Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Welcome: That Wilde Woman!

Hey Riders. We're so happy to have Janelle Denison join us in the convertible today to help us with our two weeks of celebrating our 2nd anniversary. Make sure you stop in and say hello. Janelle has generously offered a copy of WILD FOR HIM to some lucky blogger. Now, here's that WILDE woman, Janelle Denison...

At some point over the past few years, I’ve become “That Wilde Woman”. Not wild as in “wild and crazy”, but Wilde as in the one who writes that “Wilde Series”. Next week, my 8th Wilde book, WILD FOR HIM, is out at bookstores and I couldn’t be more excited.

When I first started writing my Wilde series years ago, it started out as three brothers, and my purpose for choosing their last name of Wilde was to use it as a play on words in the title of each of their books. Something to connect each story and make readers aware that it was all part of the same series. During the course of writing those Wilde brother’s books, four Wilde cousins were introduced, and readers started asking for those stories, as well. All in all, the Wilde family has spanned seven books . . . and now a spin-off series of four more “Wild” stories will be written, starting with Ben Cabrera in WILD FOR HIM.

For those of you who have been following my series, the change from “Wilde” to “Wild” is a result of these new stories not being directly related to the Wilde family, but connected by being ex-Marine buddies of Joel Wilde (BORN TO BE WILDE), as well as being partners of the same security firm where they all work together. These new characters where all introduced in Joel’s story, and it didn’t take long for readers to write in demanding their stories, too. How could I resist? Obviously, I couldn’t, and so the Wild series continues with fresh, new heroes awaiting their own stories.

Thinking back to the initial creation of the Wilde series, little did I know just how much the word “Wilde” would become such a huge part of my author branding and recognition. I used the word “Wilde” on all my promotional material and on my website using the slogan “Wilde & Sexy Romances”, because I thought it was fun and catchy. And somewhere along the way, I also incorporated leopard print to certain parts of my website (my previous website, not my current one!). I gave away leopard print items for contests and giveaway prizes, to tie into that Wilde & Sexy slogan. Because of how much I tied in the word “Wilde” and leopard print to everything I did, those two things somehow became synonymous with Janelle Denison’s Wilde series.

How do I know this? Well, over the years I’ve had both readers and writers tell me that when they see the word “Wild”, or when they come across something with leopard print, they think of me and my Wilde series. Both give them a sense of recognition, and that’s how I’ve become “That Wild Woman”. All in all, it’s not a bad phrase to be linked to!

Ultimately, that recognition with a key word (Wilde) and something visual (leopard print) is a good thing, because most authors strive to create some kind of branding, something that makes them stand out from the pack and all the other books that are released right along with theirs. I think I’ve achieved that with my Wilde series. When my readers see the word “Wilde” on a book among all the other stories on a bookstore shelf, they know it’s connected to the Wilde series.

So, my question is, as a reader do you recognize an author’s branding? Something that the author does that makes you recognize their books right away? A play on words, or even a unique cover look that tells you without even looking at the author’s name that it’s a new book in a series?

If you’re an author, how important do you think branding is to building your name recognition? Do you consciously brand yourself? And if so, how?

You can read more about Janelle’s Wild & Sexy romances at the following places:

www.janelledenison.com

www.plotmonkeys.com

http://www.myspace.com/janelledenison

46 comments:

Jane said...

Hi Janelle,
I can't wait to read Ben's story. I can always recognize Sue Grafton's books, especially her Alphabet Series. I love her titles, such as "R is for Ricochet" and "A is for Alibi." One of my favorite authors, Marianne Stillings, also has great titles like "The Damsel In This Dress" and "Sighs Matter."

Laurie said...

Hi Janelle,
I've enjoyed the whole Wilde series!! Looking forward to the 4 new Wild guys!!
Bronwyn Jameson the whole Aussie package.
Carly Phillips- HOT series.
Alison Kent -SG5 & Girl Gear
Jill Shalvis- Sexy series& Firefighter trilogy
Kathleen Eagle -Native Americans and their culture, the reservations
Christina Skye -Code Name:
Merline Lovelace, Suzanne Brockmann, Catherine Mann & Lindsay McKenna- Military - SEALS
Gail Barrett -smokejumpers. Kathryn Shay- Heroes= firefighters & cops
Susan Wiggs - Lakeshore Chronicles
Janet Chapmen -Highlander series
Julia London= Regent Street Charmers & Highlander series
Nora Roberts- I think of Ireland+ Irish Rose, Hearts,Calhouns, O'Hurleys, Donavans, Delaneys & Boston Chesapeake series
Kate Hoffmann -Quinn Family
Diana Palmer- Mercenaries
Just to name a few.

lois greiman said...

