Kay Stockham wrote an interesting post on the Pink Heart Society about the need for branding and in particular, the need for an author to know her tag line.
As you can see from the top of this blog, I don't bother with tag lines. Yes, I write historical romance novels, but really how I describe my historical romances is not necessarily how my readers would describe them. However I do hope they are engaging page turning reads that allow the reader to escape into the world of the story for a few hours.
The best way to understand what my writing is about to read them, or at least read the blurbs and excerpts and see if they pique your interest. If they do, great. I hope you get as much satisfaction and joy from them as I do writing them.
My product is my books. It is not business cards, book marks or magnets. And I firmly believe that it is the quality of the content that keeps my readers coming back to my books. If I put out books at regular enough intervals, hopefully readers will remember me and think -- ah I really enjoyed her last one. Also hopefully readers will think, ah I am going to tell my friends about her books because they gave me such enjoyment, or I know that so and so likes romances or history, I am going to tell her about the books. And I am going to ask my librarian/bookseller to tell me when the next book is out.
The converse is also true, if a reader did not get the enjoyment out of my books then no amount of clever merchandise will make her pick up my next book. My last book helps sell my next book.
The other problem with having an individual strap line is that it would need to be there at point of sale -- i.e. on the book cover. That is not going to happen.
Marketing at Harlequin Mills & Boon have their own ideas about what goes on the front and the back, and they have their own positioning for me. The covers exude a mood, and a promise about the content. Writing series books means that I can take advantage of the hard work that the publisher has put in to build that series brand and trust. Single title authors have other challenges, but again I would argue that it is about the point of sale, rather than the brand that is on your website. It is about the cover and blurb at the back.
Authors build readership by delivering a quality product. Authors deliver written content. It is all about giving the reader satisfaction. It is all about growing that unique sub set of readers -- the ones who when they close the book think -- I want to read another one by that author, wow what a great enjoyable page turning read. And if they do buy another book, and get the same experience, the author's readership grows. The biggest names have been delivering on their unique promise for years.
Content is king.
The best way for an author to grow her brand is to deliver a high quality product on a timely basis. So I need to go and write my wip as that is ultimately what I want to sell.