Friday, February 6, 2009

Ramblings on Branding

Tip of the Day: Chew gum when you are wanting something to snack on while you write. It helps!

I’ve been thinking a lot about branding lately as it relates to being an author. Right now I’m working on my third YA book for Simon Pulse, and it’s another ghostly love story written in verse, which I think fans of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME will like. At least, I hope they will. I’m trying to make it new and fresh, of course, because obviously people don’t want the same old, same old.

But when I’m finished, I really want to do something different. Something that makes me stretch my wings in some new ways. Don’t get me wrong, each book requires stretching. But it makes me think about some authors who have found their place on the YA shelves and happily embrace it. Think Sarah Dessen, Ellen Hopkins, or John Green. Is there something wrong with me because I’m not happily embracing a certain type of story? I’d be curious to know if the above authors write what they write because that’s what they truly LOVE, or is it because they want to continue to give their readers what they love. What do you think?

As for me, it’s not like I’ve hit the NYT list with my books like the above authors have. I don’t feel like I could be ruining my career or some crazy thing because I decide to branch out. On the other hand, with each book, I’m supposedly gaining readers, and so maybe it’s my job as an author to continue to write the same kind of books so somewhere down the road, I will “be successful.”

I don’t know. All I know is I want to try something different. Maybe it’ll be a flop. But maybe it’ll be something wonderful. I just don’t know until I try. And so, that’s what I’m going to do, and see what happens!

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career


Kate Fall said...

Lisa, you could always come out with verse books and different novels at the same time and have it both ways. That's easy, right? ;)

DeenaML said...

Laurie Halse Anderson is the queen of having an awesome career and writing a range of materials. You can be her -- why not???

Kristina Springer said...

If you're worried about your branding you can always write under another name. I personally haven't thought about writing in a different style but I do wonder if it'd be like actors-- like how Meg Ryan was so great at the romance and then when she tried something else her career sorta faded. And didn't Jim Carrey try something serious after so many funny movies and it didn't do well either? Hmm. From a reader's point of view I can see how branding is important. Like, if I grab a Sophie Kinsella book I sorta expect it to be a certain way. I can see getting dissapointed if it was vastly different.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

You go, girl! As Tina suggests, some writers write under different names for different works. Nora Robb is one of them. But your new venture may not be so dramatically distant from your other writing.

Deena brings in a great example with Laurie Halse Anderson, too. Her projects are very different, but she still uses her own name.

I guess it can be complex and even a matter of preference. It also may depend on how confident you are are with each project. Hmmm...

something to think about.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

BTW Did you see the Shrinking Violets guest blogger on branding today?

Very cool. I like what she said about the "promise of a certain emotional experience" even if you do cross genres.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Kate - yeah, right! That's what I can do. Sure!

GhostGirl - I didn't see that blog. Off to read it now, thanks!

Emily Marshall said...


I was going to mention using another name too. Lots of writer's seem to do that. Because I do get that it's important for your readers to expect certain things when picking up one of your books. But I think alot of that can be just a writing style, too. For example, Meg Cabot writes a ton of different stuff. And she's had at least three different names, but I think all of them fit together. And when they repackaged them with her name, they did better. But in between the historical, MG, YA, and adult, there's a similar writing style that keeps reader's coming back.

C. K. Kelly Martin said...

I've been pondering this in regards to a possible future project too (although it's not like I'm anywhere close to being established so God knows what I'm worried about!!) and ultimately I think you have to do what keeps you happy artistically, go where the inspiration takes you.

So here's to trying something new! I'm sure you can rock in various genres and styles!