Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I often hear from readers that they're struck by the fact that none of my books are alike. And while readers may like this difference, it drives publishers crazy because the publishing world wants to put authors in boxes and keep them there--that's the whole point of "branding," which is a huge buzzword these days.

Fortunately, branding didn't become a buzzword until after I'd written 100 or so books, so all I had to do was shrug and say, "Well, then, brand me as an author who's always different!"

Why? Because I get bored. Why tell the same story twice? And if I'm bored, I know my reader's going to be bored.

Second, because I LOVE learning new things. I love research. And new books, new topics, new approaches all require research.

Third, because being different reinforces something I just read this morning in CHIPS OFF THE BUTCHER BLOCK, by Derric Johnson. "We were constantly looking for new ways to express old truths," Derric writes. "Or rearranging old concepts in new packages. There just had to be a fresher way."

Indeed. :-) That's my entire raison d'etre. Why be a writer if you're going to tell the same stories everyone else is telling? I prefer the offbeat, the parable, the quirky metaphor. Let me share the oldest and best story--that God loves the world so much that he gave his only son--but let me do it in unexpected ways.

God doesn't use a cookie cutter in his creation. Why should we?



Kay Day said...

I think that's one of the fears I'm dealing with. Fears of being stuck in a box. I love variety. In everything. And I can't write the same thing over and over or even the same genre, I don't think.
But I guess I need to just do the work and trust God with all that.
Still... this whole branding thing has me apprehensive. "Your readers won't know what to expect." Isn't that a GOOD thing?

Anonymous said...

Amen, Angie. That branding thing frustrates me no end, though I can see the publishers' concerns. But I'll tell you this--I'm very glad you were ahead of that barrier!

Kay, you're right. We just have to keep doing what God leads us to do, and learning from the pros (like Angie), getting better at our story-telling. I figure when a publisher selects one of my novels--I'll write in that genre until they have confidence I've gathered a "tribe" that will follow me into a new genre. (We could always use a different name for a different genre. You could be Kay D. Night for suspense or thrillers!)

Blessed Thanksgiving,
Mary Kay

Anonymous said...

Playing catch-up again and am delighting, as always, in your recent posts. Regarding "branding", couldn't your line, "Expect the Unexpected" be your brand? I tell people all the time that you are my favorite author. Then I have a hard time explaining what you write. I may describe a few books that I particularly enjoyed (since I've loved them all, I have to get picky!) and then I say, "Expect the Unexpected!" It's intriguing enough to get them to try you out; and they usually succumb, as I have! Also loved reading the Chess pie recipe and the lore connected thereto. Happy Day After! Clyde