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Thursday, June 5, 2008


ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more When I started writing, must have been six years ago, one thing I've always thought about was Author Branding...what kind of image do I portray in my writing? What is it about my stories that's different that I can help with marketing myself?

I tend to write fiction with an Urban edge.

What exactly is Urban??

Is it street fights, fast cars, and drugs?

haha. Not all the time.

urban (relating to or concerned with a city or densely populated area)
urban (located in or characteristic of a city or city life)

It's life in a populated area.

Graffiti Girl may have taken place in a small town, but Graffiti is very much part of the Urban lifestyle.

And now I've written Invisible Touch, a story of girl with a peculiar psychic ability, still with that Urban lifestyle in a town setting instead of the city, but it's there. I don't know if it's all because of growing up in a small town that has outgrown its limits or being raised ten years in the California Bay Area that makes me write about it. But it's behind my eyes as I write. It's probably all those 80s - 90's movies I watched in big cities with cops and bad guys. haha.

And as I stray a little into Sci-fi, it's still there. Real problems with character journeys taking place much of the time on the streets. My characters have homes, and they are young, just trying to live with the life that surrounds them. The life that sometimes isn't so wonderful and can throw obstacles in your way before you know it.

I came across this description of my writing for Graffiti Girl @ RomanceWiki:

Graffiti Girl stands out from other contemporary Young Adult fiction due to its unusual setting and subject matter. While certain aspects of teenage life cross all boundaries, it's refreshing to see a novel set outside the white urban teenager world. Graffiti artists are often demonized in our culture, yet Parra's exploration of this world reveals the human aspect of this world.

I'm glad someone else sees that I try to bring real life issues to my fiction.

Trying to put my finger on the kind of fiction I write has always been tough. Because branding yourself one way which readers may not understand, can detour readers sometimes.

So I don't know if author branding works with marketing, but it makes it easier to tell people the kind of fiction I write. Can you brand your writing?


TinaFerraro said...

Kelly, I definitely agree that you bring a real life element to your fiction. And do it brilliantly, I might add!

I have two books out, and two in the works, as you know, and I think it's fair to say I write YA romance novels with a touch of humor and a bit of heart. So far, I have not deviated from this branding, but one never knows what tomorrow may bring!

Kelly Parra said...

Thanks, Tina! And I couldn't agree more about your branding!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Obviously I haven’t read IT yet (can’t wait for it though!) but the real life issues in GG were the main thing I loved about out, so I think you hit the nail on the head there.
I guess branding for me is pretty easy. I’m that chick who writes about music. My second book doesn’t involve rock stars, but music figures in heavily and the book I’m working on now does involve rock stars. It’s not intentional, just where my interests lie, I guess! I’m sure one day there will be a book where it doesn’t figure in quite so heavily, but since it’s my driving force, it trickles in a little bit no matter what!

Jessica Burkhart said...

I'd say, for now, I write tween chick lit. :) Branding DOES make it easier to define your audience, I'd say.

Kelly Parra said...

Thanks, Steph! Yes, music is your brand for your books!
Great Jess! I'm looking forward to your new series!

Jennifer Echols said...

I'm having a really hard time with this right now. The two books I have out now and another coming out next year are all teen ro-coms with similar covers. That's easy. But my MTV book will be darker, for older teens. I'm not sure how to market both at one time, but I'm waiting until I see the MTV cover before I redesign my web site!

Kelly and Tina, you both have really beautiful, consistent covers. I think it helps so much when publishers understand this is important for an author!

taltebrando said...

"What Happens Here" was recently called "gut-wrenching" on Ellegirl.com and I think I'd like to maybe cultivate that as part of my brand. I write gut-wrenching fiction for teens. Though that might turn some people off, I guess.

Great topic!

Kelly Parra said...

Jennifer, think of it as two sides to your writing! It's cool that you have different voices and themes. I've seen many authors do this, you'll do great!
Tara, gut-wrenching is awesome! Readers love to feel!