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.