November 30th, 2005
Last Night’s RWA meeting

I went to my local RWA meeting last night. It was the first one I’ve been to in a long time. (I needed a break from the organization.) It was nice to see everyone.

Vicki Lewis Thompson was the main speaker. She talked about the difference between category and single title. She said the lines are blurring big time when it comes to content. I think we knew that, if you’ve bothered to listen to what editors are asking for now. She also talked about how easy it is to become homogenized while writing category. I understood exactly what she was talking about, but needless to say, this concerned me. She also spoke about the pace you have to keep while writing category, if you want to have a career.

Okay, I’ll admit that she scared me a bit. I see Jo’s and Alison’s writing schedule on their blogs and I find it daunting. I’m not sure if I could keep up at that level and I’d absolutely have to if I want to build a career at HQ.

Vicki also discussed a bit about branding. She’s doing a talk at another chapter next year, specifically on branding. I’d be interested in hearing that since she said that her ‘Nerd’ brand was an accident. She wants people to learn from her mistakes.

Which I suppose brings the conversation back to branding and building a career. What are you doing to brand your work, if anything? How are you planning your career? If you are not planning a career, are you playing with the shotgun method? (Firing at the wall to see what sticks) I know up until now I have done nothing but fire that shotgun. I must like the sound of the bang.

24 comments to “Last Night’s RWA meeting”

  1. I never really believed it could be a career until recently when someone said I had a good voice. Now it’s more than a dream. Branding – hmmm, since you combined it with the Nerd thing I’m going to guess that … nope, guess-o-meter is broke. I’ll admit it – what’s branding? This is going to be a major “duh” moment so go right ahead – I can take it. *g*

  2. The Nerd books are a brand? I thought they were a series.

    I’m sticking with my “voice is brand” theory.

  3. Eve, Congrats! That’s always wonderful to hear. Branding is hard to describe. It’s basically what an author is known for and tends to get combined with a series. For example, when I say Sherrilyn Kenyon most people immediately think ‘Dark Hunter’. It not only is the name of her series, but also brings to mind what she writes. (paranormal, sensual, mythological, etc.) Same thing with Christine Feehan. She may write other series books, but she’s known for the Dark series featuring the Carpathians. So I immediately think ‘vampires with a twist’. Most of the time brands are things like sassy, sexy romances, madcap adventures, etc. It’s a way for a reader to immediately identify an author.

  4. Charlene, To answer your question, yes, I think the nerd books are not only her series, but also her brand. She’s now known for writing humorous stories that feature ‘beta ‘nerd’ heroes’.

    I hope you’re right about the voice. 🙂

  5. Jordan..It was so good to see you last night! I listened to VLT with a sharp ear. I have been looking at all my half- written stuff, thinking Blaze/EC are the two arenas where it will fit–WHEN I finish anything..sigh–I am struggling.. but LEARNING!

    Hearing Vicky and our own JENNIFER ASHLEY talk about focus , how hard it is to write all over the place, and also the info on branding, it was a good lesson to learn about early on… FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS. Wow–I KNOW THAT in all other areas of my life–duh, it applies to WRITING TOO!!??

    I want to go listen to Vicky in Tucson too–I would car pool in Feb.if you’re interested?

    I have always thought writing as a career would be way too stressful. MONEY from writing, consistent money to pay bills, seems a bit rough to come by.

    I have this romantic notion of bartending by night, writing till dawn…. wearing clothes from thrift stores and looking oh so chic, eating beans and grains instead of filet.. , hey, it’s healthier..

    Dreams and visions…..

    I suppose it’s POSSIBLE..???

  6. Oh good – because being from Texas I had some vision of a bespectacled shirtless cowboy hogtying VLT and marking her little booty with an iron. *g*

  7. Maddie, Focus and planning are everything. You have to want to write and not just in the way that I want to be a martial arts master. ;-P

    I’d love to go to the talk, but the weekends are the only time dh and I get to hang out. Sorry.

  8. Eve, You’re bad. *ggg*

  9. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. However, my immediate concern is looking for any wandering Canadians. Snort! And yes, the RWA meeting was nice last night. The salsa was hot and the hero/heroine ideas were creative. Whew! And the starving writer idea. My rear end could use a little of that.

  10. CJ, I’ve got your number. *g*

  11. You know, I thought I had a great idea for a “brand” and now I don’t think I like it. Ugh. This is hard work.

  12. “Branding” is the work of the devil! A thousand curses on it… People should just be people, not ‘products’!

  13. My brand so far is ‘Sexy & Adventurous with a Twist of the Unexpected’. Everything I write is paranormal, steamy but not what I would call erotic(although Cheyenne thinks it is…lol) with a sense of humor. My career strategy right now is somewhat following how Cheyenne McCray started hers. I’m trying to get a series of books out and start to build my name recognition and word of mouth. I’ve become a huge promotions slut 🙂 I think for me, right now, I’ve just got to get enough books in the marketplace so my name can circulate and then I’ll have to look at the next steps of my career plan.

    P.S. Maddie – I think Bev, Maria and I may carpool to the Tucson meeting in Feb.

  14. Vickie’s talk was very interesting. I agree about the homongenized thing, BUT it can be a big step in the door. Maybe because the lines are blurring it won’t be as homongenized as before?

  15. I’ve been told by a source who’s spoken closely to editorial that Blaze is very interested in being more mainstream – and I’m not sure if that’s applicable across all category lines or just the tone Blaze wants to take. Maybe Jo can give more info on that.

  16. Danica, I hear you.

  17. Now, now, Wendy. Be careful. Those things have a way of coming back to you threefold. 😉

  18. Tina, That’s a cute tag line. Chey’s set a good example to follow. I think you have the right idea about getting your name out there. It’s important to create a series/books that readers will latch onto.

  19. Interesting discussion. Especially with the new Desire guidelines coming out recently. And branding. . . That’s something is usually always somewhere needling around in my brain.

  20. Chey, I wondered the same thing, particularly with Sue Kearney’s new Blaze Extreme. It has a hero from the future or another planet. (I’m not sure yet because I haven’t finished reading it.) I think they’re trying a lot of different things, including the addition of paranormal subplots.

  21. Alison, That’s pretty much what Vicki said, so I think HQ is branching out in an attempt to try different things. I say that’s a good thing for writers. It opens the door for people (like me) who don’t necessarily write to the Blaze ‘formula’. (I use that last word loosely.)

  22. Teresa, It goes around in my mind too. I really need to get something nailed down, even if it changes later. I think the problem I’ve had in the past is not only switching genres every few books, but also writing books that encompass several different genres. Not good.

  23. I think I’m already doomed in a million ways, Jordan… for being an evil, sinful woman! 😉 Seriously though, every time I hear that word ‘branding’, I want to barf… To me the whole concept seems dehumanising somehow. But I’ll shut up now as I’m obviously in a minority. 🙂

  24. Wendy, I understand where you’re coming from. I’m sure you’re not the only one who feels that way. Ultimately, the goal is to get to the point where your name ‘is’ the brand. (ie Nora)