Building a brand – All about historical fiction

Some years in the past, once I was interviewing various reader-nominated ‘favorite historic fiction authors’, I requested these authors: Do you consider your self as having a model?

Elizabeth Chadwick: Loosely I feel. I haven’t professional actively gone out to construct a model, however that model has shaped round me by a few a long time of actually sturdy word-of-mouth suggestions by readers.  The perceived view is historic accuracy married to vivid storytelling that places the reader there within the second.  Once more it’s what I’m informed, and what I’ve constructed on from there. 

Hilary Mantel: All my books are totally different, whether or not modern or historic. So I’m the alternative of a model. I’ve by no means allowed myself to be pushed by a perceived drift or shift available in the market, however have at all times gone my very own approach and introduced my writer with the end result. That is maybe why I wrote for 12 years earlier than discovering a writer; I used to be unwilling to compromise. That is additionally why it has taken me so lengthy to promote books in massive portions. I didn’t construct up a core readership as a result of I may give my writer and my readers no thought what would come subsequent. Artistically, I feel this can be a good factor. Financially, not so good.

Sharon Kay Penman: No, I don’t consider myself as a model.

C.W. Gortner: If I had been solely accountable for creating my very own model— and I’m not, allow us to be clear about this: branding is a advertising and marketing effort that always transcends the author’s intentions— it might be as an creator of sturdy historic fiction that brings to life these misunderstood or maligned characters or eras. I’m drawn to controversy and at all times can be; for a narrative to curiosity me, it has to have an edge. It may be refined, embedded within the period itself; in spite of everything, not everybody could be a Catherine de Medici, however an edge must be there, nonetheless.

With soon-to-be 5 revealed novels and an effort underway to rebuild my creator web site and the appear and feel of my weblog, the advisor I’m working with requested me what my distinctive promoting proposition is — my USP. Apparently a key element in constructing a model for M.Okay. Tod. My preliminary response was to assert that I don’t have a singular promoting proposition, emphasis on distinctive, on condition that I write related tales to many different historic fiction authors. “Go give it some thought,” she replied.

So I dusted off my consulting hat and went looking out.

Steve Jobs as soon as mentioned: “You’ve received to begin with the client expertise and work backwards.” At one degree, the client expertise is ‘a great story’ and an pleasurable solution to spend time. We may broaden this to leisure or getting misplaced in a narrative or the way in which a narrative makes you are feeling.

We may additionally think about what a reader learns from a narrative be it modern or historic – studying a couple of explicit time frame, a selected trade or nation or metropolis. After which there’s studying concerning the human situation in all its various shapes and complexities. Good tales assist us make sense of our world, they make us assume and really feel, they permit us to think about the what ifs of life and assist us perceive ourselves.

Why do you learn? – from my 2018 reader survey

However hold on a second, perhaps there’s extra. The reader expertise may additionally be tied into what sort of individual the creator is, how that creator interacts and connects with readers, what that creator reveals about her/himself, whether or not the creator appears genuine and relatable, whether or not the reader can rely on the creator from e-book to e-book, whether or not their public persona is constant, whether or not readers may think about having a cup of espresso and an important dialog with a given creator. Additional, the reader expertise is likely to be enhanced by e-book membership discussions or by sharing your ideas a couple of explicit novel over espresso with a buddy or on a web based discussion board.

Moreover, there’s the reader expertise of selecting books and speaking about books. What position can/do authors play in these actions? How would possibly this affect my model?

I made a decision that one supply of perception is likely to be what readers say about my novels so I learn by numerous evaluations:

  • tales of resilience, energy, and hope
  • key turning factors in historical past
  • bringing to life the small print that inform nice occasions
  • tales of hope regardless of tragedy
  • well-drawn characters
  • meticulously researched and academic
  • pulled the center strings
  • traditionally illuminating and emotionally participating
  • girls who show their mettle
  • if this creator wrote 100 books, I might endeavor to learn all of them
  • CAUTION: You need to reserve the correct period of time to learn Mary’s novels as a result of as soon as began it is vitally troublesome to place them down.

Have I give you my USP? Not but, however I’m making progress!


M.Okay. Tod writes historic fiction. Her newest novel, PARIS IN RUINS, is accessible for pre-order on Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble. An earlier novel, TIME AND REGRET was revealed by Lake Union. Mary’s different novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED can be found from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She will be contacted on FbTwitter and Goodreads or on her web site

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