Hey Janelle, great to have you with us.

It seems like branding is so important these days, but I have to admit, I'm still trying to figure it out. Thanks for the lesson.

PJ said...

Hi Janelle! I enjoyed "meeting" you at the RNTV blog last week. I haven't read your books yet but I picked up WILD FOR HIM at Walmart yesterday and am looking forward to reading it.

Betina Krahn said...

Hi, Janelle! Great to have you in the convertible with us!

Excellent question on branding. . . I've struggled with this myself. Since I've written mostly historicals, I've had all kinds of covers and all kinds of "Looks" none of which conveyed the one feature most of my readers look for in me-- humor. sigh. I thought Berkley came close with my medieval books and some whimsy, but they didn't hit the market quite right. So maybe my ideas about presentation and readers' expectations are miles apart.

Still, it's great to think about.
Wilde. . . a really good word to be linked to!

Have fun today!

Keri Ford said...

Blogger ATE MY COMMENT! Grr. I assure everyone, it was brilliant, too! To summarize a masterpiece as my kid wants out of the crib (I think he has a screen of my computer and an alarm goes off right when I get in the middle of something to get him up.) sigh:

I like covers to be designed the same when in a series. Long before a reader takes a look at words, I think they'll recognize a simialr design of a series, at least until the publishers pull a fast one and change the look on the last couple!

After that, then titles do it for me. Julia London had a series titled well: Hazards of Hunting a Duke, Dangers of Decieving a Viscount, and Perils of Pursuing a Prince. I would know immediately if she added to this series by title alone. They all have that bounce when you read them!

Not that any of that branding stuff matters to me. If I liked the book enough to remember the title and cover design then I remember the authors name and take whatever they put out (keep it clean!)

Dina said...

Hi Jenelle,

Your book sounds like I'd enjoy it, who wouldn't, lol. Hope to get to read it soon.

Karen B said...

If you're interested in a series it's nice to have something to recognize it by - a number, letter, color, name, etc - but not essential.

WK said...

Hi Janelle,
In answer to your question about branding yes I do. I'll admit I have I think one or two of your books but as of today have not had the time(so sad) to read them yet. However I immediately know it's you when I see "Wilde" without seeing the authors name. So yes it works even if you haven't read the author.

The story sounds great. I have to ask, do I need to read them in order? Can I read the new one without reading the previous titles?

hugs,
WendyK

Lori T said...

Hi Janelle,

I love your Wilde books! I do think that branding plays a role as it draws you to those authors that you love and seek out.

Have a great day

Helen Brenna said...

Wow, Laurie's got it down!!!!

Hey, Janelle - welcome today and I'm glad you get to celebrate out anniversary!

I think branding is an awesome way for authors to get name recognition and "Wilde" is a great word to work with. Smart thinking.

Janelle Denison said...

Good morning, everyone! Thanks for the warm welcome and I'm thrilled to be here!

Interesting comments on branding -- as a reader and as an author. As an author, it's not always easy to get that recognizable branding cover or titles, but it's so nice when it all falls together!

PJ: I'm so happy to hear that you found WILD FOR HIM at Walmart! Seriously. These days, it's a huge thing when an author makes it into Walmart because they're so picking about the books they choose to put on their shelves!

Betina -- I think your name itself is a brand. It's unique, yet recognizable, and I know when I see your name on a book I'm guaranteed an excellent read. I was reading your historicals long before I was published!

Wendy: You can definitely read WILD FOR HIM without reading any of the other books in the series. I've written them so that they do stand alone, but for those who do read series books in order, you'll get glimpses of past Wilde characters and where they are now in their lives and relationships.

Liza said...

Janelle, I can't wait to read Wild for Him! I just got mine in from UPS yesterday. I love the Wilde series and am ready to read about a few more "Wild" men!

flip said...

I am not necessarily a huge fan of branding. For me, I would worry that writer is rewriting the same book over and over. The best writers are distinctive. I love Loretta Chase for her droll humor and wit. Anne Stuart has her intense heroes. However, they don't write the same book over and over.

I will buy a book for a cover, if it features a sexy guy. (Did anyone see the study on how the sight of an attractive woman in a bikini will make men more likely to drive faster, eat and drink more, and spend more money?) But the important thing is the story. For example, I love Bettina's books. They are an automatic buy. Even if they put one of those stupid cartoon covers on her novels, I would buy her books. Likewise, I think that the Wilde books are selling because they are good, not because of branding.

