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 Audience expectations tend to rule your life, I’d imagine (just guessing here since I’m unpublished) and it probably leads to a lot of stress and creative blocking.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?


Filed under Writing

8 responses to “Branded

  1. KAK

    Well, Ozzy’s fans already know he sold out years ago. Most of us would be impressed if he could string enough words together to actually write lyrics that convey a romance.

    As for branding, yes, it is important. If you want repeat customers, you must enter into a relationship wherein you’re promising something and delivering on it. If you break that promise, it’s just like any other relationship. There are consequences. Some good. Some bad.

    Jane Ann Krentz’s career is a great example of how to shoot yourself in the foot and how to recover through reinvention.

  2. Wow, Ozzy? Yikes.

    Branding is so important, you’re right. I’ve always been told to pick something and stick with it. Stay consistent and run with it.

    I’m confused by the duel pen names. . . but then again, I’m still pretty new to the writing world, so I’m learning each and every day. I’ve seen a few now who have a couple names. I’d never really considered it but can see why it’d help if switching from genre to genre. . .

    Crazy industry, but I’m enjoying the ride!! Woo-hoo!.

    Great post.

  3. I do think branding is important to authors. I think that you have to know your branding and market yourself that way. A great branding expert is Jenn Stark. She’s in my OVRWA along with KAK and her website is GREAT!!!!

  4. Branding is tough with my “personas.” Do we share the same history? The same education? How do you separate one from another? And, education may mean one thing, but publication means something totally different. Under Louisa Bacio, I’m published in erotic romance, but under another name, I’m published in non-fiction … what happens when those worlds collide?

    • That is a worry. Luckily, I’m not looking at anything in the non-fiction market so I only have to worry about my fiction personas colliding. I suppose that’s one good thing about not being an expert at anything other than b.s.

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