Branding and rebranding
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 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?