I've been thinking about branding and promo lately. Probably because of the RWA National conference. Writers are urged to get a brand, to associate something about the types of stories they write with their name. Start the association early and get the idea planted in the minds of your fellow writers at least. Once you sell, the brand is there, ready to branch out for readers.
I don't disagree with this. And yet, my brand is undergoing an evolution and I'm uncertain how to proceed. I branded myself as a military romantic suspense writer. I still hope to do this.
But now I have international tycoons to add into the mix. And I love them. Oh, I am so happy writing and rewriting my story for Presents right now! I realize how much I fit there, how much I love those stories — even if it's taking me a bit of work to get into the proper groove with my own story.
But how to combine these two things? Many writers start out with one kind of story, one place where they know they fit. Some write a bit of everything. In that case, I think brand is contained in tone and voice. It's about sexy or flirty or dangerous or whatever the underlying core of a writer's voice is rather than a specific genre like suspense or paranormal.
I realized in San Francisco that my own brand of suspense is dangerous and sexy, not gritty or dark or terrifying. And, in many ways, this describes my heroes — whether they are military warriors or wealthy tycoons. I love dangerous and sexy men.
In my stories, not in real life. Thankfully the hubby's most dangerous habit is abandoning me to play on the computer when I'd prefer he help me unload the dishwasher. This is dangerous to my temper and his well-being, but that's about it. 🙂
But dangerous conjures up danger, so maybe it doesn't work for tycoons. Which brings me back to my dilemma. How to brand myself with something generic enough to work for more than one subgenre without being so generic it's forgettable. Or should I even worry about this? I haven't sold anything yet after all.
What are some of your favorite author brands? Is there any tagline that stands out to you? Do you have a brand?
Brands. Hmmm. I like the pictures in your blog. Maybe you could word your brand generically and still have the cool pics. Or what about adding a European villa and a building from DC to the mix. Think spanning continents.
What about: Hot heroes, heroines with attitude and exotic locales… with passion to spare.
Or.. Hot heroes, heroines with attitude and exotic locales where passions rise.
Something like that. Encompass your love for suspence with European flair, add a slice of passion to spice it up. Hope that helps.
Thanks for the ideas, Kathy! I think a lot of my trouble stems from my name. Not sure if I’ll be keeping it or if it’s better to use a pseudonym. 🙂 *sigh*
But you have the luckiest name in the biz, with 3 names! 🙂
LOL, believe me that’s had me thinking lately! If Vicki Lewis Thompson said it, maybe I should listen!! 😉
I do see what you mean, Lynn. But look at Vicki Lewis Thompson, for instance. First she branded with the nerd books, then her brand sort of expanded with her books being about sexy humor. That still stands, even though she’s moved on to paranormals.
So I would focus more on your style or elements of your voice. Although I like Kathy’s idea of the European flair… Your name will fit in no matter how you brand. I don’t really see how it would play in. Because if you picked a name that only related to suspense, then it might not fit for a Presents. See?
For your name, I’d just decide on something that sounds good together.
Thanks for the comments, Angel! This is why I might keep my own name. First, I have name recognition with the Presents contest, the GH, and having had a web presence for the past 3 years. But I’m open to changing it and have actually bought a domain in another name. I just won’t know until I sell what the publisher thinks.
And since I’m kind of OCD, I get antsy about this. I want to be ahead of the game and building a brand/rocking site NOW. LOL, I really must learn to slow down and deal with the journey as it comes.
So, I should probably work on the brand and then morph it over to the new name if I go that route. The brand is more important than the name right now, and you’re right, it’s important to go with the voice elements than the style of story. 🙂