The Thrill Of Suspense Across The Ages; Marketing An Author’s Brand

As a New York Times bestselling fiction author, once, and having authored and had published 32 books with total sales over nearly 3.5 million across way too many years to remember, Bob and I joined the Romance Writers of America [RWA] deep in the heart of Texas, on July 23–26, for the 2014 #RWA Conference in San Antonio.  I had stepped away from the #RWA organization after being a National Board member and went to Hollywood to write for the big screen which can explain my time away from the organization and writing books.  The biggest change I noticed was the high quality expertise surrounding the 2nd major task of any successful best selling author, marketing.

In 2012, my husband Bob and I relocated to the #Austin area and we went back to writing novels.  The trip to San Antonio was a short drive and the week was a great time to get away.  We had released 8 books in two years, so it’s not like we’ve been goofing off. What they didn’t realize was how much we would learn about marketing our books and, more critically, our brand.

Whether you’re being published through a large publishing house or self-publishing your books, the effort, skills and intuition needed to market your brand and your books is nearly equal.  So we came back and went to work to sharpen our message to the book market in general and to work on finding and communicating better with our readers and fans.  The result was that we now have a consistent reader facing message.  Bob always knew that an advertising slogan is a short, memorable group of words used in advertising campaigns to draw attention to one distinctive feature,” Bob continued.  “Our passion is suspense so our slogan had to be The Thrill Of Suspense Across The Ages.”

We have three different active suspense series currently.

The Young Adult series, CUL8R [See you later for the non-texters], is all about the 15 to 18 year old reader.  It is a time travel series with the last book, RIP, taking place in 1911 at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado who were very supportive of our work. Having RIP on the shelf with the another famous work of fiction by Stephen KingShining, is a real rush.

aaThe New Adult series, Scandals, is about the 18 to 26 year old generation.  There are two books published thus far, Due Dates and August, 2014 release of Killer Date.  “Millennial “kids, mainly in 18 to 26 year old group, have a great deal of organic suspense built in based on our five sons.  The stories and heroes of these books will keep your heart rate up.  Our NA books are not YA with sex or YA with training wheels removed.  These are bonafide adult suspense stories with twenty something’s talking on the heavy lifting in the story.

0000picFinally, and with one foot still in the romance industry so Kathy doesn’t co-write this series with Bob, the Denver After Dark series is heavy on the suspense and deep into the romance, hence Romantic Suspense.  The 2nd book, Cries In The Night” recently was a finalist in the 2014 #ColoradoHumanities book awards and was recognized in the Amazon 2014 Breakthrough Novel Award.


The activities we’ve undertaken to implement what we learned is that The visual image and simple message on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the webpage, our email address and template and this blog must all look and feel the same.

Our readers can simply see what we’re about and that’s important. The #RWA San Antonio experience helped us hone our message. These are writers that sell millions of books in a couple of years which took me twenty years to accomplish. With the marketing activity undertaken this first week back we can check marketing off our to do list...for a couple of days.

We was skeptical of the value add of the week at the conference.  Kathy knew what was coming as she used to eat and breath this stuff.  Now Bob’s a believer and more importantly he is seeing the upside to marketing and marketing through a prism to help focus all that we do.  We’ve been fortunate enough to win awards and contests and have earned amazing reviews and ratings…maybe now new readers will have an easier time finding us.  Now it’s time to write.


So you’ll see this image from here on…




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The Thrill Of Suspense

Are you a fan of Thriller, Suspense or mystery fiction and enjoy my books?

My first 23 books were conventionally published but the week in San Antonio at#RWA14 was an eye opener now that we’re back into publishing for two years with our last 8 books. Times have changed in #Authorworld and #marketing.

Today, actually today was ten years ago, authors have #street #team! Who knew? Not me but now I’m excited.

What’s a #street #team? Wikipedia says a #street #team is a term used in marketing to describe a group of people who ‘hit the streets’ promoting an event or a product. ‘Street Teams’ are promotional tools that have been adopted industry-wide as a standard line item in marketing budgets by entertainment companies, record labels, the tech industry, corporate brand marketers, new media companies and direct marketers worldwide. Add Books under the media companies.

Naturally this is a voluntary position and my few but might members are readers, bloggers and fans of suspense and thriller fiction in either or both #YA or #Adultage groups.

What do #street #team members do?
* Share or re-tweet or re-post on Face Book, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Any and all are appreciated
* Receive FREE books of ALL releases and then post reviews [honest reviews only]
* Receive small gifts of appreciation long the way
* Some of my existing Street Team are also Beta Readers
* Blog opinions and articles about any or all of my book series
* Making me aware of opportunities to reach readers and fans

This is new to me as well so we’ll likely slog through this CROWD MARKETING together but it was exciting to hear about this “new” 1990’s idea that started in the music industry and now has over taken author world.

Thanks first to Scott, Kristie, Pat, Betty and Steve for the energy to move forward. Ronnie, if you’re reading this we’d love to have you as a member representing the youngsters at age 70. Finally, to the presenters at #RWA14 who brought it home for us, a special thank you to #bellaandre #marieforce #barbarafreethy#pennysansevieri #cathrinebybee #jenniferprobst to name some of the stars of the #rwa14 conference in San Antonio!

Interested? Let me know. I am looking for more active members. Write me at




TWITTER: @93nightwriter