Hi! I’m Gem Sivad and I’d like to say I write whatever I want to write and don’t worry about defining my work. But the truth is, if I don’t give myself some kind of tag or identity, potential readers might never find me. If you are at the beginning of your writing career thinking in advance about how you want your writing to evolve, here are two things to consider.
- Do you want to write in one particular genre?
- Do you have a heat level that you’ve decided you always want to write up or down to?
- Genre selection. The first layer and simplest form of branding is the identifying label you include with your manuscript when you submit it. Once your book is contracted, the publisher tweaks the genre tag to fit the appropriate line guiding the title into an established pool of readers who read that genre.
- But do you want to write a second book in that genre? If you do, then you’ve effectively begun branding yourself as a (fill in the blank—historical, western, ménage, contemporary, paranormal, science fiction, urban fantasy, male/male, BDSM etc.) niche author.
- What if you switch genres in your second book? Then you’re meeting an entirely new pool of readers who follow the new genre. The plus aspect of this is the chance to widen your reader base, hoping that you will pull first book readers to the second book. The negative aspect is that it frequently doesn’t work for an unknown author and you’ve risked losing the first set of readers in your attempt to expand.
- Hot or Not? There is a second type of branding that also affects readers. The level of heat you include and the degree of sexual explicitness you write defines you as either an Erotic or PG author.
- Readers have individual comfort zones for reading sexuality. If you’ve published erotic material and developed a following, your fans have a reasonable expectation that they’ll find that same heat level in the next book of yours, regardless of genre. The reverse is also true. If you wrote a PG western in the first book and write an erotic western in the second book, prepare to lose some of your followers because you’ve shocked some of them speechless.
- Can you hear me now? The third level and ultimately (imo) the most important part of branding is your author voice. When you’ve found that magic ingredient that makes your writing style unique, returning readers start looking for YOUR work not a particular genre, because they like the way you tell your stories. J
Call Me Miz, my most recent title, is available now at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon. Genre? I’ve fondly labeled it PERR— Paranormal Erotic Rural Romance. What to expect? A drool-worthy shape-shifting hero, a kick-ass heroine who heals with her touch and my usual gritty story- telling style that includes the temperature turned up to High! J