Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Branding Anyone?

I've been wondering about this branding concept for writers for quite some time.

According to The American Marketing Association (AMA), a brand is a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers."

With respect to writer's branding, a couple of examples that have stuck in my mind are:

Karen Kingsbury: "Life-Changing Fiction"

Brandilyn Collins: "Seatbelt Suspense"

The idea is to have your brand become almost synonymous with your author name. When I see "life-changing fiction" I automatically think of Karen Kingsbury, and I know her stories are true to her brand. Each story I've read of Karen's is definitely Life-Changing for me. Her stories make me ask myself tough questions. They make me seek a closer walk with God. I know never to pick up one of Karen's books if I want a simple no-brainer summer read, because I'll not get that from any of her stories, period. Karen Kingsbury knows that God has called her to write "Life-Changing Fiction" and she obeys, never failing.

So, have you defined your brand of writing?

I think doing so could be incredibly helpful in keeping your focus when crafting your stories. If we know what we're striving to achieve with our novels, then we can quickly eliminate or alter scenes, chapters, ideas, to fit the requirements we feel God has set on us.

What is it that you feel God is asking you to focus on? What type of stories do you write while seeking God's constant council? Is God using your writing to bring a smile to your reader's face? A series of belly-rolling laughter? Is He guiding you to write tear instigators? Scare your reader straight to the facilities? Stress-releasing stories? No-brainers for your audience to just relax to after long hours at work?

I'm writing my fourth novel now, and I think I'm finally seeing what is common in all of them. The genre part is easy, as I'm sure it is for most of us. Mine is romance. For some it might be Women's Lit, Historical, Suspense, Science Fiction, and then you can get into the whole subgenre aspect. For me, my stories would fall under Inspirational Christian Romances. But for branding, I came up with...

Faithful Romances Worth Pondering
What do you all think?

I'd like to hear what you'd expect from a story that is labelled a Faithful Romance Worth Pondering.

Perhaps I'll have to go back to the drawing board if you don't come up with what I'm expecting. This could be a good exercise for all of us. So, if you have an idea for your own brand, feel free to share it in the comments and hopefully we can comment on each others to see if our brands our really depicting what we want them to. Share away, and let's get some branding underway.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."
Galatians 6:2-5

Surrendering to Him,



Jessica said...

Woohoo! Eileen, you've really pinpointed the importance of branding from the perspective of pleasing God. I hadn't thought about that. In fact, I've been avoiding the issue of branding. *sheepish grin*
Yours sounds great. :-) I don't know what mine will be. Speaking of patterns, it does seem that my stories always have to do with forgiveness. So we'll see...

Terri Tiffany said...

I have tried to do my brand by my blog title Writing stories that leave a fingerprint on the heart. I want my writing to touch people deeply and leave then changed somehow.
When I read your brand, it makes me think it will be more than the romance and that makes me wonder and expect more--which is good!

Jody Hedlund said...

Faithful Romance Worth Pondering.

Hmm. I think perhaps you are a Christian writer (the Faithful) depicting love stories (the Romance) that involve faith (the Faithful), and that you give your readers a truth to think about with each book (the Worth Pondering).

So, how'd I do? :)

You have really made me rethink the "branding" aspect of our writing. I've struggled with how to classify what I write. But you're right: if we know our brand, it will help us keep our writing more focused.

I'll be thinking about it today! And if I come up with anything, I'll report back to you! Pray that God will give me some good insights!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Hey, Jessica. I don't know why but Redemptive Romances came to mind when you said yours so far all include forgiveness. Not sure why, but thought I'd let you know.

I guess in essence forgiveness is redeeming, too.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Terri, I really like yours: "Writing stories that leave a fingerprint on the heart." Definitely tells us that we'll be touched by your stories.

I must apologize, I think I called you by your last name in the comment I left in your post. I've had my kids home sick with sore throats yesterday and today, so I'm squeezing in blogs and having absolutely no time with writing these past two days. Sorry for my flub!!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jody, I'm praying as I nurse my baby back to health.

You got it. I also considered that Faithful would have a double meaning. The Christian Faith thread that I try to make predominant in my stories and also that I faithfully end my romances with the HEA (Happily Ever After).

T. Anne said...

I write in two different genres so I guess I have a lot to consider. I've never thought of branding outside of pen names before, thanx for the food for thought!

Jessica said...

Ooh, redemptive romance? I LOVE IT!!!! Seriously.
Thanks for doing my homework for me. LOL

Eileen Astels Watson said...

T. Anne: I'm curious. What two genres do you write? Do you have a different pen name for each? Is there something common in all your stories?

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Hey, Jessica, I think I do better with others homework than my own. Glad I could help!

Jeannie Campbell said...

hi eileen! i'm new to your blog, but not new to this idea of branding. i've been working hard at my own brand...Where Romance Meets Therapy. I'm a therapist, and i've always felt like I wanted to bring some of these disorders people suffer with home in christian fiction. thanks for the post!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, Jeannie, I'm glad you stopped by. I really like Where Romance Meets Therapy. Definitely has a healing power to it! Can't wait to read one of your books.