A Current Endeavor – I Smell Burnt Flesh

July 25, 2013 at 10:56 pm (writing) (, , , , , , , )

Branding – you hear a lot of talk about it in writer circles nowadays. Of course, they are talking about a means of marketing your work and not burning a permanent insignia into your skin, but I often think I’d be better off scorching myself with a red-hot iron symbol (*sizzle*).

“Why?” you may ask.

Well, the main points I’ve garnered from discussions surrounding branding is that:

a) You must show focus, which means sticking to one genre and displaying your particular style and writing strengths in only that genre. This is so that people develop a specific impression of “you” in their mind and have certain expectations regarding your writing so they’ll read future works as well, and…

b)That whatever that brand is based on it has to be authentic, genuine and true to you. Otherwise people might see right through you as a fake, or it’ll come back to bite you in the butt later when those initially fooled eventually catch on.

Well, I have a problem with this combination of things. The first conflict comes from the ideas of “focus” and “being true to you”. I am now and have always been a dabbler. I have great difficulty focussing on one thing, because the world is too big and interesting, and life is too short, to sample only a minute portion of the experiences out there, in my not-so-humble opinion. So if I were to say…stick to one and only one genre, I would be doing something totally out of character for me and definitely not genuine. You can see how I might have a problem here.

Now, you’ll get people saying “if you write in different genres, you should use pseudonyms for the genres other than your primary, at least until you are well-established.” Well-established, I’m assuming, as in Stephen King and J.K.Rowling well-established. Yeah – I’m not banking on ever getting there.

Well, I don’t like the idea of having to write under a dozen plus pseudonyms, which is what I would have to do. And then there’s the issue of what I would define as my primary genre. Some might say horror, but I don’t have a horror novel published to date, just short stories. Some might say fantasy. Only two of my novels published to date are standard fantasy and almost no short stories in this genre. And then there the cross-genre books, which happen to be the majority of my novels. They aren’t easily categorized, by either genre or age group in some cases.

So based on the talk out there, if I am to brand myself, I have to focus my work, avoid cross-genre pieces (at least until I’m “well-established”) and in the process box myself in to some neat and tidy package – all while being authentic?

Not going to happen.

It’s not just a matter of I won’t do it; I can’t do it – not if I’m supposed to be true to myself.

I guess that makes me a marketing nightmare. What else is new?

Now where’s that branding iron?

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