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome, Janelle! Great branding!

I haven't figured out my branding yet, either. But I do notice it a lot on bookshelves, and like it so if I'm reading a series, it's easy to find more. For example, I don't even need my glasses on to spy a new JR Ward. They've got that all-one-color sexy thing going on. :-I like it when publishers get a little symbol to represent a series and put it on the covers. Helps to find them all.
I don't like it when a series is a mixture of styles.

Maureen said...

Some authors have a word they use in their titles or a certain look to their covers and I have noticed that when I'm in the bookstore. You are looking at the new books out and then it catches your eye.

ddurance said...

As a reader, I feel that brands do make a difference and are definitely remembered by readers and related to the authors. I suppose sometimes that could be a problem if the author wants to try something different, but that's what pen names are for. LOL

Deidre

Tina Martinesi said...

Hi Janelle!
Just popping in from the plotmonkeys to show my love and support!! Can't wait to read Wild for him, I am so drawn to that cover!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Janelle. Wild for Him sounds great. I do find that branding makes me remember an author and catches my eye when I am perusing the shelves when I am book shopping.

Janelle Denison said...

Liza - Thank you for picking up a copy of WILD FOR HIM. I hope you enjoy Ben and Christine's story!

Janelle Denison said...

<<(Did anyone see the study on how the sight of an attractive woman in a bikini will make men more likely to drive faster, eat and drink more, and spend more money?)>>

Flip: I haven't seen that, but I'm not surprised, being that men are the visual creatures that they are, LOL!

Janelle Denison said...

Hi, Tina! Thanks for stopping by!

By the way, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!

Anonymous said...

Hi Janelle,
I'm Italian and I'm writing from Rome, Italy. I just wanted to tell you that your new book is already on its way to my house, thanks to Amazon.com!
When I've seen your name as a guest in Cindy's blog ,I've discovered you!I'll start to read your series from this new one.
About the cover: it can help you to make the choice the first time, when you don't know the author, then you like the brand that catch your eye in the store but ...it's a good story that really "tie" you to the author.
Ciao ,from your new Italian fan!
Rossella

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Janelle. Glad to see so many turned out so far to welcome you. I've struggled with the brand thing myself, wondering the best route to take. Readers seem to latch on to my Bodyguard series so now that it's over and I've started my new Black Ops, Inc series, I'm hopeful they will follow an it will have the same impact as a brand. But I've got to tell you, I think the "Wilde" thing is just too clever! Cudos to you for the great idea and the great reads!.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Rossella! How's my Italian buddy?
Janelle - now that you've got Rossella on board you have an amazing new fan.

Cheri2628 said...

Congrats on the new book! I haven't read any of your books yet, but I would like to start. Is "Wild for Him" a good place to begin or should I go back and read some of the Wilde family books first?

Lois said...

With branding, I think it's just cool seeing connected books like that. I already know ages in advance that the next books are coming out since I live on the various author sites and other book related ones, but it's just cool seeing a couple of books together with something that identifies them as a group. The first one I thought of and quickly looking through the comments that I don't think was mentioned was the Naked series by Sally Mackenzie -- we have the Naked Duke, Earl, Gentleman, Marquis and a Baird's coming out sometime too. Just gotta love a lot of naked guys in one room. ;)

Lois

Cathy said...

The titles for the Stephanie Plum books, Tara Janzen's series, and Kim Harrison's books always catch my eye.

Paula said...

hey Janelle, just swinging by to send a little monkey love...your book is already winging its way on to me from Amazon...can't wait to start this new series...I can't stay, but have fun today...see you in the jungle...

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Karin said...

I don't know that I've ever really consciously paid much attention to branding, except on certain series in the Harlequin Blaze line, where they make it obvious by putting the little icon on the front cover of the books.

But, I think that similar titles or catchphrases are likely to catch my eye and stick in my head.

I'm definitely anxious to start the Wilde series, Janelle.

The Book Girl said...

I love the Wilde series. I have been working my way through all of them. As for branding, I pick up books usually by the author, I will read anything the certain authors write, but I love series. The more books written about a certain group of characters, the better you get to know them.

Debra Dixon said...

Janelle--

Welcome to TopDown !

I come at branding from both the author and publisher side (publisher side is Bellebooks and Bell Bridge Books). I think it's very important to do and not always easy to get right.

