Branding

I can't make up my mind.

So many writers are known for their specific genre, and when you hear their names or see them in print, you already know what sort of story you're in for. You don't confuse Stephen King with Orson Scott Card or Neil Gaiman; each one has his own style and voice and his very own brand. It's a sound marketing strategy: once you find an audience, stick to what sells. Right?

I don't think I'm there yet—or if I ever will be. Take my Amazon author page, for example. I must be some kind of multiple-personality. There are westerns, sci-fi tales, comedies, and some creepy stuff to boot. Do I have a brand? Should I?

I'm in the middle of writing a novel-length space opera (65,000 words and counting), but my other manuscripts currently in need of good homes include a western comedy, a future noir detective story, a YA thriller, and two post-apocalyptic fantasies. Should I see which one gets picked up and then decide my brand?

On the other hand, I've always heard that variety is the spice of life. (Nana Fowler is known for her clich├ęs, and I'm pretty sure that's one of them.) I enjoy reading anthologies like Arcane and Triangulation, each with an assortment of genres represented. I've also enjoyed perusing the latest issue of Kzine which includes my agrarian alien encounter tale, "In His Eyes," along with other science fiction, horror, fantasy and crime stories.

I suppose "speculative fiction" in and of itself is a brand, and whether my stories take place in the old west or the distant future, I always include some kind of fantastical element, whether it be sci-fi or horror as far as genre goes.

How about you? Does your fiction have a brand?