Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cheap clothes, ketchup, and near-naked women...

What do the three things in the title of this post have in common? Nothing. Until you Brand them.

Wal-Mart. Heinz. Lady Gaga.

That is what I'm mulling today. What is my brand? How do I distinguish myself from dozens and dozens of romance authors? Do I don a meat dress, or post pictures of myself writing in bra and panties? That might work for LG, but not for me--at least not without a few thousand hours of kick-boxing and months of sugar deprivation, a special kind of pain I'm not prepared to endure. It's not me. And that's the key.

As much as a Brand is a marketing tool, it must be authentic--and the product must stand up (without the aid of gel-inserts). Heinz would not be a world-wide favorite ketchup if it tasted like sour milk. Wal-Mart stores would not proliferate if they did not live up to their low-price promise. And Nora Roberts would not be, well, Nora Roberts, if she wrote like Edward Bulwer-Lytton. And I would not be me, if I tried to be funny like Tawna Fenske, or horrific like Stephen King.

I write historical romance, from the heart for the heart. Stories about family. Drama. Angst. Love. Hurt. Forgiveness. Triumph and tears. Stories of history and tradition; redemption and salvation. A cross between Debbie Macomber and Linda Lael Miller. A MacMiller if you will. As Trace Adkins sings, they're stories about me. Not literally. But in essence.

I've survived heartaches, divorce, and every day I am thankful for a second-chance at love. I know the discomforts and joys of pregnancy, childbirth, and the ongoing trauma and hilarity in being a mother. I enjoy being a wife. Love loving my husband. Am thankful for the knotty roots and wild shoots of my twisted ancestry that keeps me grounded. So I write what I know, and what I know is that families are complicated, troubling, and amazing beasts; affectionate, aloof, androgynous, apoplectic; nepotistic animals capable of unforgivable deeds and unfathomable heroism. Fragile. Formidable. Family.

That is what I write. But what is my brand? From the heart, for the heart? Triumph and tears? Knotty roots and wild shoots? Fragile, formidable; family? Hmm.

If you had to Brand yourself, how would you do it? Words? Costume? Behavior? How do you want others to remember you, or your product?

Please share in the comments. And if you have an idea for my Brand, I'd love to hear it!


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