Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I've added a new widget to the blog. The countdown to when The Bartered Bride starts shipping from Squeeeeeee!
Also, don't forget to check out yesterday's interview with Stephanie Morrill if you missed it. She's giving away a copy of her debut novel, Me, Just Different to one commentor.
My current projects involve polishing up some proposals to take to the ACFW conference in just under 50 days. I've got a couple of editor meetings and want to have some fiction to pitch.
I've got three, maybe four proposals I want to get put together, which means a lot of sample chapters and a lot of synopses. Sigh.
I have such a difficult time making a synopsis sound as interesting as I want it to. I'm trying to be objective, to view the synopsis with fresh eyes and decide if I would think it warranted a further look by editorial eyes. However, objectivity doesn't come easily to me.
Also, I'm finding as I plot these new books, that I have a bit of a brand emerging, I think. Brand to me is one of those elusive things, like voice. I know it when I see it, but I'm not sure what all it consists of. What would a reader expect when he/she picked up my books? I'm finding some similarities emerging in the stories I plot that I think might be leading to a brand:
Action. Something has to be happening, and there is usually a rather action-packed climax to the story. Shipwrecks, boat races, cattle rustling, kidnapping, stage robbing, storms, mine cave-ins, avalanches, standoffs, and more. I love action.
Trust issues. My heroes and heroines seem to have trust issues with each other and with God. It usually takes losing something to make them realize how valuable it was. It makes me wonder if I have some trust issues of my own?
Strength. Strong heroes and heroines who are learning how to live with their faith and each other.
What do you think are some of the elements of your brand?
photo from flickr by nutmeg


  1. Ohhh the dreaded synopsis! I hate them feral creatures. I get why they are important, BUT I HATE THEM! have you or would you consider doing a post about how you wrote yours? I would be so interested to hear.
    All the best at the conference. Branding is something I am really unsure about. I will be interested to hear what others say.

  2. I'm finding that my brand is emerging too, after I've been writing more proposals and synopses. I'm still not sure if I've hit on my exact brand, but I feel closer. I'm always amazed at how easy it is for some writers to think of their brands! I suppose those are the kind of people who can think of book titles easily too!

    Erica, you said that you're taking proposals to editors at the conference. I'm still trying to figure out the whole agent, editor thing at the conference. Did you decide what you're wanting to pitch and with what editors or did you get direction from your agent?

  3. Those are great starts to figuring out a tag for your brand.

    I'm attempting to write "faithful romances worth pondering". The idea is that my stories make you contemplate, think about stuff you usually don't want to think about. Like your inner fears. And faith is always a factor.

    Good luck with all those proposals. Man, you are busy woman.

  4. Great idea! I was going to pitch two books but hadn't thought to put together a proposal for one of them. LOL I don't know why only one.
    Thank you so much for this info! Now I guess I'll be bringing TWO proposals. LOL

  5. Action, trust issues, and strength. Yep--that's you! And as to your voice, well...I can pick your writing out of a line-up;)

    My writing seems to contain heroines who need to find God's plan in seemingly impossible situations due to their own misguided attempts to help themselves. There's also a dash of humor sprinkled in. Hmmm...kinda like my life.

  6. yikes - synopsis...makes me cringe. So do comparables! I'm still stuck on those!

    Brand....the one thing I've noticed about all my stories is that they are emotional. They aren't light-hearted comedies, that's for sure. They have a serious tone.

  7. Branding. I'm having trouble trying to pin mine down. Love the new widget

  8. I haven't written a synopsis in a long time but I remember clearly how much I don't enjoy it.

    Brand is tough for me, too. I see a common theme of romance and suspense but deeper than that it's about searching for a new start. Trying to let go of the past (usually some large tragedy or another) and attempting to find God, find good, and find happiness in the present. Not without struggles, of course :)

  9. Once I get into a proposal, then it's a lot of fun. But it takes a while to get to that point!

    So, Erica, how do you sum up your brand with those elements?

    Here's what I came up with for my writing a couple years ago--I write about urban women struggling to live out their faith in a compromising world.

    Definitely women's fiction!

  10. Ooh--the synopsis! Definitely NOT a fan!

    Branding is something I'm still working on. I write women's fiction with strong Southern elements. It seems like the more I write, the better idea I have of what it will be.

    Oh, and Jody, I'm with you. I have a love/hate relationship with titles. They usually don't come to me until the middle or the very end.

  11. Tabitha, you've given me a good idea for a blog series. :)

    Jody, every agent/client relationship is different. Talk to your agent about who you have appointments with, or who she thinks you should make a point to talk to. I usually have a discussion with my agent about who I'm seeing, what I have to pitch, where he thinks it will fit well, and then we sort of divide and conquer. If I can't get to the editors we decide on, he plans to meet up with them elsewhere, either at that conference or at another one they will both be attending.

  12. Eileen, branding is something that is so nebulous for me at the moment. I think I'm getting glimpses of it, and then, poof! I'm back in the fog. I think you're on your way to discovering yours.

    Yay, Jessica! I'm not alone in proposal land right now! All the best with YOUR dreaded synopsis!

  13. Georgiana - You're the one who first gave me confidence that my voice was emerging from all the authors I loved and wanted to emulate.

    And your characters could seriously consider bringing lawsuits for cruel and unusal (and hysterically funny) punishment!

    Katie, I stink at comparables. It's a delicate balance between showing your book will sell within a target audience and showing how your book is unique. ARGH! It's the agent without a contract, contract without an agent cycle.

    CJ - Your brand is unique. Just like you! Medieval Naval Cowboy Technology. :)

  14. Cindy and Sally, my brand is slowly emerging. It's the commonalities in the stories, regardless of whether they're set in Gilded Age parlors or frontier forts. Are all your books set in the same types of places? Urban areas, like Sally's, or rural, or wilderness? That might be a theme. And starting over is a great theme. Fresh Start Fiction? Urban renewal?

    Kristen, I struggle with titles sometimes, and other times they just pop into my head. I love to write in series, so once I have the first title, the rest need to follow form. So far, they've all been alliterative. Maybe that's part of my brand...alliterative titles? LOL

  15. I'm late to checking blogs today. This is a great post, Erica.

    My brand?
    Hope in a skid-marked world.
    Women's fiction.

    I tackle sticky topics that make readers squirm. With a not-too-heavy touch. I'm also finding that I love to bring the recent past (1930 to present) into the picture. Heavy emphasis on the fifties era. Sort of a square peg in a round hole.

    I'm counting the days too until I get to read your first book. I am so thrilled for you, Erica.