The Branding of “Stephen Buehler”™

Stephen Buehler

By Stephen Buehler

In my last blog I talked about my anticipation of going to Left Coast Crime, a mystery writers and readers convention that will be held in Phoenix 2/25 – 2/28.

On the very first day of the conference at 9am, I have signed up for an event called, Author Speed Dating. For 2 hours, 40 authors will hop from table to table pitching whatever they want. It works like this; there are 10 chairs at each table and 8 of them are already filled with other writers and readers. When the first bell rings, 2 authors will sit with the group of 8 and talk. One author gets to speak for 2 minutes, a bell rings, the other author gets to talk for 2 minutes, then the bell rings again and the traveling authors move to another table and start it all over again.Speed dating

Most authors have new books or even old books to pitch. I don’t. I have two short stories in anthologies that came out over a year ago. It’s just not sexy, (Hollywood term for what’s exciting right now.) Don’t get me wrong, I feel it’s a big accomplishment to be published in anthologies but I’m just one author among at least 12. It’s a hard sell to get people to buy the book just for my story. So this is what I’m doing instead. I’m making Stephen Buehler a brand. By the time I’m done with my pitch I hope each person will know that when they read anything by Stephen Buehler they will be entertained, mystified and have a good time. That’s my goal.

Here’s my plan: Since I don’t have any new work to show off, I’m going to be the show off. I have devised a magic trick with 2 of my business cards (each card had a cover of a different anthology). I will perform the trick for the table, talk briefly about my published 2 short stories, then talk about my 2 upcoming books, Detective Rules and The Mindreading Murders. I’m hoping my presentation will stand out from the other authors who will probably be pitching the plots to their new books.

Now mind you, there is no publisher attached to my two novels yet. One publisher has given me a Revised and Resubmit for Detective Rules, but that’s no guarantee. My goal is not to necessarily to have my tablemates remember the books, but if they do, that’s great. I want them to remember Stephen Buehler, the author who is fun to hang around and shows them a good time. When my books are eventually published, (keep your fingers crossed), hopefully they remember my name and my brand.

Last Exit - book cover
“Not My Day”
“A Job’s A Job”

To help remind them of the Stephen Buehler brand, I will be giving away a goodie bag to everyone who listens to my pitch. In the bag are the business cards used in the magic trick plus instructions for each person to learn how to do the trick themselves. If they do show other people the trick, they’ll be advertising my anthologies, Last Exit to Murder and Believe Me Not: An Unreliable Anthology. I’ll be getting free publicity. Also in the bag will be a bookmark for The Mindreading Murders and a postcard of Detective Rules, which hopefully are amusing and enjoyable -like the Stephen Buehler brand. Plus, in the bag I’ll be adding my secret weapon – candy.  You can’t go wrong with candy.


That’s the Stephen Buehler plan. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What ways have you devised to market yourself and your books?


Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and A Job’s a Job in Believe Me or Not An Unreliable Anthology.  He is expanding his novella, The Mindreading Murders about a magician into a novel and shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. On top of all that he is a script consultant, magician and dog owner.


38 thoughts on “The Branding of “Stephen Buehler”™

  1. What a fun start to branding. I wish you all the best Stephen. Please keep us in the loop and let us know how it works out. Best and have fun at the conference. Doris


  2. That’s a great idea! I need to come up with an idea for branding myself. I need something because I’m just not selling any books.


    1. Joe,
      I know “branding” is what agents and publishers like. A way to distinguish you from the pack. I’m just trying to get an early start on it. Does your life relate to your books in a personal way? My PI book has humor, which I like to think I have and I’m magician so I automatically have another market to sell to. Think about it…
      – Stephen

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I joke that my main character is me if I were smarter, tougher, younger, and could shoot as straight. People who know me that read my books say they can clearly hear my voice in Harry’s.


  3. How fun, and hopefully very rewarding, which I’m betting it will be in lots of ways: name recognition, more published stories, and personal satisfaction. That is creative and I thank you for sharing that idea. Let us know how it works out!


  4. Great ideas for branding!
    I don’t quite understand how the speed dating works. Is there an agent or editor at the table that is taking pitches? Or are you just talking to other authors? A great way to network but I’m not sure I get what it accomplishes.
    Hope you have lots of fun. LCC is a great conference.


    1. Kate,
      There might be an agent or publisher at the table but that’s not the main focus. Not everyone is on a panel, which is usually a way for authors to get their books in front of the other writers/readers. This is a chance for anyone to let other people know about what they’ve written. As you said, it is a great way to network and if that’s just with fellow authors, I’m fine with that.
      Thank you for reading the blog.
      – Stephen


  5. Stephen,
    I love talking about branding, and I think you have a spot-on plan for LCC. I’m also doing speed dating so I won’t get to hear your pitch, but maybe you’ll perform more tricks for the rest of us later? Another opportunity!


  6. Now that’s an interesting idea, Stephen. When we’re pitching our novels or our ideas for our next novels (heard about my Civil War novel WIP?), we’ll actually branding ourselves, when you think about it. I’d call mine “The Sleepover,” since I have a terrible stage presence and would probably put folks to sleep. Hey, I’m kidding. Good luck with your idea. I look forward to an update from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you’re on the right track, Stephen, but I would be wary of being murdered by a magician who resents you giving away the trick.


  8. Sounds like a plan. I think this will work. Most people like magic, and most people like candy! Sounds like you’re havinf a great time. I have so many different types of books and novels, that I brand myself too. Cher’ley


  9. I like your approach to the speed dating and your branding. I think it’s a good one and very clever! Although it makes me realize I have nothing ready and have a lot of work to do before the conference. Should be fun though!


  10. Great idea for branding, Stephen! I love your creativity and unique approach to the speed dating. But makes me realize how much work I have to do to prepare for the conference…sounds like you’re way ahead of the game. Should be a fun one though! Good post.


    1. Thanks, Sarah!
      I felt I had to distinguish myself from authors such as yourself who has a book called, Cleaning Up Finn coming out in May. As you know, I’m still working on getting my first one published. The idea started out more as one of desperation but has taken on a life that I’m excited about.
      – Stephen


  11. I think you’ve planned a great strategy because, as you say, you don’t have the visual of a book cover to show or paint in words but your table comp[anions are likely to remember the tricks and your face to go with them! You have additional ‘fingertip’ talents that few, if any attending, will have. I can’t imagine how many authors will have magic skills but they might just get loads of ideas for new novels of their own from your being a catalyst! 🙂 Enjoy!


    1. Nancy,
      Thanks for reading my blog. I do have book covers to show – of the two anthologies that I’m in – Last Exit to Murder and Believe Me Not – An Unreliable Anthology – they will be on the business cards that I’m doing the magic trick with. I’m hoping people will go and buy them in the booksellers room, even thought I just have one story in them. But you’re right – I’m trying to stand out from the pack and hopefully when my novels do come out, I will be remembered.
      – Stephen


    1. S J,
      The event will actually be early in the morning so I hope we have a good turnout. I am looking forward to the conference, nonetheless. I love hanging around with writers and talking writing, books and ideas.
      – thanks for reading –
      – Stephen


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