I’m a box of chocolates!

One of the little known aspects of writing in called author branding.  This is when the author is known for a particular type of writing.  For instance, if you hear the name “Zane Grey”, you think Westerns.  Robert Heinlein…science fiction.  Marilyn Pappano…romance.  This is genre branding, where the author is known for writing a particular genre.  In some cases, authors can brand themselves by different psuedonyms.  Jayne Ann Krentz writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense while her alternate identies write historical suspense (Amanda Quick) and paranormal suspense (Jayne Castle)

Author branding, though, is more precise.  For instance, Marilyn’s “brand” is heart-warming romance while her counterpart, Rachel Butler, would carry the brand of heart-pounding suspense.   When you pick up a Janet Evanovich book, you know you’re in for a wild ride with crazy characters,  Laurell K. Hamilton writes erotic vampire books while Charlene Harris is known for the Southern Vampire series.

For the past few years, I’ve been trying to determine what is my brand.  My first four published books are contemporaries, though I’m not sure what “brand” they put on me.  I also write SF short stories and those I can identify with a brand.  I could be called a “Twilight Zone” type writer because I love a twist at the end.  I do know that since the very beginning people have said to write what you read.  Well, I read everything.  Romance, SF, fantasy, historical novels, biographies, and cereal boxes.  In fact, I’ve often bragged that I’m a “shot-gun” reader, so I accept that when it comes to genre, I’m a “shot-gun” writer.  But what is my brand?

After re-watching the movie FORREST GUMP, I realized that I’m a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’ll get when you buy a Jackie Kramer book.  It may be humorous or sad or twisted or fun, but hopefully, it’ll always be worth the time and money you put into it.

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7 thoughts on “I’m a box of chocolates!

  1. Jackie,

    I like the ‘box of chocolates’ analogy. And like you, I read all kinds of stuff. I’m not sure you have to be branded by what you write. I think readers will cross genre for you, if you’re a good readable writer. spw

  2. I think box of chocolates is perfect for you. There may be some surprises along the way, but in the end, it’s all good.

    I took an author branding class online one time — back when some small part of my functioning brain still thought self-promotion MIGHT not be a form of torture — but I was such a brainless clod. “Answer five questions about you and your writing.” “Duh . . . {whining} No one said there would be questions!”

    Someone handed me a brand a while back: Marilyn’s warm and fuzzy romance, and Rach is warm, fuzzy and will kick your ass. Works for me. 😉

  3. Jackie,
    I like books that have a twist at the end; the twilight zone series really used to scar me. I believe some of them gave me nightmares. I remember seeing the one with the airplane grimlin when I was eleven. My bother and I got so scared we had to sleep with my grandmother for two weeks after we saw it. After two weeks she got tired of being crowded in her bed and made us sleep in our own beds. She did let us have a night light though.

    Claude Mary

  4. CM–My favorite TZ is the one where the mute farmwife is terrorized by the tiny spaceship. You spend the entire show cheering for her and in the end, discover that the ship she finally defeats is from Earth. Loved that one!

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