Purple Prose + Novel

Discovering Your Author Brand

©Stina Lindenblatt

There’s a lot of talk on the blogs about author branding, but is branding really necessary when you’re unpublished? According to agent Sarah LaPolla: Just focus on writing your books. I guess my "branding" advice in a more general sense is to publish within the same genre and age group for at least 3 books. That's a smaller way to create a "brand." If you write three YA thrillers, that’s your brand. If you write edgy YA novels in verse (like Ellen Hopkins), that’s your brand. If you write a YA contemporary, a YA paranormal, and a YA dystopian, you don’t have a brand unless there is a common denominator between them.

One way to figure out the common denominator is pin down what specially calls to you in the books you love. Step two is write what you know. For example, as many of you know, I struggled with being a cutter when I was in my early twenties. I also participated in some other risky behaviors to try to cope with the emotional pain. No one knew I was struggling. On the outside I was a normal girl who studied hard at university, worked part time in two fitness centers (which were major training facilities for high calibre athletes), spent time in Finland, and had lots of friends. Sounds great, huh? It was, but on the inside I was still broken.

Now flash forward. What books do I love to read? YA novels like those by Ellen Hopkins (Impulse, Perfect), Sarah Fine (Sanctum), Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits). These books start out with broken characters who heal as the story progresses. Plus, these books all have romance in them. These are the types of stories I love to write. Why? Because I write what I know and I write what calls to me. This is my author brand. I’m writing in several different genres (YA contemporary, YA horror, YA suspense), but all three have the same thing in common. No, I’m not published yet, but knowing what types of stories and characters I love to write about, guides me when I start a new WIP. Yes, I could write something completely different, but I don’t.

What about you? Have you discovered your author brand yet? Or are you still figuring out the types of stories you love to read and write the most?

For more information on YA author branding, the YARWA (YA chapter of the Romance Writers of America) is offering an online workshop September 10-20th. Check their website for more info.

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Discovering Your Author Brand + Novel