One author’s take on branding. (RISING by Laura Josephsen)

Thanks for having me on your blog, Laura!

My blog topic for today is how this new book is different from my last book published, Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School), but it made me think about writers taking on all sorts of different stories.

Confessions is Young Adult, contemporary, modern-day setting, and a very “normal life” story. It was kind of my oddball novel in that respect; I typically veer more toward speculative fiction. It was about family and friendship and set in high school.

Rising Book 1: Resistance is adult speculative fiction. It’s set in a fantasy world, but it’s science based and therefore more accurately sci-fi, and it’s adventure/friendship/gradual romance.

Confessions is one of the lightest and most fun books I’ve ever written. It had a snarky voice and was super easy to write. It dealt with characters having to make some tough decisions, yes, but the ultimate tone of it was very lighthearted.

Resistance is the darkest book I’ve ever written. It was emotionally exhausting in a lot of ways, and it cost me a lot to write it—I had to delve into deeper places and push myself outside my comfort zones.

I’ve talked before on my blog about branding—should an author have a brand or not—and something that’s stuck with me is when someone told me that maybe it’s not genre or age group that needs to define a author—maybe it’s an overall theme that the author consistently writes. That struck a chord with me because I feel like that’s how I write—whether I’m writing YA or adult, speculative fiction or not, inspirational or contemporary, I always go toward themes of light and life and hope. My characters might go through terrible things that sometimes I don’t even want to think about, but the journey is in seeing how they deal with these things, how they overcome them and find the light at the end of their tunnel.

We all have stories that we love and stories we dislike. As completely different as Confessions and Resistance are, my hope for both books is that something in the words I write might speak to someone…it might just be in wildly different ways.

All Alphonse wants is a quiet summer at home before his final months at university. What he gets is a half-dead stranger on his doorstep and the task of delivering a package to the leader of his home country. Not long after he boards a train toward the capital, he’s attacked by knights, elite soldiers of the neighboring king.

Alphonse is temporarily rescued by Mairwyn, a mechanic with a haunted past and a deep hatred of knights. Together, they attempt to carry out Alphonse’s urgent errand, only to learn that if they fail, countless people will die.

And even if they succeed, they may not be able to prevent the war that lurks on the horizon.

Laura Josephsen lives with her family in Tennessee. She is a co-author of the Restoration series and the author of Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School). She likes music, reading, socks, rainy days, chocolate, coffee, and sci-fi and fantasy tales.

Links:

I haven’t had the honor of reading the Rising yet, but I read Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Otherwise known as High School) and I really enjoyed it. I have no doubt this next one will be just as good. Thanks everyone! If you have any questions for Laura Josephsen – ask away!

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21 Responses to One author’s take on branding. (RISING by Laura Josephsen)

  1. Dianne Salerni February 23, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Hello to both Lauras! I agree. Branding is not as important as writing a good story. Good luck with RISING!

    • Laura February 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      I think both are important. I think terrific branding can take an author far if the writing is there too.

    • Laura Josephsen February 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Thank you, Dianne! I think some authors have great success with branding–I just had to learn that my type of branding isn’t exactly what I might have expected.

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh February 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Not sure I have a theme outside of my genre…

    • Laura February 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Maybe not, but you have a defined genre that you’ve def. branded yourself with from your books to your blog. If you came out with a contemporary romance, um, I”d be surprised. 🙂

  3. Laura Josephsen February 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Thanks so much for hosting me on the blog tour, Laura! I’ll be linking to you on my blog shortly.

  4. Donna K. Weaver February 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    I’ve read both of these books–and loved both of these books. And yes, Rising is a much different book from Confessions.

    But that’s okay. They both work. I loved the characters and ached for their trials and their successes/growth.

  5. Carolina Valdez Miller February 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Interesting take on branding. While I think stinking to one genre can help build up an audience perhaps a little more easily, I think it doesn’t have to be that way. Audiences tend to fall in love with an author’s voice and themes and will follow them anywhere (just today I read J.K Rowling will be writing an adult novel, and I know I for one will be reading it). I have several recurring themes in my work, regardless of what I’m writing, so this is nice to think about as far as branding goes.

  6. Michael Offutt February 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Branding is important to some extent because it helps to support the final product.

  7. becca puglisi February 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    I think this advice on branding is solid, because many writers do tend to meander between audiences and genres. My books are all very different from each other in tone and genre, so I had a hard time coming up with a consistent brand. But when I started looking for consistent themes, I found that certain ones do permeate my writing, whether it’s light or dark, historical fiction or fantasy. Great advice.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  8. Christine Rains February 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Branding is important, but I like it when writers expand their horizons and write different things. I do love a good dark story, though. Good luck with your book, Laura!

  9. Marcia February 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I too have found that theme is what seems to be common to my books. For one thing, most of my characters find HOME in some way.

    And since I’m the world’s biggest homebody, I guess why not? 🙂

  10. Kelly Polark February 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    I think branding is helpful, but one shouldn’t be afraid to write outside that brand if they want!

  11. Laura Josephsen February 24, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    It’s so fascinating to see the different thoughts people have on branding–and a lot of other writing topics. There’s so many things people say we should or shouldn’t do–I think every writer just has to find what works for them.

  12. Lynda R Young February 24, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    I like the idea of using a theme as a brand.

  13. Traci Kenworth February 24, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    In the end, it’ll be the book and its word of mouth not the branding that does the work. Sounds like a good one, Laura!!

  14. Stina Lindenblatt February 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    I agree with Laura’s take on branding. That’s how readers know what to expect in our books. If one book is sappy and the next is down right depressing, it confuses the reader. They don’t know what to expect from you next time. That might not be a problem, unless they picked up your next book, hoping for something inspiring (like the last one), and end up wanting to slit their wrists because of your depressing ending. I know which authors to avoid during certain moods because I know their brand. I know what to expect.

  15. Heather Kelly February 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    I love thinking about the themes that thread through our books. How similar two books can be, even separated by genre, age group, everything. Can’t wait to pick up your books, Laura!

  16. Leslie Rose February 27, 2012 at 5:12 am #

    Nice to meet you Laura. The whole concept of branding is a little intimidating to me, even though it makes sense. I know when I love an author, I’ll follow them into any genre. Then again – I think I read every Nancy Drew book every written.

  17. Callie Kingston February 29, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    Hi Laura,

    You make excellent points about the limits of author branding. Part of the joy of writing is the freedom to explore many genres and stories. And like you, I find certain themes run through most author’s portfolios, even when they branch out into various genres.

    Callie

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