Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What does your brand say about you?

I'm not usually one to get my  news from the Onion, but they recently re-posted a slideshow from Grated that really got me thinking. They showed pictures of twenty well known logos as they would be if the company really told the truth about their product.

Source:list25.com
As authors, we don't generally have logos, but our public perception can be just as important. A recent post by Beth Fred showcased her disappointment when a writer she loved failed to deliver on their brand promise.

So, how do we as writers make sure we are delivering as promised? The answer is actually easier than you might think. Communicate!

If you are switching genres, let your readers know about it. If you are trying out something new or drastically changing the tone of your books for a new project, don't hide it.

Some readers might not like this new direction. It's true. But remember that you can't please everyone. Some of your fans might not be willing to make the switch with you, and that's a risk you take. However, by not telling them, you are tricking them into reading something they might not want to. If you do this, you risk turning off your fans to all your future work. They will have lost trust in you and this can kill your fan base.

The moral of the story: Tell it like it is. If you write feel good contemporary stories then own it. Don't try to sell your work as a gritty, real life drama. If you write suspense novels with button-pushing themes, don't pretend it's a love story. Let your readers know what they're in for, and they will thank you with their loyalty.

11 comments:

  1. Yep! And thanks for the shout out.

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  2. Great advice. We have to be real with readers, because as you stated, if they feel tricked, authors risk losing fans.

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  3. I write in different genres and age levels. I try to be very upfront about it. I know that some people will not read my paranormal/horror because it's not their thing, but romance might be so I can get a fan there. Or vice versa. I'm totally fine with that. :)

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    1. I think you do a great job with this. It's always clear exactly what readers can expect from your different books.

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  4. This is very true...there are certain authors, Sarah Dessen or Jodi Picoult for example, whose books I can pick up without reading the flap because I know what I'm getting into since they've branded themselves so well.

    However there are others like Meg Cabot who write great stuff across the board, but she's up front with her readers about her wide interests and that's truly what's important.

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    1. Those are great examples. Just proves the point that there's nothing wrong with branching out and trying new things.

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  5. As long as it's clearly stated, I have no problem with authors trying something new. In fact, I'm in awe of people who can do it because it's not easy. But as readers, we have to be willing to let authors do those new things and not freak out when it happens.

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  6. I agree with you, but it's easier said than done. What if you write several different genres, styles, and age-group levels? How many pen-names (with associated blogs and social media) can you really run on a day-to-day basis? If your publisher insists on ambiguous back-cover blurbs to attract as many readers as possible, what can you do? My favorite (bestselling) authors have occasionally come out with things I don't like -- but I'm sure other fans loved those ones. I think writers should just write the best they can and hope their work finds an appropriate audience.

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    1. Lexa, I understand your concern. While I know several authors who maintain platforms under multiple pen names, I wouldn't suggest that route for most folks. What I'm saying is that, as an author, when we promote our work, we should be upfront with our readers about what it is. If you've always written romance and decide to switch to a paranormal, don't send it out to your normal run of romance bloggers as if it was just another book. Make it clear in the way your promote the book, that this is something different.

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