05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Author as a Brand

Writing in different genre's may be fun for authors. After all, many of us have tons of stories bubbling inside us that we're dying to share. That's why we have to write. But I was a reader long before I became a writer. And as a reader, the I find the author's name links together with their genre as part of their brand.
  • Say Steven King and I shiver.
  • Hand me a Tess Gerritson and I settle in my chair for a deep, deliberate police procedural.
  • Julia Quinn is a name that evokes fun in a Regency setting.
  • Frederick Pohl is a synonym for thrilling Sci Fi (I can't help adding him, I was at a presentation with this legend this weekend and meeting this hero from my childhood was a high point)
I know that a lot of authors successfully write in multiple genres. But for this reader, I usually end up preferring an author more in one genre than in others they may write in. The author's name is part of the promise they make to me about what I will find inside the covers or on the eReader screen, just like the cover art and title. I don't get hungry for any old style of book, I get a yen for specific reads on different days and go for an author whose brand fits that need. In a way it's like food. Most fast food chains sell burgers, but when I'm in the mood for a Slider I don't go to the Golden Arches.

My vote is that an author establish a brand by sticking to a genre. Set things up so I know what I'm getting when I search for one of your books. If I'm looking for more than just a "good book," if I want a specific read, the kind of thrill you handed me last time, and this time you hand me something else, it could be a long time before I try that author again in either genre

Now you tell me

Please take a minute to give your thoughts.
I know other's look at things different. Tell me how you pick out your books? Is the genre more important, or the author?  Does branding even matter?

Hit the comment button and let me know how you feel.

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Judith Ashley said...

Author is a major attraction but I also make an effort to read debut authors so it doesn't hold 100% true. I do read Historicals with various genres blended in (could be a mystery, a bit of suspense, more women's fiction, perhaps comedy).

I do agree that if I want a certain kind of 'read' I have my 'go to' authors and if they move to another genre and I can't tell it by the cover or title (because I don't always read the blurb if she is one of my favorites) then after a page or two it goes into my resell pile.

There are just some genres I don't want to spend my time isn't about the quality of the writing, it's strictly about the subject matter.

So there are some authors who have changed genres and I no longer buy them or read them.

Thanks, B.A. for pointing out another side to genre-blending or genre-hopping.

Courtney L said...

Though I'm always on the lookout for new authors to love, I tend to buy authors I know. Branding has a lot to do with how I choose my reading. I've noticed that some authors, as they progress in their careers, stray from the tendencies they once followed in their earlier work. Sometimes I stay with them through the changes, but more often than not I start looking for books that line up with my preferences.
Great, thoughtful blog today!

Paty Jager said...

I start with authors I know, go to genres I like to read, and ultimately pick out a book based on the blurb and if it's the kind of read I'm looking for.

Donna Hatch said...

I, too, usually get hungry for a particular author but sometimes I will often go for genre and browse, looking for a familiar name. If that doesn't happen, then I look at cover, blurb and finally excerpt. If I find a new author that I just love, I'll start tracking down everything he/she writes with an expectation that it will be similar to what they've written before.

Sarah Raplee said...

I look for authors I love or browse for a certain type of read, or just for something that grabs me with title, cover, and/or blurb. I often read first paragraphs to decide between two promising-seeming books.

If I've read a positive review, that may influence my decision.

I remember as a teen finding a book in the library written by my favorite author that I had somehow missed. The book was shelved in general fiction, not fantasy, which I thought was a mistake.

When the book turned out to be a straight historical, no fantasy elements, I was SOOO disappointed. The author had used a different pen name for her children's books, so I expected anything with her fantasy brand name to be fantasy.