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Should Authors Break Free from the Brand?

10 July 2019

From Writers in the Storm:

The standard advice given to writers is to brand yourself. Find a genre, and stick with it. This strategy has proven successful for many contemporary authors such as Danielle Steel and Mary Higgins Clark, but even Jane Austen had perfected the practice years earlier, and Agatha Christie used it to pen mysteries that ranked her in the sales zone with Shakespeare and the Bible!

So why have I chosen to go against the gold standard of good advice and cross genres? I admit, it’s probably because I have no business sense, but it’s also because I love to learn new things and to challenge myself creatively.

. . . .

When I sit down to write a story, I don’t think about sales numbers or marketing strategies. I don’t even think about publishing it. Instead, I open myself to the creative flow and let the words find their way through me to the page. It’s not as hokey pokey as it sounds, but it isa beautiful, powerful, and spiritual process that helps me tap into something bigger than myself.

My first book was written with my daughter in my lap. Together, we wrote a simple story, searching online for stock photos to attach to each page. We printed the “book,” and stapled it together. In time, that handmade picture book was shared with her friends and their mothers, until it found its way to an agent and then to a publisher. Zonderkidz produced a two-book series, God is with Me through the DayGod is with Me through the Night. And before I knew it, I’d become a children’s book author.

. . . .

Truth is, many of my readers have followed me from the start. Sure, some prefer one genre or the other. Some like the romance flair of When Mountains Move while others prefer the literary tone of Into the Free. Some dig the gritty edginess to The Feathered Bone while others enjoy the lighter themes in Perennials. Heck, my books even crossover from faith-based to secular audiences and from adult to YA. I just can’t find a box that fits me.

Link to the rest at Writers in the Storm

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2 Comments to “Should Authors Break Free from the Brand?”

  1. There’s more to a brand than genre.
    There’s plenty of strong brand authors who transcend genre. Asimov, Patterson, King, just to name a few big ones.

    Plenty of SF&F writers straddle both SF and Fantasy and more. Even more start in one genre and play or evolve to another and carry their fans with them.

    There’s a lot of “inherited wisdom” that has outlived its usefulness.
    The old rules no longer apply. If they ever did.

  2. Terrence OBrien

    So why have I chosen to go against the gold standard of good advice and cross genres?

    Because only a small number of people who advocate for the standard have succeeded with it.

    God Bless the rules, for they tell us where the herd is going.

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