Copyright Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved
Google. Pepsi. Stephen King. What do all these have in common? A strong brand. As
a romance writer, you need to consider establishing your own brand.
The romance industry is a big, big pond and most of us are just little
fishies in that pond. So how do you ensure that you stand out from the crowd?
Branding is the platform upon which you build your marketing and promoting
efforts. It clearly identifies what you want to be known for. Essentially, your goal is build a sense of
trust with your readership. When they see your name, they know what they are getting. For example, romance
author Pat Ballard has dubbed herself “The Queen of Rubenesque Romances”. Is she the only writer writing BBW
romance? No. In fact, I do too. But she made this her brand. It makes her stand out from the rest of us in
To build a brand, you need to begin by asking what it is you want to be
known for. Be clear. Be consistent, and above all, be authentic. You see Stephen King’s name, and you know
what to expect in his books…a good scare; Patricia Cornwell…a good forensic thriller; Johanna Lindsey?...sexy
That’s not to say that you can’t evolve as a writer over time. Many writers
these days write across genres, particularly those with indie small presses. Not to worry. If the core of
your brand remains consistent, if you stick to your values, the readers will follow
I write romantic fiction with full-figured heroines.
That’s my brand. A reader knows that when they pick up one of my books, that’s what they’ll find. But lately
I’ve been branching out into including paranormal elements in my stories. What I chose to do is to have a
different publisher for these stories. But at the core of all my stories are three things—full-figured
heroines, romance, and positive messages of size acceptance.
Your name is your brand. Your books are your product. So you need to make
sure that your marketing and promoting materials reflect your brand. Is your website easy to navigate and
professional in appearance? Does it clearly project your brand? Do you have a logo or banner associated with
your brand? Is your author picture professional looking? Is your message consistent with your brand? If you
have a blog, is it reflective of your brand? Remember, first impressions are
Once you have a brand established, it is simply a matter of getting the
word out. You start with a visible presence on the web—your author website. Most authors now have a blog or
two, and/or a forum where they can meet with readers and promote their work. A fan newsletter will become
essential, for keeping connected with your readers. Perhaps a free e-serial so your readers have something to
read in between releases of books. Make appearances on radio talk shows, local tv, online magazines and
forums. Stephen King became STEPHEN KING, by being visible, prolific, as well as a master in his genre—and by
always sticking by his brand.
Once you figure out what makes you unique as a romance author, and once you
have established your brand, you are well on the way to standing out as an exotic fish in this big, big pond
that is the romance industry.
About the Author: Judy Bagshaw has been published since
2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include 4 novels, 1 collection of
short stories, and short stories in three anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading
Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time
from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website: www.judybagshaw.com