Brand vs. Artist plus Contest #2 (Julie Chibbaro)

Once a book is published, it’s out of your hands. People come upon it, and call it what they will. The public either embraces it or ignores it. They look for a series, or accept it as a standalone book. They label, name-call, pigeonhole the book, trying to pin it down, to put it in its place. And for some books, that works. Clear genre titles, memoirs, picture books, cookbooks, these we can identify in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, the authors write a collection of similar books, and then their names can be identified in the blink of an eye. J.K. Rowling. Julia Child. They become a Brand.

I guess I have to admit, I’m not a brand and I probably never will be. Every book I write, it always comes out different from the one before. I think if you read Redemption, you’ll be surprised how different Deadly is, and vice versa. And my next book – who the heck wrote that?

So, what does that make me? An indecisive person? Someone who can’t stick to one thing?

An Artist?

For some reason, to call myself an Artist sounds, to my ears, pretentious. Like (wave of the hands) “Oh, well, I’m an ahhtist, I don’t do those ‘brand’ things,” but that’s not how I feel. It’s more like, “Ugh, I’m stuck being an artist. Why can’t I write an identifiable series and become a brand, for God’s sake?”

I think I will always have this inner battle. I don’t know – do the folks who become Brands set out to do so? Or is it something that just happens to them? I wonder. Maybe I’ll have to publish a few more books, and see what happens to me.

Listen, I’m having a contest on my website for just a few more days ( See contest #2 to win a signed copy of Deadly, or contest #3 if you have a bookclub and want a chance to win a set of five for your club. I’m just putting it out there; it’s your job to label it.


  1. To answer your question - Do the folks who become Brands set out to do so? I can't answer for everyone, but for me it just happened. I'd be writing a chapter for book one and a scenario for book two would take over and I'd have to write that. Now with book two almost complete I'll have to start working on all the storylines I have for book three.

  2. I think I'm like you. I don't think my books will all be the same because that's just not what I want them to be. I like trying new things. Maybe we can become known as the wildcard brand, someone who always keeps you guessing. I think most authors don't set out to be a brand, or if they do they aren't writing for the right reasons. The only people I can think of that go for that kind of celebrity aren't Martha Stewart or Donald Trump. It seems their ambition. But for me, I'm not about fame. It's the game that's fun.

  3. Hooray for non-brand-dom, Julie. Nothing wrong with becoming a brand (in fact, I've heard it can be quite wonderful), but one reason I became a writer is so I could do something utterly different every day.

  4. Some authors are great at branding. Is it on purpose or what they love to write? I know not. I'm like you.


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