Kicking off our week of fantabulous guest posts is Sarah Wedgbrow, my crit partner and friend. We met through a local writing group and, being the loudest and most opinionated of the bunch, quickly banded together. We’re both always right, even when we disagree, so watch out!
Please give Sarah a warm welcome, and remember: most thoughtful comment of the week gets a prize! (I don’t know what yet, but I promise it won’t suck.)
There’s a lot of talk out there in the blogosphere about branding, platforms, etc. I recently read an excellent post by Wordbird about the topic. Madeleine points out that it’s very important that the book you’re writing is the one you want to make as your career—otherwise you could be branded for life.
This is problematic for me. I still don’t know which direction I’d like my writing career to go at this point (other than in the money-making kind). I still consider myself an apprentice and while I am writing a YA paranormal story (ghosts, not vampires), I don’t know if in ten years time I will want to be in the same place. I would still like to experiment some more with dystopian, contemporary, fantasy, middle grade and literary. If I am to write within these genres, will my only option be to adopt several different pen names?
There is also the possibility that the need for genres will fall to the wayside as e-readers and e-books become more and more popular. Without booksellers needing to know where to shelve a book, genres may become more blurred. Still, I would think that a consumer is the deciding factor on this one. When browsing online for books, you would still need categories and ways of organizing titles. I guess it just wouldn’t limit the amount of books being “bought and shelved,” which is a good thing for us writers.
Todd Newton’s post about Lady Gaga’s platform pointed out that even if you don’t like her music or her style, everyone knows what is “Gaga” and what isn’t. Just the other day, Scott Mills, a BBC radio one DJ mentioned how he’d like to change up OMG to OMLG (oh my lady gaga). It just proves how strong her platform is and how recognizable she is as an “artist.”
At this stage in the game, for me, the most important thing I have to worry about is writing. Sounds like such a nice problem to have compared to the mania that surrounds the publishing world. Call me silly, but I still want it—the book being published, the book tour, the book readings, catching a glimpse of my book in the book store or a trailer of my book online. One bit of relief is that at the heart of my stories is my own very special brand of humor. I may not be able to bottle it and sell it, but it certainly keeps me sane and keeps me enjoying this crazy career choice.