Branding, Bubble Gum & Razor Blades
All my life I was taught to color inside the lines, and for the most part, I was a very good student. I really loved bringing home those straight A report cards. Beamed with pride every time I pulled one off. Throughout my entire academic career, however, I was hiding a nifty little secret; which explained why my report cards frequently looked like this: Math – A; Reading – A; English – A; Social Studies – A; Science – A; Handwriting – B. (Yeah, they actually graded you for handwriting where I went to school…and don’t even get me started on schools no longer teaching cursive writing…but that’s another story).
I could sufficiently form my letters, mind you. I could form them just fine. It’s just that I liked putting my own special flair on them, and for this, I was marked down. Given how much pride I took in those straight A report cards, you might wonder why I didn’t just write the letters the way the teacher wanted me to. I certainly could have. The fact that I chose not says something about how much of a rebel I truly am.
Now what, you may be asking at this point, does any of this have to do with branding? Let alone bubble gum and razor blades. Allow me to explain.
My books are equal parts sweetness, scandal and danger. They’re not like other romance novels. They’re not even like other romantic suspense novels. They’re more like a series of romantic suspense novels wrapped inside a soap opera.
Now, I’ve been told it’s not enough to write the darn books. I must also market them. An important part of marketing, I am told, is building your brand.
Brand? (I usually start pulling my hair out at this point). What the heck is my brand? How do I define to the world what my brand is, when I have so stubbornly refused to write stories that fit neatly into a pre-established genre? You see, I looked and looked, but so far, an acknowledged category of romantic suspense soap operas does not exist in the publishing world. (This is usually the point where my marketing friends begin shaking their heads and rolling their eyes). I love my marketing friends. They give me good advice and a nudge or two when I stray too far into unknown territory.
Of course, if you’re the stubborn, independent sort, and trust me, I am, the answer to this dilemma becomes obvious; start my own category. Henceforth, there is a new romance category in the publishing world, and it’s called Romantic Suspense Soap Operas: or as I like to call it, Bubble Gum & Razor Blades.
It’s my new brand. And perhaps, and first glance, you get the razor blades, but wonder why the bubble gum?
There’s a genre of music known as Bubble Gum Pop, and that branding brings to mind something specific. Something light and upbeat, usually sung by performers destined for stardom, at least for fifteen minutes. When you think about those artists, you think of a world few of us actually get to visit, and it’s this elusive world, populated with money and fame, that I write about. Bubble gum for that touch of sweetness and the light-hearted feel of romance, wrapped inside a high profile world of celebrity, and spiked with razor blades.
So welcome to my brand. My marketing friends say I need it. I tend to believe them. And I’ve found a way to give it my own special flair. Bubble Gum and Razor Blades.