If you’ve been a reader of mine for any length of time, you know I have a bit of a branding problem when it comes to my writing. Namely that some people (likely you) know Hillary DePiano as the name of the e-commerce blogger and seller who blogs here at The Whine Seller and others only know her as a NaNoWriMo leader and playwright who specializes in obscure fairy tales and modernized commedia dell’arte. I’m both of those, of course, and while I’ve tried for years to make both of those two very different halves of my life kind of fit under one umbrella I’ll be the first to admit it’s a battle I’ve been losing.
And so, at last, I’m doing something I really ought to have done from the very start. I’m finally untangling my writing life properly so that I can more easily brand my stuff and readers will have a better idea of what to expect when they see a new release. In the short run, it’s a change that’s going to make my life harder and mean double the work but, hopefully, in the long run, it will make everything a little easier on readers and myself alike.
So what does this mean for you, my dear reader?
New Pen Name! (Same as the Old Pen Name)
To start with, it means that you will slowly start to see the name Hillary DePiano downplayed on this site as The Whine Seller becomes a pen name in earnest instead of a nickname I sometimes call myself. Going forward, The Whine Seller will be the name on my books, my bio, and the way I introduce myself on podcasts and in other appearances. I’m not doing this to hide my identity or real name or anything but rather because it will make it easier for me to market my books when they are all of one related theme instead of all over the place.
I’ll also be taking the two collectibles guides I penned under my own name and putting them under another new pen name yet to be determined. I’ll still write fiction, plays and writing about writing under Hillary DePiano. Since I have more fiction titles, specifically plays, released than anything else, this was just the most logical way to split it up.
New Mailing List!
Previously, if you signed up for the mailing list here on The Whine Seller or signed up for it over on HillaryDePiano.com, it was the exact same list. That’s no longer the case. Now the sign up on this page is for The Whine Seller mailing list which will always and forever be about selling and e-commerce and you won’t have to worry about getting random messages about fiction stuff and plays. (But if you do want to hear about fiction stuff and plays, you’re always welcome to go join the main Hillary DePiano list). While it’ll be a little while before I’m organized enough to start sending out regular newsletters on that email list, it’s already set up to do automatic monthly digests of everything from the blog so I’d love it if you signed up now.
New Books! (In Some Cases The Same as the Old Books)
If you have some desperate need to own any of my books with my real name on the cover, now is the time to buy them because, very soon, all paperback and ebook editions of my books will be rebranded with The Whine Seller listed as the author name. The content of the books themselves will remain otherwise the same, this is just a cosmetic change designed to reflect the new branding. The biggest advantage is that it will clean up the experience of buying my books on Amazon and other online bookstores so that “More Books By This Author” section is only showing you other related e-commerce books instead of random plays and collectibles guides.
But then there will truly be new books! Titles that were previously announced and teased, yes, but also other books I’ve never even talked about. This includes the long awaited follow-up to eBay Marketing Makeover and hopefully new audio editions of some of my existing books.
The fact is, sales of eMM (which came out in June of 2015) were less than expected and that was partially because my personal life got overwhelming and I couldn’t do as much marketing as I planned for it. But it was also because it was becoming increasingly hard to market that book without annoying fans of my fiction works and vice versa. Overall, I’ve been reluctant to release more e-commerce related books because of the way it causes confusion and annoyance for my fiction fans so I’m excited and hopeful that once everything is properly sorted out, I’ll be able to start putting Whine Seller books out regularly again.
Oh, yeah. I’m back, baby!
Even though, like the Big Boy, sir, in many ways I never left, the blog has certainly not been as active over the last few years as it was before my fiction career took off and starting taking up all my time. And I’m not sure I’ll ever really get it back up to the three posts a week pace I had back before I had kids because there are so many more demands on my time now. I’m down to an hour or less a day of working hours when I used to work over 50 hours a week! That said, I used this past July session of Camp NaNoWriMo to write enough blog posts that I should be able to have something up at least twice a month here for a full year without letting the blog become inactive, leaving me room to pop in a timely post when I have the chance and rely on this stockpile the rest of the time. That should help build momentum into the pen name change and to give the new books their best chance of being seen.
Right now, being The Whine Seller weirdly isn’t as profitable as being Hillary DePiano, writer of weird fairy tale plays, which is why I haven’t been able to give it as much of my time. But when I started blogging again these last few weeks, I realized immediately how much I missed it and how I could bring it back up to profitable again with a plan (a big part of which is this branding change.) I have no idea what the future holds in terms of everything from nuclear warfare to how often my kids will nap so I can work but I know I want The Whine Seller to be in that future in some form so it’s worth fighting to keep it there. Which is why what I really want to say is…
I want to extent a huge THANK YOU to you, the person still reading this silly, ranty website I started 10 years ago this coming September. Thank you for sticking though all the changes, weird site design choices, haphazard posting schedule and complete branding confusion that has been my writing life. Every one of you that is still reading, that shares my posts, buys my books, and supports what I’m doing out there has been a big factor in helping me get this far and making me certain this is worth continuing and I cannot thank you enough for that!
Now, let’s get back out there and keep selling and yelling!
Hillary “The Whine Seller” DePiano
-just The Whine Seller