Friday, December 16, 2005


PBW's talking about branding again today. I see a lot of authors using three-word taglines on their websites (like "Warm, witty and wonderful," or "Sexy. Seductive. Sensual"). But PBW's talking about one-word brands. She says, "I think one-word branding can be done for any writer," and asks, "If you could describe yourself or your work with one word, what would it be?"

Every time this subject comes up in the blogosphere, I get hives:-). I have no idea how to brand my work. I write, um, five different subgenres under this name. If you like, you can lump paranormal/futuristic/fantasy all together under the "paranormal" label, but that still leaves us with three very different subgenres. I'm dropping historicals for now, but I want to continue writing contemporaries and "paranormals," in the broader sense.

Okay, so we've trimmed it down to two broad subgenres. In those two categories, I write funny stories, and I write serious stories. I write with a contemporary voice, and I write with a more historical voice for some paranormals. I write short and I write long. This is why the only single word I use on my website to identify myself is "Romance." But that's a descriptor, not a brand.

PBW says in order to come up with a brand, "you've just got to play with the words." I don't know about that. I think first I have to come up with a unifying theme that holds my work together. But I haven't yet figured out what that theme might be!

Update: When I swung by Shannon's blog, I noticed she was worrying about what her brand might be,too (other than "chaos"). The general consensus in the comments was that branding isn't a helpful tool for everyone. In fact, Jaci Burton made the following helpful comment in response to her concerns: "Quit worrying about that sh*t and write books."

Well, that's good advice too:-).


  1. Jaci has to say that to me a lot. *ggg*

    One word for me, other than chaos...schitzophrenic's probably not the most attractive branding word, so maybe eclectic?

    I'm glad we don't get graded on this stuff. :)

  2. LOL, Shannon! That is a good thing, or you and I would be flunking the course!

    "Eclectic" is a nice word, though. Sounds a lot more impressive than schizophrenic, doesn't it?

  3. Don't worry, Ellen, I work with marketing and branding for a living and couldn't come up with a single brand word. I have a phrase -- The Key to a Great Romance -- but that's six words!

  4. Just write the books is pretty good advice. I'm reading Lawrence Block again and he says that writers who produce the same type of book over and over are actually rare. - Charli

  5. Yep, just write good books--but write a lot of them. :^)

  6. Writing romantic comedy is the most automatic and natural for me--it just comes easiest and is what I happen to do best. Branding was never actually a concern, it just sort of happened accidentally. ;-) I’m easily able to include eroticism, paranormal elements, SF/fantasy, or emotional turmoil, etc., within my romantic comedy stories, so I don’t really have to limit myself all that much. And when I do write something other than romantic comedy, I use a different pen name because my readers expect to laugh when they buy a “Daisy” book.

  7. You're not the only one getting hives about the topic of branding. I think ultimately it's the readers that "brand" us.