Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Branding...the pain...

So I've been thinking about this notion of "author brand," specifically why I resisted the very notion of branding, because oh, sweet fancy Moses, I did! Until, like, this week.

Here's why:

I'm a person, not a brand.

I feared that by branding my writing, I'd be forever locking myself into a set of parameters.

And frankly, the whole exercise seemed like a lot of work for...what, exactly? I wasn't sure.

Then branding was described to me as a way to tell readers what sort of thing they can expect if they've never read one of my books. If, say, they're just wandering around the interwebs and see my name and venture over to my website.

So okay, thinks I, that's a reason I can understand, so let's give this branding thing a shot.

And as I suspected, it wasn't easy.

See, I spend lots of time and effort trying to find ways to make my characters and stories unique; I'm not used to looking for the common elements.

I've written over 40 books and novellas in several different time periods, so it's not like I can pick just one setting for my brand description. Or one sort of character or story.

Finally, after coming up with something that sounded so generic as to be useless (or so I thought), I decided to take a look at the review quotes I've gathered over the years about my books, looking for common elements.

One thing stood out very clearly: my characters are "wonderful," "fantastic," "superbly drawn," "credible", "believable", etc. It's my people who make my work special. (And yeah, because I work really hard to make them credible, believable, etc.)

Apparently I'm also pretty good with intrigue.

And of course, I write romance, so there's going to be passion.

So, via research (how appropriate!), I've come up with three elements I can use to describe my author brand.

Now I'll have something else to add to my revised welcome page on my website.


Kimber Chin said...

Branding just means you're predictable in some ways.

I know when I pick up one of your books, I'll get a happy ever after (which should be a given in the romance genre but unfortunately is NOT). I know the book will be a historical romance. I know I'll learn at least one new historical fact. I know the hero and heroine, while they may have arguments, won't be nasty to each other. I know your voice and your rhythm will be constant.

You ARE branded. Once you hear you're an auto buy for readers, you have successfully created a brand.

That's why I chuckle when I hear you rebelling against branding. You're one of the most branded authors I know.

Now, whether enough people KNOW about your branding is an entirely different thing.

Margaret Moore said...

Really? I'm branded already? I would never have guessed that. I'm woefully ignorant about this sort of thing, obviously.

But at least now I see the merit of trying to come up with something for people who've never read one of my books.

And I'm always glad to hear my research is appreciated. :-)

Kimber Chin said...

Yeah, branding is the easy part (well, it is once you've written a few books). Putting into words what your brand is can be a bit tougher.

It is like someone coming up and asking 'what makes you YOU?' You know what you stand for (or don't stand for) but you probably haven't thought about it.

I'm still figuring out my brand which is why all three of my releases thus far have been so different.