Much easier with a series because you have foresight. You have more to work with. For individual titles it's a balancing game between the "book" and the "author." You don't want to sacrifice a great cover just because the elements would be difficult to carry forward if they don't fit the next "unknown" book to come from the author whose gone from an emotional family story to a light-hearted comedy.

There is art branding, title branding, font branding, total look branding, etc.

Readers often recognize a brand without realizing they've recognized it. In launching the new Bell Bridge Books imprint, we went so far as to create some sample covers before we'd bought the first book because "cover look" brands a small press. It was a way to distinguish ourselves from other small presses. A way of dangling a carrot to more experienced authors to assure them we had a bead on the market. That we could effectively package them.

Susan said...

Hi Janelle,
I absolutely love the Wilde series!

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is a great example of branding that works for me.

Estella said...

Just picked up Ben's story Tuesday.
Now I have all that are in print.

cas2ajs said...

I wondered about the change from Wilde to Wild. You cleared that up for me. I haven't read all the books in the series but a couple of them. Looking forward to Wild for Him.

Cheryl S.

Christina said...

Well you book is in stores now! I got my copy yesterday. Yes I do tend to notice and look for a "branding" with an author. I like consistancy (spelled worng?)
I am looking forward to reading Ben story I will go back and re read Joel's story first!
Have a great day

Virginia said...

Your book sounds great! I have never really paid attention to any type of branding on a book. I will have to start watching for it.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Janelle! I do recognize some author branding--a certain look to the cover art, the same font for their name each time, even using a certain color palette consistently... it definitely makes it easier to pick out a certain series out of a line-up. :) You and your "people" have definitely done a great job with the Wilde/Wild series! Can't wait to read this one! ;)

Dina said...

Ok Janelle, I was in such a rush to post, I didn't see I spelled your name wrong, dang fingers, I feel so bad, so sorry. :)

limecello said...

Hi Janelle, thanks so much for visiting today! Hm... I do notice some author branding - but what I mostly do is follow authors - and I just know what books they have coming out. Months in advance :P. I like "author branding" to a certain degree, but I'm not a fan of series (even stand alone series) - so at some point enough is enough for me.
I hope that makes sense. I am excited about the new Wilde book - Wilde Thing is one of my favorite books :)

robynl said...

so nice to have your here Janelle; I look forward to this book but haven't got it yet. I, too, love series as one can get to know the first characters a little better as each book comes out.

Janelle Denison said...

My apologies for going MIA this afternoon! I'm in the process of moving and had a few things that came up that kept me away from the computer!

Rosella -- thank you for the warm welcome! I hope that WILD FOR HIM is your kind of story. Thank you for giving one of my books a try!

Cheri2628 -- You can read the Wilde books out of order. Each one does stand alone. If you'd like to see the entire series of books, you can visit my website and click on the "Wilde" link and it'll give you a rundown of each story. I hope that helps!

Hi Paula! ::wave::

Cindy -- Your bodyguard series was VERY well branded by St. Martin's. Each book looked different, but your name, the font in the title, the way the cover was laid out, was enough to tell a reader that the books were connected and by YOU. I'm positive that the Black Ops books are going to FLY off the shelves!!! I know I'm anxiously awaiting the first one in the series!

Janelle Denison said...

Karin - Thanks for giving my Wilde guys a try!

The Book Girl - I hope you're enjoying the Wilde series of books!

Debra -- I agree that it's much easier to brand a book series, but I think what all of us authors want to achieve eventually is being branded by name -- like Nora Roberts, LOLOL!

Estella -- Thank you, thank you, thank you! :-)

Cas2ajs -- I've had a few people ask about the change from "Wilde" to "Wild", and for anyone else who might be curious and realized that I've dropped the "e" in Wilde on this book, that's because while this book is related to the other Wilde books in the series, the main character isn't a "Wilde". He's one of Joel Wilde's best buddies. So, the transition seemed natural and hopefully won't confuse too many people!

Janelle Denison said...

After reading through everyone's comments again, I just wanted to extend an extra THANK YOU to those of you who've already bought the book. I really do appreciate the support!

And a big HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Riding with the Top Down! Here's to many more years of blogging fun!

Cindy Gerard said...

Janelle - thank you again for being our guest today on Topdown. It was a pure pleasure having you here!

acdaisy95 said...

Hi Janelle - I am looking forward in getting my hands on Wild for Him! It sounds like a great read. As for branding, I think it helps me as a reader to remember author's branding.