Calling readers and writers: I want YOUR thoughts on this.
I'm coming up to having to make some decisions about publishing, and it's made me think about something I read awhile ago.
This article stated that authors needed a brand. And that for most authors, that meant getting established in ONE genre. There were many authors at the time of this article (a few years ago) that wrote in two genres, but they almost all were heavily established in the first prior to moving to another.
Lately, I've seen a lot of authors writing in multiple genres and categories. Now, I support that. 100%. I, myself, write in multiple genres.
My question, though, is if the way it is being done could end up cause business problems.
Writing is a business, if it's your profession. Yes, it's an art and all that, but if you're writing as a career, it's a business. And a huge part of business is marketing, and part of marketing is branding. I'm not saying that you aren't a person and are instead a pair of jeans made a certain way. You are a person. The brand shows us that person and gives us an expectation.
Branding. What does branding do?
- It allows others to recognize you based of your brand
- Your brand indicates you. It sells you.
- In writing, it gives your readers an expectation.
- You don't have to force this or plan on this "creation". It's really just using you to help your books.
Nowadays, I see a lot of authors and never really figure out who they are. I don't end up with expectations. I may like one of their novels, but at that point, I'm more supportive of the book--not so much loyal to the author.
If an author is publishing books in multiple genres before focusing on one, does that impact their brand?
I think I've noticed this more just because self-publishing has allowed authors to do that. Indies aren't restricted to one or two genres.
I write and read primarily speculative fiction. I do write some contemporary, but most of my stuff falls into the fantasy side of things. So, I've been wondering, is it a better idea to get a good foundation in my primary focus before putting my secondary focus out there?
When I pick up a book from an author I know, I want an idea of what I'm getting into. If you read this author's sci-fi one day, and then the next book they publish is, say, historical fiction, followed by a contemporary romance and then a steampunk, do you get that branding?
I'm not saying you do or don't, I just want to discuss it. What makes you a loyal reader? Do you tend to be more book-to-book loyal, or are you loyal to certain authors as a whole? Does branding make a difference to you?