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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Protecting Your Brand -- Should You Follow Your Muse Even if it Takes you Through the Genre Jungle?

Let's face it, as an author, brand is everything. I would even venture to say that brand is everything to readers too, because without it, they have no idea what they're getting when they buy a book from their favorite author. For example, if you love a great erotic paranormal and New York Times bestselling author Iamsexy Allthetime is an auto buy for you, you might be a bit disconcerted when you by Iamsexy's latest release and discover that it's a Christian Young Adult mystery.

There's no question that, as authors, we should nurture our brand and keep it safe and uncluttered. However, what if you have several genres dancing around in your head? What if you try to stick to one genre and your writing begins to suffer because your heart's just not in it anymore? What if you get bored and start viewing the writing as a chore? Will your readers notice? Will your brand suffer?

You bet. They'll notice and your brand will suffer.

While it's important to create a consistent brand that readers can count on, it's also important that you keep the fun in the writing because if you lose that sense of fun and adventure, you might eventually figure it's just not worth doing anymore. More than a few authors have found themselves in this trap, where the writing felt too much like work. Some of these authors have given up as a result and are no longer writing.

I know what you're thinking. Writing is a job. It should feel like work. I actually disagree that it's a job. It's a career. But it's also a creative endeavor. And being creative it needs to include some element of magic...some sense of adventure...or you'll lose it altogether. Just as negativity can kill a muse faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidotious, so can boredom.

So what's a multi-genre-at-heart author to do? Write what your muse (and your heart) tell you to write. Show some restraint, of course. Don't write every genre and every age group or you'll even start confusing yourself, but do give yourself some leeway so you'll continue to enjoy your craft. If you write suspense, try your hand at a little science fiction or paranormal if you feel like it. You write paranormal? Try writing historical. If you feel like writer's block is taking over your life, maybe branch out and play with another genre for a while. Get the joy back in your writing.

A side benefit is that you'll probably improve your writing. By stretching that writing muscle you'll strengthen it. And, sure, you might muddy your brand a bit...but a brand won't mean anything if you stop writing because you begin to hate what you're doing. And, who knows, you might discover that a lot of your readers are happy to take the new journey with you!

Happy writing everybody!

Where Miss Fortune meets Miss Chance

Miss Felicity Chance’s father is missing, and her sexy PI Calford Amity thinks he’s found him. Together, they follow a trail of gold coins to Sinful, Louisiana, where a homeless guy named Bayou Bubba turns up dead with an alligator tooth in his hand and a gold coin between his teeth. Is Bubba Miss Chance’s long lost father? Or will the mystery of his disappearance suck her down into the bogs of the Bayou, and ruin her favorite purse?

Bubba Dub Dub, three crooks in a tub, and only enough scratch for two!

Felicity Chance returns to Sinful looking for a message from her father. Following a trail of clues
Felly hopes will help her find him, she enlists the invaluable…and distracting…aid of Swamp Team 3. Unfortunately their search is complicated by the usual things—Carter and new mayor Celia Arceneaux have made it their mission to keep a close eye on Swamp Team 3 plus 1. The team also finds itself running from the Russian Mafia as well as the local bad guys. Will Felly and the Swamp Team find her father before all the bad guys do? Or will she get bogged down by the swamp, and sucked into the muck of her father’s shady past?


Cara Marsi said...

Good post. I've struggled with branding myself because I enjoy writing in several romance sub-genres. Thanks for the advice. Bubba books look great.

Melissa Keir said...

It is a challenge but I think that some authors are able to do it. Take Nora Roberts for example, her contemporary line has paranormal elements (Donovan), spies and espionage (Island Sisters) and just plane romance. It is only when she needed to move to the future that she used the JD Robb synonym. Often it's the publishing houses that have dictated the need for a different name with each genre published. I know Colleen Gleason has four names she uses for her writing. But since I love her writing, once I found out that she wrote a dystopian romance, even though it wasn't her name, I had to buy it. There's benefits to both sides of the coin.

Rose Anderson said...

Great perspective, Sam. Thanks for sharing.

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