Wednesday, February 11, 2015

To Brand or not to Brand?

If you've been a writer for any length of time, then you've heard a word bandied about.

That word? BRAND.

Now don't get angry, tense, or upset.

One of the things I do as I read multiple books from an author is try to evaluate what promise that writer is making to readers with each book. As they write one more book, they're making an addition to the promise...or breaking the promise and potentially losing readers.

Really that's all a brand is.

A brand is a promise to a reader.

What can they expect when they pick up your next book?

With Colleen Coble books you expect a strong romance set in a setting that can't be divorced from the book. There will also be some page turning suspense. Probably a child, too.

With Rachel Hauck's Royal Wedding Series you'll find what I call supernatural romances or spiritual fairytales. Think Princess Diaries all grown up with heart-pounding romance and such a strong spiritual message you will be changed if you open your heart to the theme of the story.

In Julie Klassen's books, you'll step back into regency England. There will be a strong sense of place, interesting characters set in an interesting time, and usually a mystery to add layers to the romance.

What happens when an author deviates from the reader's expectations (aka brand?)? The reader is disappointed. The book is unfinished. And the next book may not be purchased.

Brand is something that develops over time. So if you're still new at writing, don't panic. You'll figure it out as you go. But as people read your books, pay attention to what they have to say about them. That's how Brandilyn Collins figured out her Seatbelt Suspense. Her readers told her that's what they experienced.

Who's your favorite author and how would you define their brand or promise?
Cara Putman is the award-winning author of 20 books. You can connect with her online at her website, facebook, twitter, and more.


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great post, Cara.

I've also heard our brand is ourselves. What we're passionate about and how it comes out in our writing and our online presence. I'm not making much sense here, but I thought I'd add that thought. :)

Robin E. Mason said...

when I shared my intended cover for novel #2 in one of my writer groups, one of the first comments was that it looks like I've set a "brand" for myself: I used the exact same pattern I used for my debut and change the title and cover image!
in my very large stack of have reads & TBR's I have notably Sarah E. Ladd, Lady of Willowgrove; Jordyn Redwood, Proof - medical mystery thriller; and Tessa Afshar, [four of hers] Biblical fiction - written as tho she had been there!

Erica said...

My favorite author has always been V.C. Andrews, even the newer books(well, some not all). the premise is usually the evil mother/stepmother and a father who is either absent or more caring. There is tragedy and sensuality, but the main brand is Taboo within families.

James Patterson is another one of my favorites because he writes fast paced thrillers with really short chapters. Haven't read him in a while either.

Cara Putman said...

Thanks for chiming in, ladies. Brand is elusive and defined many different ways. Love seeing how you define it and examples.