Does Branding Hurt?

Does branding hurt?  Nope, not when you’re talking about author branding  Brands are considered a good thing when it comes to identifying cattle and some other four-footed farm animals (though cows may not agree) and branding of another type is good for authors.

Why?  Because in the case of an author, branding means the special niche or type of writing or some other significant continuing quality that readers will find in the work of that author.   Want vampires, or women with peculiar life experiences?  Then think of  CHARLAINE HARRIS.   How about cozy mysteries featuring a sometimes bumbling but very caring ghost?  Try CAROLINE HART.  You all know about what to expect from Stephen King, or Kathy Reichs (“Bones”) or Nora Roberts.  Right?  If you enjoyed one book from these people, the assumption is that you’ll enjoy them all, and that often proves to be the case.

For canned goods or candy bars, motels or restaurants, shirts or shoes, branding of a good product helps build customers.  This is just as true when the product for you to buy and enjoy is written on paper or a screen.

For example:  If you want to learn about the Ozarks and what life is like here,  I suggest  I’m one brand for you to try.  (Learn more at Whether in fiction or non-fiction, all my writing is inspired by my love for the Ozarks area, its hills and hollows and forests, its people, its unique caves and geology and . . . . everything else Ozarkian.   You can trust the Ozarks you visit in my writing because extensive research spurred by the mentioned love and appreciation saturate the stories I write, the tales I tell.  And there’s plenty of material here for me, whether I’m writing about gardening or weaving a tale of mystery and adventure.

The history of the Ozarks,  its landscape and tourist attractions, offer fertile ground for mysteries to happen and, indeed, in many areas, real mysteries already have.  My non fiction writing reflects that, and, though the fiction IS fiction as far as most characters and the plot are concerned, you can rely on the locations to be about what you’ll find if you choose to visit them yourself.  (And, many people have after reading stories set there.)

Though I will never be wealthy, I am rich in happy experiences.  Though I will never visit far-away places I once dreamed of seeing, what’s better than discovering the wonderful tourist destinations near home?  And, after all, what’s better than daring to be me, doing what I enjoy, and sharing it with people who find they like the brand.


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6 Responses to “Does Branding Hurt?”

  1. Jacqueline Seewald Says:

    Establishing a brand isn’t easy. Should you use a different nom de plume for different kinds of books? Does that help or hurt?

    Jacqueline Seewald

    • radine Says:

      I think it depends on why and how you are branded. If, for example, I started a new series set in Arkansas, I’d stay with my name because it, too, has become a strong brand in the states where the largest number of my books are sold. Another thing helping my decision is that all my mystery novels (seven in the series) have “To Die For” in the title, and I would definitely have a very different type title for any new stand-alone or series. So my own feeling about this is a definite: “It depends.” If my publisher had an opinion about the author name, I would, of course, listen to them first.

      An example: Arkansas author Charlaine Harris has used her own name throughout her many different series. Since those novels vary widely in type, it’s her name that is now the major brand.

  2. jennymilch Says:

    Interesting thoughts, Radine. I would say you’ve done that very successfully in terms of carving out a niche. Now I’m wondering what might be mine (if any)…? Great post.

  3. radine Says:

    Well, Jenny, don’t forget I’ve been writing and publishing about the Ozarks since 1986. I’ve had time to “discover” my brand!

  4. M.E. Anders Says:

    Radine – Chipper Muse suggested your blog, and I was thrilled to check yours out. You’ve got some amazing resources for writers (like me). Now subscribing!

    I liked this post about the challenges of branding for us writers. Finding my own niche has been an evolution.

    • radine Says:

      Is it Mindi? (Lovely name.) We writers all love our profession–most of the time–or we wouldn’t be writing through all the ups and downs. It helps if we stick together, and share our questions and experiences as much as possible. Thank you for taking part in this friendly exchange.

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