Friday, April 24, 2009

My Turn

Yesterday, many of you mentioned your brand. Now, it’s my turn to share. When I first started writing novels, I worked on a YA romance series. I’d heard you need to write at least two books in a series before submitting to anyone so you can prove you’re not a “one-book-wonder”. I finished 1 ½ books of the series before I switched to something else. Those books were written during the years I taught grades 7 and 8. When I quit teaching and became a stay-at-home mom, I no longer felt I was in the YA groove. That’s when I decided to write what I read: romantic suspense.

I wrote two RS novels (first drafts) and plotted out several others. Unfortunately, I had compiled a combination of paranormal, light, and dark romantic suspense. I didn’t see a problem with this because they’re all romantic suspense, right? Not exactly. Apparently, editors and agents prefer you to select ONE of these and stick to it, at least for a little while.

How was I going to decide between all three when I loved them equally?

I turned on my computer and looked over my plot outlines only to discover the majority of the stories were light romantic suspense. Who knew? I was SURE most of my ideas were dark. Well, that solved that. I’m now reworking one of my light RS manuscripts because that’s my brand.

How did you discover your brand?


  1. I'm still floating. I've finished six or seven short manuscripts, but none of them has been something I'm drooling over. ;) I'm working on writing one million words, as was recommended to me by a teacher of writing, and most of my things tend to lean towards the YA/teen kind of stuff.

    I don't want to get more specific than that, however (at least not yet), because for me it's the character that makes the story--and that character may choose to go visit the times of Elizabeth I, to feel in love (or not!), etc.

    I'm happy to see that you've found that niche. It's always a relief, I'm sure, to know something for certain.

  2. I write commercial fiction with a literary bent and romantic comedy's. I think I've decided to use two different pen names and brand them each on their own. If both genre's genre's get published I'll create one webpage with info about both.

  3. it was easy for me. i write romantic suspense b/c i love it...but i write it in chick lit style...b/c that's my favorite! the therapy emphasis was a given, since that's my passion and my field. but being creative with how i portray these disorders is challenging. i want it to be real to the reader...really bring it home.

    i'm not sure i understand the different between light and dark romantic suspense. can you fill me in?

  4. Great question. I'm not sure I have mine yet. :-) So far just the basic cont. romance.

  5. LOL! My last WIP was a MG, and I was worried that it was too dark for that young audience....but no one (including the fifth grade test readers) thought the same!

  6. Jeannie,

    Dark RS is graphic. There are very clear details about murders, torture, rape, etc... You really get an idea of how sick the vilain is and what the victims go through. Allison Brennan has written some dark stories like that.

    Light RS may have a stalker or killer after the heroine/hero team, but you don't see the murders. There may be other victims and the police will say they were tortured or raped (whatever), but no real details are revealed. With Dark RS, you live the experience through either the killer's or the victim's eyes, not just a statement.

    I hope this helps.

    Lynnette Labelle

  7. I had to laugh about this. I'm a heavy fantasy girl, always have been and tried through five different books to do it. Didn't work. Wrote an MG literary, and it took like I guess that goes to show what I know.

    I just finished an MG Magical Realism, which has its appeal...and btw, thanks for visiting the AICW blog!

  8. I am sticking with memoir for now. It seems to be what I turn to most and what readers on my blog respond to the most.

  9. I think I've found my nitch within Historical Romance; I'm trying to narrow it down within that. I love what I write and I think that's the important thing.

  10. I came by my "brand" by way of ye ol' path of least resistance. It's closest to my real voice and also what I love to read and write. :)

  11. Love these last couple of posts. Sorry I haven't been able to comment (compy troubles.) My brand/genre? Fantasy. I love it and will until I die. =]

  12. hmmm...good post. provoked some questions for me, which is always a good thing ;) thanks for sharing your journey