Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What's Your Brand?

It’s back-to-school time. The moms’ among us are busy stocking backpacks, wondering over what to send for lunch, and developing carpal tunnel syndrome from signing all the forms. Back in the day I didn’t mind school, the socializing was great. Deciding what to wear occupied a lot of my time. And yes, I was one of those girls. A girly girl. I’ll never forget one report card comment from a gym teacher: ‘Doesn’t think it’s ladylike to work up a sweat.’ He obviously had no idea how long it took me to get ready in the morning. Another comment, different teacher: ‘Talks excessively in class.’ Who? Moi? Neither of these comments came as any great shock to my parents.

While I’m no longer a girly girl, just a regular gal, I still like to talk. Don’t you just love the Internet? Constant conversation. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, email and a myriad of other choices I not acquainted with yet. It’s that easy to reach out and touch someone. Human contact is still necessary to my sanity, but online social media opportunities allow me to make friends and maintain relationships with people too far away to visit in person.

Professionally speaking it offers up the opportunity to network with other writers, follow industry news, and get my name out there. Which naturally leads to branding. The concept is generating a lot of talk, even though the subject is nothing new. How important is brand and our expectations? Anyone remember the failed New Coke experiment from 1985 which lasted a whole 79 days?

People love to know what to expect, especially when they’ve paid for something. On Monday, Jana talked about the importance of writing the right blurb for your book. Readers want to know what kind of story they’re getting. On Tuesday, Hayley talked about the romance genre and the unfairness of stereotyping a whole genre. A large portion of romance readers have certain expectations and they can be summed up in three little words, Happy-Ever-After. A type of brand?

In the romance genre you have many subgenres. While all roads lead to Happily-Ever-After, the journey to forever takes many diverse and varied paths. Inspirational, historical, paranormal, suspense, erotic, and the list goes on. Nothing new there either. Different heat levels, sweet to spicy and everything in between the two.

Taken from the RWA site: R.R. Bowker’s Books In Print shows 7,311 new romance titles were published in the United States in 2008 (out of a total 275,232 new titles). Besides the obvious question of how to get published in the first place, the second next question becomes how to stand out and be noticed in a talented crowd.

Some say that process needs to begin before your book is actually published or even agented. And we circle around to branding again. As an unpublished writer, I prefer to think of it as a decided ‘presence’. My brand? Let’s just say it’s in the nurturing stages.

Here’s what I am doing. Besides blogging along side some of the loveliest ladies out there here at Prairie Chicks Write Romance, I’ve decided to start my own blog, which I’m very excited about. Starting today you can find me Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at On twitter I’m known as karyngood, beware I’m still figuring out the Twitterverse, but it’s fun. And Facebook as Karyn Good.

Question Number Three: Where can I find You?


Janet said...

As you said, with the volume of books published today (and growing by leaps and bounds due to e-publishing), a writer needs to figure out how to get her name out there even before she's published. It makes for lots of angst - and steep learning curves (still need to go figure out Twitter).

But, the storytelling is the important thing! And your brand will emerge the more you write, the more you discover your voice! You're doing a great job with both brand and voice, Karyn! And congrats on the new blog (already a follower). You're on your way, girl :)

Karyn Good said...

Hey Janet. It makes for lots of angst - and steep learning curves. And the need for strict time management rules because as you say the storytelling is the important thing.

But you can also enjoy the ride! Have fun figuring out twitter.

Joanne Brothwell said...

Way to go, Karyn. I can't wait to check out your blog posts over there now!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
Congrats on your new blog, and on launching yourself into Facebook and Twitter. Way to go!

As far as brands go, I'm all over the place. I've written 2 romantic suspenses, 1 romantic comedy (and working on a second), and 3 straight contemporary romances. One of my suspenses is set in WW2 and I'm working on a second story (not a suspense, more of a paranormal) set in the same era. One of my contemps has a paranormal or fairy tale element. I've published in both full-length and novella length. So I struggle with "Who am I as a writer?"

I haven't figured it all out yet. If you have any brainwaves, let me know!


Hayley E. Lavik said...

Congrats on the new blog, Karyn! It's a great step, and a perfect place to air your thoughts and talk as much as you please.

My online presence is all linked from my website: I actually find Twitter most useful for followers/interaction, etc, but it's all a very different form. I still love my blog for a space to mull over obscure topics or rant about things (in a level and productive manner, of course!)

Karyn Good said...

Thanks, Joanne!

Karyn Good said...

Hi Jana. I'm still figuring out twitter. I think Hayley and Kat need to give me another lesson!

I'm very much torn between to subgenres: romantic suspense and paranormal romance. But they're quite similiar when I think about it, aside from the fangs and fur. And I've been paying very close attention to Hayley's world-building posts. There will be paranormal stories coming, no doubt about it. It's too fun not to try.

Thanks for reminder it's possible to successfully write great stories in a variety of genres and lengths!

Karyn Good said...

Thanks, Hayley. I'm still figuring out hashtags and the like, but some far twitter's been a fun experience.

I love to talk! So I should be good to go. Blogging here has been a great way for me to begin to learn the craft of writing. And there's still so much more to learn...