Or more commonly known as branding. The new hot topic, or possibly a rather old tired topic, but let's get into it, shall we?
If you didn't read this post by Anne R. Allen a few weeks ago about branding your NAME you should. As always, Anne's post is informative and brilliant. I can't add any more to her discussion, other than -- because my name Anne Gallagher is also the name of three other women who write books, I use Anne Gallagher Writer in mostly all of my searches or tags. If I want to be really precise, I use Anne Gallagher Regency Romance Writer.
However, Anne Allen's name branding aside, I'd like to discuss other ways in which to brand yourself and your books.
As you all know, I write Regency romance novels. There is no sex involved. I wanted to put that across to my readers right off the bat with the covers. There are no heaving bosoms on my covers, no men with open shirt fronts showing off their washboard abs. I don't write sex, so I don't want to show sex on my covers.
I think I've done a pretty good job with that particular brand.
I'm writing my way through another contemporary women's fiction novel. The title of that, and the subsequent novel I'm going to write in 2015, are going to become branded to REMEMBERING YOU. Kind of like Roni Loren's erotic novels -- CRASH INTO YOU, FALL INTO YOU, MELT INTO YOU, STILL INTO YOU. Mine aren't erotic, I'm just using the titles of her novels as an example. My titles will be similar to REMEMBERING YOU.
I like that part of the branding process. Everything is similar, but different. You know what you're getting with that particular type of series of books. You almost don't even have to look at anything else about the book. The title says it all. Harry Potter anyone?
LESS IS MORE COVERS
Emily Griffin uses pastel colors for all her book covers. Nothing but the titles, a little tiny drawing, her name and lovely Easter egg shades. You know what you're getting. Sweet contemporary romance. There's nothing to hit you over the head, no picture to look at, nothing that screams "Buy Me". But they're bought all the time.
However, all that being said, is "branding" becoming a pigeon hole exercise?
When I had a couple of my Regencies out, I decided to publish my contemporary romantic women's fiction. REMEMBERING YOU was as far away from sweet Regency writing as you could get. Italian cuss words, modern day problems, cell phones, jerk face ex-lovers, sex (gasp). I went round and round with the idea of publishing under my name Anne Gallagher, or a derivation of that -- A.R. Gallagher -- or just giving up and going with something new -- Robynne Rand. I decided to go with something new -- to the consternation of a few friends who thought I could ride off the waves of my Anne Gallagher success.
But I knew my Regency fans would never buy my women's fiction and if they did would be appalled. They were used to reading certain things from me. They KNEW me as a writer, KNEW what kind of stories I told, KNEW what would happen (happily ever after) but were along for the ride. Because obviously it was a good ride.
I know how I felt when I read Susan Wiggs historicals and then her contemporary romances. I hated her contemporary stuff. H-A-T-E-D IT. I just didn't think she had the same flair for writing contemporaries as she did with historicals. Perhaps if she had used a psuedonym I might have liked her contemps just fine. But that's just me, and it played a major part in how I decided to brand or rather re-brand myself as an author.
But now, I'm finding I'm unsure where to put myself if I decide to venture into YA. Yeah, you heard me. YA. I've had a couple of stories in my files, pretty good ones too that I'd like to eventually finish. Also a couple of sweet contemporary romances (think Harlequin). Do I have to re-brand myself when I publish those? Can I get away with putting them under my Anne Gallagher/Robynne Rand names or do I find myself ANOTHER pen name?
Tell me -- What do you think about branding? Is it good for an author? Does it pigeon hole their writing? Do you think they should write under different names for different genres or is one name okay? I know we've had this discussion before, but I'm hashing it out again.
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013