Charli’s talking about branding again: Careers, branding, labels. It’s a great post, but it also makes me want to crawl under my desk with a blanket, a bag of Doritos and several Dunkin Donuts iced coffees.
This is one of those “I’d rather talk about jock itch” discussions for me. I know about branding. Trust me, you don’t target Harlequin/Silhouette for years without learning about branding.
As a reader, I appreciate branding. I know if I grab up the next Lisa Gardner book and it’s a zany comedy about two misfits being thrown together by their matchmaking Italian grandmothers, I’m going to be pretty damn shocked. (But then the writer in me says “You know what? Maybe she doesn’t want to write about dead people all the time. Maybe she wants to write a comedy with a cat who’s really the hero’s reincarnated mother. And why am I, as a reader, trying to keep her in a box?”)
Anyway. Thank you for flying Tangent Air…
So Twice Upon A Roadtrip is an erotic romantic comedy. A pretty nutty comedy, too, with Joe Jackson, a skunk and a narcoleptic sheriff all having walk-on roles.
Forever Again is not an erotic romantic comedy. It’s a traditional romance with a highly emotional premise.
72 Hours is an edgy, clock-ticking romantic suspense. I’d call it steamy, with a few tension-breaking funny moments, but not a comedy.
Do I know how to blow off an important aspect of career planning or what?
— Branding builds a loyal readership and makes a promise to the reader which will bring her back time and again.
— Diversity is good. You grow your readership and have a reduced chance of burnout.
As far as my first release being an erotic romantic comedy and my second being a traditional romance, I’m hoping the blurbs, excerpts, and most especially the cover art convey the difference. It was very important to me that the cover for Forever Again be light years from erotic, and I think the cover artist did one hell of a job. But it’s something I worry about. A lot. (Just ask the poor Breakfast Bitches.)
As far as branding? Who knows. When I look at the schedule of books I’ll be writing in the near future, branding didn’t come into it, other than the books I submit to Samhain Publishing and the books I submit to Ellora’s Cave will be distinctly different.
Other than that, all I can say is me. Whatever it is that I bring to a story is in all three of those books, whether my heroine is being frisked, crying herself to sleep, or dodging bullets.
And since Roadtrip has received wonderful reviews and neither of my editors have stopped returning my emails, I’ll just keep wading through the chaos that seems to be the Shannon Stacey brand.