, and Critics

This is a huge challenge, second to the YOU challenge.  Most of us pay great attention to the opinion of our closed circle first, and to the outside circle later.  Wether we want to admit it or not, their opinion has an effect in our emotions.  This is why it is so important to take a hold of YOU and understand that for them, a process of self-discovery may have not happened yet, and most likely, they may not be able to understand where you are coming from or your perception.  I have found that entrepreneurs are more likely to cheer you up, because at some point, they have gone through the process, than people with a job/paycheck mentality.  The later group will not be able to understand what you are doing or where you are headed, least how you are doing it.  They have not learned the value of a true dollar (or your country’s currency) and they may not understand your true efforts.  For this group, time spent = money in the strict sense of the phrase.  For you, payment for your efforts have come in many other ways.  A healthy dose of criticism is good, but beware of where it comes from and how YOU deal with it.


This is a personal issue and everyone must work with time differently to build a brand.  This applies to anything in life, as your perception of time may be different to mine.  Timing and time to work on something must be understood separately.  Emotional time spent is also important when building your brand.

Money and Knowledge

I linked these two challenges because many times, if you don’t have money to hire someone to do something you don’t know how to do yet, you can always spend time learning it and do it yourself.  It is a personal issue, sometimes tied to physical time, but not let lack of finances stop you in building your brand.  Today, there are many free social networks, platforms, and online features which are of help when money is tight.  Learning is a process that takes time.

Change and Setbacks

This is something that you must be able to accept as part of growing your endeavor and building your brand.  Things move different for everyone; it is the cycle of living, and part of the decision-making (past, present, future); however, don’t let that stop your progress.  Change may be positive or carry some setbacks with it.  It may speed the process or slow you down.  It can come in the form of total devastation as in a natural disaster, financial loss, divorce, moving to another state or country, illness …  It is up to you to set the emotional pace for dealing with change/setbacks.

These are a few challenges, which may be present when building your brand; however, it is your journey, and your own challenges will appear along the way, of course.  There is no growth without challenge; so welcome these.