Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What’s my brand?

I’ve been thinking a lot about promo lately and inevitably the question of branding comes up.

Since I just had a story released from Ellora’s Cave in March, one of their jewel-themed Quickies, titled CHARMING THE MASTERS, I’ve been trying to promote it in a sort of low key way. In case the title doesn’t give it away, the story has elements of both BDSM and ménage.

One of the things I get asked pretty often is why I write in so many different genres. As of now, I’ve written historicals, contemporary, other-world set fantasy, urban fantasy, and even a futuristic as well as books with BDSM and ménage. I don’t have a good answer. It’s certainly not a great way to advance my career, since everyone says marketing yourself is all about branding these days.

I’ve never heard that “eclectic” makes a good author brand. I’d like to think my brand is “Katherine Kingston,” that my name is all that’s needed. I honestly think that’s a better brand for an author than some tagline, like “Hot, sensual romances.” Most taglines seem sort of bland and don’t actually say anything important about the author’s work.

But most authors with strong name recognition are known for a particular type of book even though Christine Feehan has branched out into writing more than Carpathian vampire books, Janet Evanovich does more than humorous mysteries and a number of authors who built their reputations on historical romances moved to contemporary when the historical market stumbled.

But when you talk about Tom Clancy or Dan Brown or Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Iris Johanssen or Lora Leigh, you get an immediate image or word tag for the kinds of books they write. And fans flock to them because they know they’re writing the kinds of stories they want to read.

So what do I want “Katherine Kingston” to stand for? Right now, if anyone does recognize the name, they undoubtedly associate it with erotic romance and Ellora’s Cave. Since most of my books have some elements of BDSM, that probably comes to mind, too.

What I’d like for them to think about, though is something deeper. I’d like people to get a strong image of an emotionally involving story, with interesting characters you can learn to care about and root for. I’d like people to think of a Katherine Kingston book as not just an erotic romance, but a gripping STORY as well. A story where the eroticism means something because it brings to life and to the surface deep conflicts within the characters and helps guide them on the path to growth and healing.

Can that really work as a way to brand yourself?

-- Katherine Kingston


Mechele Armstrong said...

Hmm you know, that's a good question. It seems to work well for some authors.

N.J.Walters said...

I've spent many hours pondering that same question, Katherine.

I've toyed with several taglines, but like you, I hope that my name will become synonymous with an emotional, sensual and satisfying read.

LOL Can you tell. That's my latest tagline. :-)