Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Is Your Brand?

When you go to the book store, or download a new book to your e-reader, for many, the tendency is to go to your favorite authors. You have read their work before and you want to see their latest. Why do you return to those same names time and time again? Because you expect a specific type of story. You expect a certain voice, structure and group of characters that work well for you. That characteristic is what we call the "brand of the author." There is a bit more to this, but let's work with this first layer and then move on.

As a writer, it is crucial for you to establish for yourself (and hopefully with your editor and agent) a specific brand and voice that people will come to expect when they read your work. For example, you might be known for the dark, sensual romance. Maybe your strength lies in the the snark and the humor underlying even the most sensitve and emotional topics. Maybe it is your approach to demonstrating a strong compassion for multiculturalism. Whatever the case is, this is what your readers will want to come back to you for with every one of your books.

I think a good analogy of this would be that restaurant you go to time and time again. The atmosphere, the food, the ambiance and the staff are what keeps you coming back. But what would happen if you returned and, even though they kept the same type of food, let's say Italian, they turned it from a sit down dinner to a buffet style serving. Is this what you wanted? For many, that shift might not be it and they are now off to find a new favorite restaurant.

As you think about your writing, you have to consider what your "brand" truly is. Even if you are a new or unpublished author, that brand is what you will sell to the editors, agents and readers. Here are some examples of Greyhaus Authors that I think make the point clear:
  • Harmony Evans - multicultural romances focusing on strong social issues in the African American community.
  • Helen Lacey - Hot sexy heroes, strong powerful heroines and a great sense of family and home.
  • Sharon Lathan - Multi-layered and very sophisticated historical romances with a classic feel.
  • Bronwyn Scott - Hot, sexy storylines with a powerful historical backdrop
Now, don't get me wrong here. I know a lot of people want to write in a lot of different genres. There is nothing wrong with this, but remember that you have to bake sure that the writing you do in each of those genres has it's own distinct brand and voice.

Unfortunately, I do believe that far too many authors just simply write in the hopes that something will just come along. Sure, there is a chance that might happen, but the odds are, the writing will simply lack that strong personality you are going to need to sell it to the editors and agents.


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