Saturday, April 14, 2012

Brand Me

My publisher said one thing I could focus on was building my brand. This caught me by surprise because I wasn't aware I had one. Brands in my world are for things like soup, or cars. I'd like to think a writer is more like a car than soup. So I'm sitting here trying to figure out the branding thing.

And what I'm coming to realize is that branding really isn't completely about the writer.  It's really about the reader. When a reader encounters one of my stories, what can they expect?

Like most writers, I hope my writing is distinctive, that there's something about it that sets my stories apart from those of other writers. Maybe the kind of something that will bring them back looking for more. For example, I write a fairly deep kind of fantasy, with layers of world-building. Not all of my worlds are completely invented (I just wrote a story set in modern day Bolivia) but most are, and there is always a fantasy element involved. I'm enamored with the exotic, and want to take my readers on a journey into different worlds. My characters may be gay or straight, young or older, but they are going to connect sexually in ways that will be erotic, passionate, usually monogamous and occasionally disturbing.  I like happy endings, so hand them out liberally.

And that's me in a nutshell.  If you read one of my stories, that's what you get.  If I'm right.

But what if I'm wrong?  What if readers are coming to my stories for something else?  How would I know?

So I'm still figuring out the branding thing.  Maybe once I figure out what my brand actually is, I can figure out how to build it.  This blog is part of that process, so bear with me.  And if you have any insights, please share. I could use the help. In the meantime, I have stories to write!


  1. I absolutely agree with your description of how you write. I think one of the things that kept me coming back was the depth to your writing. There is always a layer (or 2 or 3) beneath what is actually happening. The descriptions you give us paint a picture and makes us feel that the place and the people are real. You give your stories such life... and it causes the reader to connect with them in a very profound way. You are very effective in weaving the love and passion into the sex scenes, and then weaving those scenes meaningfully into the rest of the story. I appreciate that there's always something more going on other than just sex. To me, the sex in the story is the icing on the cake-- not the cake itself. I want to see the drama and the story unfold... and see how the characters personal lives are affected by everything else going on (or how everything going on is influenced by their personal lives). The build-up between the characters is what makes ALL of the scenes so explosive!

    The last comment I wanted to make was about the settings themselves. The setting is as important as the characters or the plot of the story. And you do a wonderful (seriously... wonderful) job of paining a picture that shows us these wonderful worlds that you have created. With the exception of Moon Blood and Salt Flowers, the only stories I've read have been set in a fantasy world. But whether you're writing about a fictional setting or a real one, the level of description takes us to that place. And most of all, make us want to visit these places. Oh how I wish Uttor was a real place and I could see it just once, lol!

    Good luck figuring out you brand. I think you've got a pretty good handle on yourself as a writer! I just had to comment and let you know that I agree with your assessment :-)

    1. This the most commentary I've ever received about how my writing is viewed by a reader. Thank you! A writer can do all kinds of between the lines analysis of reader responses in order to figure out if something worked, but it's still guesswork. :) I can chew my lip raw worrying that readers won't "get" that Julissa simply isn't a cunning, smart-mouthed, kick-ass kind of girl, or that what Endre feels for Melkor is one part admiration and two parts raw sexual attraction, or that both characters behave consistently with their upbringing.

      And I love settings! They serve as an added character in my stories, the kind of character that's there in every scene, providing motive and mood, and supporting the stars of the show. Setting is the ultimate silent partner. :D

    2. Heh! I misnamed my own character! Endre loves Arshad!

  2. I agree with the above comment. I think I'd know your style just about anywhere, lol. The way you build worlds amazes me. And it comes across so well; your stories have such depth and feelings.

    I'd say you have a good idea what your brand is!


    1. Well, I definitely know what I'm trying to do with my writing... so it's sure good to hear that I'm succeeding! Dreamspinner suggests its authors write two contemporary romances to each "other" kind, but I'm not even sure I can write contemporary. I mean, of course I CAN write it, but it's completely different from who I actually am as a writer. Confusing. :/