Branding and rebranding

cc_red_pen_editA friend of mine recently decided to rebrand herself. She used to write dark young adult novels with flawed characters, under the pen name Emlyn Chand. She’s now decided to write under her real name, Melissa Storm, and to make the bold move to start this writing journey anew. She’ll write speculative fiction for women from now on, instead of the young adult novels and some of the more spicy romance she wrote in the past. She chronicles her journey on her brand new blog, and the posts are very inspiring.

Then another friend of mine wrote a post about rebranding as well. She’d published a novella last year, the first in a series, but went back on her decision for several reasons. First, she wanted to write contemporary romance under a pen name, since she was used to writing paranormal romance under her name. Secondly, she wanted to turn the novellas back into a novel, as it had been originally. Her publisher agreed – phew – and now she revealed the cover for her upcoming contemporary romance.

All of this got me thinking. At the moment, I write books for children and young adults, and I plan to keep doing that. My books are dark and gritty as well. Most of them are horror, or dark speculative fiction, and even my picture books feature vampires, mummies, witches, and so on.

But I don’t want to become stuck in an image. I want to write horror for adults. I want to write middle grade novels, hopefully also involving monsters of some kind. Several of my current works in progress novels are aimed at young adults. They’re urban fantasy, high fantasy, paranormal romance, horror, even contemporary romance.

We often associate names with genres. When I mention Stephen King, everyone will think “horror”. Heather Graham? Ghost stories. Stephanie Meyer? Young adult paranormal romance. And so on.

I understand the need for coming up with pen names. Some other friends of mine, who write different genres, have a pen name for each genre. But I’m not sure if that’s something I’m willing to do at some point. I don’t want my name to be associated with one genre. I don’t write one genre. I write a lot of different genres, and that’s who I am.

I’m sure not everyone reads one genre either, and that people might enjoy the different genres I write. So why try to make me into someone I’m not? As long as my books are properly classified and tagged, it should be no problem. I don’t want to come up with a pen name simply because I’m branching out.

And again, I understand why others do, and it might be a good choice for them. But it’s not something I plan to do.

What are your thoughts on author brands, and rebranding?

5 thoughts on “Branding and rebranding

    • Author gravatar

      I think there is a place for rebranding. Like when James Scott Bell wanted to start writing Zombie tales without hurting his clientele (christian fiction readers), he changed to a pen name. It’s smart to do that because you don’t want to offend your current reader base.

      Sometimes there might be a flowering of a writer, where they want to go from writing in their fake name (after having received positive feedback about their writing) to making it known to the world they are writing. Some writers might change genre, maybe because they are embarrassed by what they’d written in their younger POVs and want to start new, or they just want to try something new because they’ve found a newer, more refreshing inspiration.

      Every artist blossoms at a different pace and with a different comfort level. I say it’s okay not matter what your reason, so long as your passion moves you forward. 🙂

      • Author gravatar

        Hey Diane,

        That’s very insightful. And yeah, you do have a point. I agree that everyone has a different pace and comfort level, and ultimately, it’s up to every writer to decide for themselves. I don’t have anything against writers who make a choice to rebrand themselves, it’s their right to do. It’s just something I wouldn’t do, and I don’t want other writers to feel like they’re being forced to rebrand themselves simply because they want to write a new genre.

        I think it can work just as well to just start writing a new genre, without completely reinventing oneself.

        Thanks for your comment! 🙂

    • […] A friend of mine recently decided to rebrand herself. She used to write dark young adult novels with flawed characters, under the pen name Emlyn Chand. She's now decided to write under her real name, Melissa Storm, and to …  […]

    • Author gravatar

      I am with you!!!! I haven’t even put anything you yet, but I have been thinking that I don’t want people to associate me with one genre. I already have ideas for some genres that my current WIP is not in. And I want people to know that, yes, I wrote those things, too. I want people to love my writing, not the genre I write.
      This was a very interesting post. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      • Author gravatar

        Thanks! I’m so glad you found my post interesting, and to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way. You should always do what you think is best for you, and your writing. If you don’t want to be known for just writing one genre, then that’s okay. 🙂

        I wish you the best of luck with your writing!

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