Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Author Branding

With my debut novella, Escape to Love, and more projects on the rise, I’ve been thinking a lot about author branding. I can honestly say I revolt at the concept of being pigeonholed as a particular type of writer. Limiting what I write, or writing under another name seems like a punishment.

Do you, as a reader, not take the time to look over a book before buying? Even if it’s Stephen King, I read the blurb and the first few pages before making the purchase.

Don’t get me wrong. I do understand the concept and the benefits, but is it necessary?

My published short stories are all suspense thrillers. My recent novella is a historical romance. I have a children’s story book under contract, and a paranormal romance under consideration. My novel in progress is a paranormal suspense thriller.

Does an author have to pick one road and stick to it?


Najela said...

I know what you mean. I keep thinking there's so much that I want to do with my writing than being known as the author who writes XYZ type of story. It gets a little monotonous after a while. I wonder how an author goes about branding themselves as writing in many genres.

Roni Loren said...

I don't think a pen name is necessary just because you want to switch genres. I only use a different last name because I write erotic romance and didn't want to use my legal last name.

But if I write in different genres, I'll continue to use this name. (Unless I wrote a YA. Then I'd have to separate that b/c that wouldn't mix with my erotics, lol.)

But yes, I do see an author's name as a brand. I'll read the blurb, but if it's an author I love and trust, I've already decided to buy it regardless of the blurb. For instance, I love Megan Hart's erotic romances, so when she wrote a women's fiction novel (a genre I don't read) I bought it anyway because I know I like her writing. So yes, I do think a name is a brand and that it's important.

But as for having the million pen names for each different genre you write, I don't think it's necessary. Erotic romance writers tend to keep their same pen names. Like Maya Banks writes contemp erotics but also writes historical romance, romantic suspense, and Harlequins. She uses the same name for all. And that was smart b/c that means I'll follow her across genres because I know I like her writing.

Terry W. Ervin II said...

It may depend on if the genres or works written have some major conflicts that would affect readership.

If, for example, an author wrote erotica, maybe not using that same author name when writing children's books might not be a good idea.

On Amazon, someone looking at purchasing a children's novel clicks on the authors name to see what else is written by that author and comes across some pretty steamy/racy/raunchy titles may be hesitant to follow through with a purchase of that children's book. Is it logical to think an author couldn't seprate the two completely--yes, but with online sales, unlike bookstore browsing, even if one can 'look inisde' they may not and move on.

Just one example.

Someone writing SF/Fantasy/Thriller/Mystery etc, I would see less of a concern, but each writer has to determine the proper path for him/her.

Sometime writers even believe that using male vs. female names with certain genres or types of books is key to success. Just another thought to add to the mix.

Anonymous said...

Najela, I think Roni puts a new light on the subject with her comment. Instead of genre branding, we create a brand of our own using our name.

Roni, Thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate your added insight and love your suggestion of overcoming genre branding.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your added input. And yes there probably would be a need for separation between Erotica and children's book.

Of course, I do have a contract for a children's book now. This is way out of my genre area, but the short story is a scary tale. And I would want the reader to connect my dark mind with the book, cause I guess it my not be suitable for all children. Of course, the tale is not as dark as my mind can go, lol.

Joylene Butler said...

FWIW, I think if we grow as writers, mature and stay focused, sometimes we can't help but choose a new path. I've got a children's/YA in my head. I'm not sure where it's going yet, but if you'd asked me 5 years ago if I would consider writing for young adults or children, I'd have laughed.

I think even pigeons don't like being in a hole.

Great post, Cher.

Anonymous said...

Joylene, glad you enjoyed. :) If you tell someone they can't do something, it just makes them want to do it more. My brand - Cher Green, Paranormal Explorer. Lol, that will do for now.

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