Ella D. Curry has 25+ years of marketing and public relations experience. She is widely recognized as a leading expert on the use of social media platforms in book promotion and is asked to speak or moderate panels at literary events and conferences across the nation. She is the Founder and President of EDC Creations Media Group, a literary promotion and marketing company offering authors opportunities to introduce their books to thousands of eager readers.
As the host of award-winning BAN (Black Authors Network) Radio Show, editor of Black Pearls Magazine and Soignée Lifestyle Magazine, Ella has interviewed award-winning authors, celebrated journalists, and community leaders such as the legendary Dr. Maya Angelou, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman, The View’s co-host Sherri Shepherd, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. and Mary Frances Berry.
VBD Magazine had an opportunity to speak with Ella about the most challenging and rewarding aspects of entrepreneurship and ways to elevate a brand. Read on! You’ll be glad you did.
VBD: Why did you start EDC Creations Media Group and what services do you offer?
ELLA: The need to see my people compete in business on an even playing field drove me to create the various mediums that EDC Creations uses for clients. I attended the University of Maryland Global Campus (formerly UMUC) to help prepare me for the rigors of owning my own company, but it was my years at Karibu Bookstore in Maryland that afforded me the opportunities to learn from the entire literary community.
I fight for the recognition of the independently published author as well as the new business owner trying to find their true purpose. The vision for my company was always within me, even as a child. My entire life, I have taken up for the underdog. My grandparents always instilled in me that none of us will make it if we don’t all rise up together. My vision is to create a platform for entrepreneurs, emerging writers, and published authors that will be respected around the world.
At EDC Creations, in addition to our literary PR efforts, we also offer new business owners and social media influencers: New Business Consultation, Marketing Strategy Creation, Business Plan Development, Corporate Identity Creation, and Branding and Book Promotion Programs.
VBD: What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of entrepreneurship?
ELLA: I was granted a 20-minute interview with Dr. Maya Angelou, which was the most defining moment of my business life.
The most challenging part of being an entrepreneur is staying up to date on the technology that’s growing by leaps and bounds. As an Internet publicist my career depends on bringing my clients the next great Web 3.0 promotional tool.
The most rewarding part of my career is to see an author become published, get their books in the major chains, and enlighten the world with their message. Just to help bring a client’s dream to reality is so pleasing. Meeting some of the most profound literary icons is also fabulous.
VBD: What is your advice to a new author regarding promotion?
ELLA: Respect yourself and others. Be true to whom you are and don’t let anyone take that away. Readers will embrace your originality.
With this age of a tell-all-world, I see so many people mar their brand and their image with pettiness on the web. Handle business in the office, settle disputes in court, and use the web for what it was meant for—to distribute information with rapid speed. I said information, not hate, not jealousy and definitely not malicious lies and gossip.
VBD: What are some ways to elevate a brand?
ELLA: I’m going to focus my response primarily for authors. Branding marketing success is based on how serious the author is about having their story told, plain and simple. If the author is not going to be front and center in the campaign, it's going to be a hard road.
Here are a few key steps:
1. Create a publicity plan and marketing budget. Don’t base this on what you saw another author doing. Create a mood and branding board that defines what your voice and message is. Next, look at what story you are telling your audience that adds value to their lives.
2. Look at your plan and break down the steps it takes to make it happen. Research your audience and look for the things that they need for entertainment, education, or the problems that need solving. Don’t be afraid to outsource work and automate some tasks so that you can focus on your true purpose.
3. Create dynamic relationships with the target audience before you need them. Start by creating a content posting plan for each social media platform that addresses your particular audience. This will help you stay on point and look more professional. Don’t show up one day selling a book but last week you were filling your page with family functions and events! Stay on task by socializing with your audience and talking back to them. Share content that creates a conversation and less about transactions.
4. Sell the messages within your book and not just the synopsis of the book. Have conversations about the major themes or issues addressed in your books. If your novel includes topics such as emotional bullying, depression, sexism, classism, racism, abuse of any kind or family crisis… use them as ways to ask questions, share resources from your book research, or to even ask your audience for ways to diplomatically include this content in the book without triggering readers.
5. Create a strong presence online that will follow you to offline events and signings. Make your brand human and add your presence to the brand! Let your readers know what moves you, find your brand colors and style and let that carry into every part of your business. Start with a brand photo shoot and professional headshots. Let your readers inside your world, so that when they meet you in person it feels authentic.
Share your challenges and your wins. It helps build trust and enough interest for readers to become ambassadors for your brand.
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