Today is the day we say our final goodbye to my dad. I appreciate all the love and support you have shown and covet your continued prayers for me and my family as we continue to navigate these weeks after the hurricane and his death.
Today's guest is no stranger to our blog, so please welcome Jacqueline Seewald back to share some words with us on branding. Take it away, Jacqueline!
A Question of Branding
Should authors use their real names on their writing or should they use pseudonyms? Is branding a help or hindrance to writers? There’s been a lot of discussion among writers as to whether it benefits authors to be branded--by that I mean that writers want to market themselves by promoting their name, associating their name with a particular type, genre or style of writing. The premise? This is the best way to build a readership. For instance, when we see the name Nora Roberts we immediately think of romantic suspense. “Nora Roberts,” real name Eleanor Marie Robertson, also writes under “J.D. Robb” for her mystery series. The name Stephen King is immediately associated with horror, but he has chosen to write under other pseudonyms as well. Jayne Ann Krentz writes her contemporary romances under that name, her sci-fi/fantasy under Jayne Castle, and her historical romances under Amanda Quick. The advantage is that fans know what to expect.
Many writers choose to use pen names. They write in a variety of genres and assume a different nom de plume for each. The theory is that it will confuse readers if writers use the same name for different types of work. There is also a tendency for publishers to try to place writers in neat categories. It’s more convenient to connect a name to a particular format. Harlequin was famous for insisting that writers have romantic sounding nom de plumes.
But what if you resist branding? Are you destroying your chance to be taken seriously as a writer or build a readership? I don’t have the answer to this question. I can only admit that I don’t limit myself to one particular format in my writing. My books are not “in the box.”
As of now, twenty of my books are published by a variety of publishers, some large, some small. I have written romantic suspense, mysteries, historical romances, YA mysteries and romances, as well as children’s books and stories. All of these appear under my own name.
However, there is an exception. When I write short stories from a masculine viewpoint, I use my initials. My novella THE BURNING also appears under “J. P. Seewald” for that reason. A lot of female writers do this because men seem to prefer reading stories and novels ostensibly written by other men, especially when presented from a masculine viewpoint.
Likewise, there are a number of male authors who write women’s fiction/romances as well as mysteries under female pseudonyms.
I hope you will consider reading my writing. My most current novels are:
BLOOD FAMILY (Kim Reynolds mystery #5 published by Encircle)
HIGHLAND HEART (historical romance published by Luminosity) now available
What is your opinion? Does branding by name recognition benefit writers or is it not really that important to you as a reader? Your thoughts and comments are welcome.