AUTHOR BRANDING - WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN? by Meg Mims
J.E.S. Hayes has done a great job talking up social media and promotion lately. I figured for lack of another idea that I'd delve into one small part of the whole. Branding. Hmm.
The idea of a brand is actually pretty smart. After all, we want readers to find us. And an author who does more than one genre - say inspirational romance - might not want their die-hard fans to know they also write horror. Or erotica. Yeah, that might be a bit of a shocker.
That's a pretty funny quote. But while life might not be divided into genres, books are - absolutely.
Let's say author Jane Doe starts her career writing sensual romance novels, but then she's got a hankering to use her Engineering/Science degree to dig deep into the science fiction/fantasy genre. What's Jane to do? Will her romance readers love her new stuff? Probably not, unless there's sensual romance in there - but they also might get pretty bored by all the technical stuff. Plus, Jane's romance-themed website might not draw the geeks she's hoping to snag.
See how the pictures above clash? One possibility is for Jane to use a pseudonym - let's say J.J. Doe. Or J.D. Smith. Then Jane has double the work in keeping up both websites and social media promotion, but hopefully she's making enough money from book sales to hire that out. (Hey, it's possible! Don't we all wish.)
Another possibility is to create ONE website, with multiple pages explaining her different books. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, used a pseudonym (and tried to keep it secret) when she started the Cormoran Strike series of crime fiction as Robert Galbraith. The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm are very different, clearly. And before she split off, her website was totally geared for Harry Potter fans.
Now, however, her newly designed website handles it all. However, she does keep it consistent, and if you click the name Robert Galbraith above, you'll see a separate website. You don't need scads of money to do something similar if you're writing in multiple genres.
But how exactly would a "brand" play a role? You might think of something you personally love, and incorporate that in your website and social media. For me, it's the color purple - I love re-tweeting photos of purple flowers or whatever. And tea - I frequently find tea photos to use. You can see on my website that I also love riding bikes and flowers. I highly recommend M.K. McClintock at Potterton House Author Services. M.K. is a talented website designer, and I love my new "look" and multiple "brand" style. My home page reflects ME, and readers get a sense of what I'm like behind the various books I write. It's like a personal touch.
Now, what does this have to do with my westerns? Nothing much, but under my Books page, where the drop-down menu shows all the various genres, click on "westerns" to see how M.K. chose a totally different style. If you click "D.E. Ireland" under Books, you will see more of an English style. And again, under "Holiday Novellas" you'll see more of a winter style. I'll be adding a "Cozy Mysteries" featuring teddy bears under a different drop-down soon.
NOT that this is the best way to handle "branding" an author, of course. My writing partner and I still maintain our own website and blog, and I may end up with another website for Meg Macy's books - with a link back to Meg Mims. When I branched out, I truly branched out. But having an expanded "presence" on the web might give an author writing multiple genres more links for readers to find them. And that has got be an advantage.
Best wishes in branding your own multiple genre/multiple pseudonym books!
Mystery author Meg Mims earned a Spur Award from WWA and also a Laramie award for her western historical mystery series, Double Crossing and Double or Nothing. She also writes short stories for anthologies and is one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series. Book 1, Wouldn't It Be Deadly, was nominated for a 2015 Agatha Award and Book 2, Move Your Blooming Corpse, is set at Ascot Racecourse. Meg is working on a cozy mystery series for Kensington that will debut in 2017. She lives in Southeastern Michigan, loves tea, books, Mackinac Island, cookies, and currently has a sweet Malti-Poo rescue.