Monday, February 4

Branding--When is it Too Much?

The topic of branding has been on my mind a lot recently. I write many different genres, so I'm not quite sure how to brand myself as an author. And although agents and editors constantly talk about branding, I often find the idea of it distasteful. Why, you may ask? Well, in my experience, some authors brand themselves a bit too much.

I know one author who is obsessed with chocolate and has chocolate in every single one of her books. It has come to a point where I refuse to read her books now, because her obsession is extremely annoying.

Another author I know has branded herself as one of the dirtiest romance writers out there, pushing the issue to a point where she has been shunned by some of her fellow writers.

Now, those are just two examples. I have more, but I'm afraid they'd become too specific and people might be able to pick them out... which I guess, in a way, means that author successfully branded themselves. But is it a good thing to be known for a brand if it annoys the reader? Hard to say, IMO. I haven't made up my mind on anything--I'm just rambling up here =)

So what do you think? Do you have a specific brand, or are you unsure what you want to do? Have you come across an author brand that annoys you? 


  1. I find it amusing sometimes that writers who haven't made it big obsess over their branding. If branding is the question of what I think of when I hear their name, then surely the answer must be that their brand is nothing much.

  2. For a while, I obsessed over branding (like you, Natalie, I write medieval romance - but, like you, I also like to write in other genres). Then I realized that until a miracle happens, I shouldn't worry about branding, I should just work toward that miracle.

    Interesting about the examples you put forth - a little lesson in how far to take that branding :)

  3. The farthest I've gone to brand myself is being consistent with my name online - and snatching a blog URL for besanderson. So now, when you see B.E. Sanderson - wherever you see it - you know it's me. (And not get confused with that other, more popular Sanderson with the first initial B - no relation.)

    Write well. And be yourself. That's all the branding you really need.

  4. Stu- I agree with you. However, agents and editors do comment all the time that we writers need to think about this stuff ahead of time. I'm not truly concerned about it--I'm just curious what other writers think about it.

  5. Janet- Exactly! I often wonder if agents want us to do EVERYTHING, or if they just want us to hone our craft and be aware of the rest ;)

  6. B.E.- Yeah, I think that's a good branding technique. Just keep your stuff the same and people will find you. I did come across a book on Amazon written by a 'Natalie Murphy' but it's self-published and that writer doesn't seem to have a twitter, facebook, blog, or website, soooo... *shrugs* I've thought about putting a comment on my blog that I do not have a book out, but I'm not sure. I've always wanted to publish under my maiden name, but people keep commenting that my married name would be a great author name. IDK. LOL.

  7. It's interesting to me that you've posted this now, because we've been talking a lot about authenticity in my YA Lit class. And it seems that, in the YA market in particular, it _is_ important to brand yourself in a way that makes you seem authentic to your YA readers.

    I think the biggest problem you'll run into is the possibility of alienating the YA audience if you don't create some distinction between your YA author-identity and your ME romance author-identity. Something you could think about is publishing under two names -- one for your YA writing, and one for your ME romance. There are authors who do that when they write in very different genres.

  8. Kels- Hmm, I would disagree with you there. I don't think authors who write both genres alienate their YA readers--in fact, I've found the opposite to be true. Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Lorraine Heath, Sophie Jordan, Sherrilyn Kenyon etc... they all write hot romance and are now publishing in the YA genre (and doing VERY well).

    Most romance readers begin reading hot books at 10-13, which is the same age most teens start reading YA books, so it makes sense that the romance and YA genres work well together. Readers can switch between the two with little trouble.

    However, I do think it's easier for romance writers to make the jump to YA. I only know of Jennifer Echols who's making the switch from YA to romance, and it has been far more difficult for her.

    Most agents say to not use multiple pseudonymous unless I have an issue with my name being out there (for example, if I wrote erotic romance). It gets complicated and confusing, and you actually risk annoying readers if they find out later on down the road. =)


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