Good morning everyone, and I hope you’re having a blessed start to the day! Today in North Carolina, we’re getting several inches of snow, which looks gorgeous and makes writing that much more enjoyable. There’s something about a winter wonderland this time of year that brings about a whole new level of inspiration! On top of that, today is my 30th birthday, and I’m still humbled by how much God has blessed my life!
As I have been reflecting this morning on my author path throughout my life, I thought about a message I heard this week while listening to a writing podcast. The subject had to do with building your author brand and what your audience expects when they see one of your novels. Every author usually has a style of writing that their audience enjoys and things that are predominant within their works that the reader is looking for. Listening to the podcast, it made me think about what my author brand was, and what are the key things I want my readers to expect whenever they see a book with my name on it.
The YJB Author Brand:
- Flawed heroes: Aside from Superman, there are no such things as perfect heroes. At the end of the day, we are all human (except for the Martian Manhunter, but that’s a whole other can of worms), and as such our characters should reflect their imperfections as much as their positive qualities. Readers want to connect with the main characters and relate to their views of the world. The best way to do this is by showing to the reader that the characters are just as real as they are, warts and all. I try my best to convey that through fully fleshed characters, who have no problems stumbling down the road towards being a hero.
- Narrative twists: I’ve always been a big fan of movies or books that throw the audience for a loop. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a big reveal or universe-altering conflict, but I believe there should be something within a story that forces the reader to do a double-take or rethink the way they’ve viewed the story world/character viewpoints. Just like we can change our worldly views and life throws us curve-balls, I want to create a world in which anything can happen, and nothing should be taken for granted.
- Complex villains: Like our heroes are flawed, there’s no such thing as the “perfect villain”. The best villains are the ones we can see ourselves as or empathize with. We don’t have to necessarily agree with their views or action, but we should understand why they chose the path that they did. In my books, I like to create villains who blur the line between likable and detestable.
- Diverse characters: Lastly, I like to develop a well-rounded cast, one which reflects the diversity of our current world and those we interact with on a daily basis. As a minority myself, characters of all color and sexual orientation are represented in the worlds I create. This allows for a more rich, complex, and realistic world that the reader is able to relate to and will want to explore.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed this piece on author brands and are looking forward to reading my debut series, Metamorphs! Have a great start to the week, and never stop imagining!