Can your fave author step outside the brand? Or must he walk the plank?

Ah yes. Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s a Small World. The Tiki Room! All parts of the Disneyland experience, rides that visitors flock to time after time because they know what they’re going to get. It puts me in mind of “author branding.” Have you heard the term? Authors and publishers lock into a particular genre and off they go, their whole career built around that particular type of product. Debbie Macomber? You know you’re going to get a sweet romance. Terry Pratchett? He’s going to deliver a fantasy with some humorous elements. Publishers dig branding because it makes it easier to market the author. “Authors become brands if they write a certain kind of book. They build up brand loyalty – you know what you’re going to get when you read one of their books. By the nature of their craft you won’t get something wildly different,” blogs Edwin Coyler.
So that’s nifty, right? But what happens when the author wants to try something new? Hmmm. There lies the dicey part. When Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series gets a bit predictable, she has a go at a paranormal “Wicked” series. Will fans embrace it with the passion they did her raft of Plum novels? When John Grisham pens a gorgeous fiction novel entitled The Painted House do his legal thriller fans show him the love? How did Christ the Lord go over with fans of Anne Rice, the vampire writer and World Horror Convention Grandmaster?


8 responses to this post.

  1. I think that authors definitely should branch out. I’m thinking particularly of Piers Anthony, who’s written a whack-tonne of books in a variety of genres. I’ve tried three of his series, and while I do prefer his fantasy books over his sci-fi, that doesn’t mean he can’t write sci-fi. He’s an excellent writer, no matter what genre he tackles. I wish more authors were like that, instead of being one-trick-ponies ala EL James.



  2. Posted by Ellen on January 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I’m only one person but I don’t see why an author can’t write several types of stories. I can’t think of an author who I’ve read that has done that but then I’ve only been awake for 20 minutes.



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