HAVE YOU BEEN BRANDED

brands

I’m alive.  Still here and kicking, well not exactly, I don’t think I’ll be kicking anything anytime soon.  But, I’m up, moving and feeling a lot better than I have for the past few weeks.  In fact this is the first time my laptop has been open for more than an hour since before New Years.  My year started off in a slump.  First a battle with the flu and then a bout with pneumonia, but I’m finally on the mend and ready to jump into all my projects that have been swept to the side.

With little to do these past few weeks, I’ve read a lot, trolled through some Facebook groups that I rarely visit, scanned through some blogs and just sort of hung out on social media without really interacting much.  Not feeling up to imputing, I was the quiet observer and I noticed one topic that came up more than once.  Branding.  No, I’m not talking about those for cattle as you see in the picture above. I’m talking about branding your writing and limiting yourself to a certain genre or type of work

When I initially revamped my blog to be more author friendly, I used the tagline of small-town contemporary romance.  Since, Drive Me Sane was set in a fictional small town in Eastern Kentucky, I thought that most of my other work would predominantly aspire to something similar.  However when I scanned back through some of my other WIP, I realized that I hadn’t exactly stuck to that brand.  I have a project that takes place in Nashville, one that actually covers an array of cities across the United States, and then the bulk of my current work doesn’t even take place in the US.  Set in Cancun, it has no small town feeling about it.  Needless to say, I did away with the original tagline and decided that I write happily ever afters.

So does that mean I’ve now branded myself as only writing contemporary stories of happy endings?  I hadn’t actually given any of this much thought until I came across the conversations of other authors talking about their struggles with branding themselves and if it was necessary.  Many were happy to be bundled in with a certain genre and had no intentions of writing outside of their comfort zone, while others enjoyed writing a variation of stories.   In all, most of the concerns I came across were if readers would accept them as author of broad topics or if, when they found their niche, they should remain loyal to it.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be sticking with contemporary romance.  Although I enjoy an occasional historical, I have no interest in writing one nor do I have the creative mind to write paranormal or fantasy.  But I also don’t want to limit myself to only writing a certain theme.

So, thoughts on this matter.  I’d love to know, authors, have you branded your writing.  Do you think it’s a necessity to accumulate a following or are you open to the wind to whatever story fills your head?

Comments ( 16 )

  1. ReplyE.L. Wicker

    Glad to see you back blogging, Dena and it's great that you are feeling better. An interesting subject indeed. Personally, I already know I'm not going to stick with paranormal romance for every book I write. Evangeline is a Dystopian, while another rattling around in my head 'Touch' is an urban fantasy. Maybe I should stick to one, but I'd rather write in a broader field. In saying that, I can say for sure that each book will be NA. I don't know how this will affect me. I guess I'll find out, eventually.

    • ReplyDenaRogers

      Personally, I think that as long as your happy and enjoy what you're writing, that it will reflect in your work and hopefully you're readers will be just as diverse and open to those broader topics.

  2. ReplyKathy Palm

    I've always written fantasy, until last fall when I dabbled (and ENJOYED) horror. And why not? No one is just one thing. I think you can find readers in whatever you write. :)

    • ReplyDenaRogers

      Fantasy to Horror ... that's pretty diverse and impressive. I would love to dabble in some mystery and suspense at some point.

  3. ReplyJess West

    I'm still learning. ;)

    • ReplyDenaRogers

      Me too Jess. Who know's that tag line is liable to change a million more times until I get there :)

  4. Replyaetherhouse

    Branding is very difficult, especially when you have a diverse personality. But I think it's possible for anyone, so long as they take a good look at who they ARE as an artist. Sometimes that transcends genres. I think you're on the right track by saying "my books have happy endings" rather than "my books are romance/my books are small town/my books are Southern." It's not about genre so much as it's about style, and the type of stories you want to tell! I mean, if you look at Steven Speilberg's movies, they run through so many different genres and topics. It's hard to believe the same man made Saving Private Ryan, ET, and Jaws. But his signature seems to be "ordinary people expected to do extraordinary things." All of his works still have a calling card to them. A "brand." Likewise, Shane Black's movies always take place at Christmas - that's his brand. I decided upon Aether as my brand because the word "Aether" is related to space, science, and mythology. Those three themes seem to appear a lot in my work, so I found it fitting. Unfortunatly, it does shoe-horn me a bit, and I'm not entirely happy with it. I think my brand is actually more like "plot driven stories with emotional punch and meaningful relationships", but I'm not sure how to wrap that up into one word and a logo :P

    • ReplyDenaRogers

      Great thought about Steven Speilberg. And I wondered about the Aether (guess googling would have helped).

  5. Replyrachelcarrera

    First things first, I'm glad you're starting to feel better. I'm slowly on the mend, too, though it seems to be taking forever. Your post is very interesting. I'm not there yet, but hope to change that this year (despite the slow start). By the way, I've tagged you in a fun post today if you're interested. :) Happy writing! <3

    • Replyrachelcarrera

      Oops! I forgot to link it: https://rachelcarrera.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/the-monkey-wrench-in-the-works/

      • ReplyDenaRogers

        Thank you Rachel and I look forward to more things from you this year :) Oh ... my creative spaces. That will be fun. Sure, I will give it a whirl. Thanks for thinking of me.

  6. ReplyMary Rowen

    So glad you're feeling better, Dena! Branding is a real challenge for me. I know how important it is--everyone says so--but like you, I find it difficult to figure out. I love what Aetherhouse (above) said about Spielberg's movies being about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. That's totally his brand. Now to think some more...

  7. ReplyDenaRogers

    It is tough, Mary. I'm sure we'll get the gist of it soon though- hopefully!

  8. ReplyHelen Pollard

    Glad to see you back in action, Dena! I found this post both interesting and worrying :( Currently I'm writing clean contemporary romance and I suppose I'm 'branding' myself to match that, but lately I've been wondering how I could tweak that if I diversify - I do have other works in the pipeline or on the sidelines that are really quite different, more gutsy (and not quite so clean!). I love writing what I write but I also enjoy variation. It seems with all this branding and platform stuff, we're having to pigeonhole ourselves too soon.

    • ReplyDenaRogers

      Thank you for stopping by Helen. I'm like you, I have a few projects that are a little spicier than I've written and I'm not sure how that's going to be perceived. I think we will figure this out as we go or at least that's what I'm hoping anyway.

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