I was so going to write about something else this morning, something witty, but then I heard something on the radio that made me think I had to do a writing post today.
You see, I’d heard that Ozzy Osbourne wants to write a love song, something completely different from his…30 years? of heavy metal style, but is worried that his fans will think he’s sold out. This blew my mind. Here’s Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness, worried about being thought of as a sold-out by his fans. I had to stew on this for a bit because it’s something we’re taught to worry about as writers.
For a while, I wasn’t sure what branding was, but as I became more comfortable in my writing skin, I realized your writing brand is what keeps your audiences coming back for more. The same is said for anyone in the movie, music, or writing industries. Audience expectations tend to rule your life, I’d imagine (just guessing here since I’m unpublished) and it probably leads to a lot of stress and creative blocking.
As a writer, I can see how troublesome this would be. If Stephen King suddenly started writing straight forward romance novels, there would be people who’d read it just out of curiosity, but his hard-core fans would be disgusted. The same could probably be said of romance authors with a strong fan base who suddenly begins writing horror with no love story subplot (although I think romance readers are more tolerant than other genres, but I’m biased).
When I decided to write “seriously”, I chose a pseudonym to protect my real name, but as time goes on, I realized that it was probably for the best for branding purposes. Should I choose, at a later date, to write in a completely different subgenre of romance, I can get another pseudonym to help ease the transition for any fans I might’ve accumulated under the name Danica Avet.
Right now, I have two pseudonyms, although only one has made a true public appearance: Danica Avet is out and about all the time. She has friends, a permanent home, a web presence, and shoots off her big mouth almost constantly. Jojo Solet is still unformed. I thought for a while that she would be my erotic pseudonym, and she still might, but I haven’t written enough erotica to give her a presence.
Does any of this make sense? I tend to ramble a lot, but the basic point is to watch how you present yourself on the interwebz, because every single piece of information out there is subject to scrutiny. When you make it big (scratch “if” out of your vocabulary), you want people to be able to find you, connect with your persona, and know that when you churn out more books the feel will be the same.
What are your thoughts on branding?