Monday, February 06, 2012

Great expectations... a really long, pretty good classic novel that I had to read in high school. But I'm talking about other expectations. ;)

When it comes to reading, what are your expectations? Do you have certain expectations from particular authors? Or from a publishing house?

I have to be honest, I recently read a book (that I won't name) that really caught me off guard. It was very amateurish in feel in many regards, but the publisher is a reputable one that usually publishes great works. I was very surprised. It didn't make me stop reading instantly, but I didn't enjoy the novel to the same degree that I enjoy literally every other one of this publisher's books, and had to force myself to continue at times. Have you ever experienced something like that?

In the writing industry, there is something known as "branding". That's where an author is supposed to be consistent and reliable to her/his readers and meet those expectations every time. It's what propels an author up the charts. Sometimes an author's brand can be their genre, but usually it's more than that. It's a promise, an identity of sorts that often times can't even be labeled. Some say Ted Dekker's brand is "rockstar". Others say that when you pick up a Brandilyn Collins novel, you're going to get a thrill ride of a read, high in suspense. When you pick up a Colleen Coble novel, you're going to get suspense and will usually get to see an animal as part of the cast too (she once did an entire series with an amazing search and rescue dog) Other brands can be more like setting. Robin Jones Gunn is becoming known for Hawaii, though I wouldn't necessarily say that's her brand. Still, you get the idea. Other authors are known for always incorporating a young child in their stories, or for providing a strong romance thread that makes you feel deeply (ala Nicholas Sparks)

Brands. Labels. Expectations. It sounds like a lot of work but its important your readers know what to expect. If Brandilyn Collins suddenly wrote a rich but tame romance, or Ted Dekker busted out with an Amish historical, well...readers would feel gipped.

I'm thinking a lot about expectations lately, and how they apply to my career. I'd love some feedback. What do you expect from a Betsy St. Amant novel? What do you know you'll get from my Love Inspired novels, or more recently, from my YA novels?

Thanks for letting me know! :)

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