Monday, March 28, 2011

100% Pure Beef

I've been thinking about author branding. JR Ward is the cracktastic brotherhood writer. Annette Blair is the quirky paranormal author. Eloisa James is the lush historical writer. Christine Feehan is the one-lifemate-for-cavemanish-Carpathians-lots-of-velvet-sheaths author.

Initially, I attempted to brand myself as the "Santa Claus" website looks like a Christmas festival, with holiday decorations, gingerbread, and of course half-naked Klaus brothers. It was a good, solid idea for an initial branding concept, something to set me apart from the masses (since no one else is writing about the five sexy sons of Santa Claus as a long-term holiday series).

Somewhere, over the last year and a half, my "persona" (which is an odd bipolar mix of Penny and Penelope) has morphed into something altogether....different. Yes, I am still the "Santa Claus" author. But I have added a few other characteristics to my "brand."

If I was thinking about getting a brand imprinted on my arse, here are some possibilities.....

  • Loves Beards
  • Weenie Dogs Forever
  • Chlorophyll or Bust
  • Heart Attack Survivor
  • I-Hate-Roarke-Brigade
  • Herbs Are Not Just For Smoking
  • Wussy And Proud Of It
  • Grammar Police
  • Martinis For Everyone
  • Promo Princess
  • Humble Opinions Are For Pansy-Asses
I am sort of digging this eclectic mix of personality traits. Yes, perhaps, it is too complex for a nice tight branding concept. But for better or worse, it's who I am. At least for right now.

Any ideas about branding? If it works? Who does it well? Is it even necessary? Maybe 100% pure beef is the only way to go.

Happy Monday,


KB/KT Grant said...

Penny, the author of bearded erotic has a nice ring to it.

Penelope said...

Ha haa haa....yep, I decided to try and incorporate bearded men, plants and weenie dogs in every book I write from now on. It's a challenge! But I can do it! :^)

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I have issues with author branding. Yes, Penny, it will sell books. Is it right for me? I doubt it. I am such a mixed up mess of a human being - and I love being a mess.
My interests vary, my life experiences have been insane...
I'll say this, J.R. Ward is definitely branded and yet after 4-5 books, I lost all interest in her brand. She wore off, or the brothers wore off, I don't know which. Now I'm not even curious. That is the risk you run with branding, but...your hardcore fans? It's what they not only come to expect, it's what they demand.
Write what you want and you'll be okay.
Write about guys with curly hair and facial scruff (not full beards, too scratchy!).

Penelope said...

Hi Julia...that is actually a very good point. JR Ward branded herself as a "romance" writer....then, she stopped writing straight romance, and switched it up to UF. A lot of her fans got pissed off. I guess that's one of the potential pitfalls of branding yourself and then trying to make a change.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Exactly, like KMM lost me with her Fever series - because I didn't like the Fever series. I do know it got better by the end, but I found the characters, or some of them, so annoying that I lost interest.
I know she pissed off a lot of her Highlander fans.

Penelope said...

That's a good example. I think it's OK if you write multi-genre....Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle....and there's a reason she has all the different pen names. So her fans don't get disgruntled because her writing style/type of story is so totally different from what they are used to. I personally love KMM's fever series, as well as her Highlander books but they are very different. It might have been a good idea for her to use a different pen-name, but I guess she wants to expand her brand and include both genres.

Lindsay Kiernan said...

So funny that you should bring this all up right now. I too have been gong through an identity crisis about branding. My husband skips between writing horror, childrens books and noir detective stories. I'm always thinking about how scattered that feels and so I've just tried to stick to romance and push away my other writing interests but some days I really want to write and romance just isn't doing it for me. Maybe I do need to dip into some other flavors every once in awhile to keep me sane!

As for you it has always been the beards fetish that sets you apart. I've been shocked that it isn't part of your covers. Maybe next time?

Penelope said... should definitely write whatever you want to. You don't have to stick w/ only romance. A simple pen name change is to use initials for a different genre.

As for beards on covers.....I wish! Very few covers have bearded heroes....publishers like the clean-shaven look so they don't turn off potential readers who have an aversion to facial hair (hard to believe, but some women have an aversion to facial hair!!!!). If I self-pub the next book, I'll be sure to include my bearded lumberjack on the front cover! :^)