Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mixed Messages

I’ve read tons of talk about “branding.” How it’s important to present a unified face to the publishing world. From the tone of your query letter to the contents of your blog, you’ve got to sell yourself. Have a platform. Find your niche. Make it work.

That’s a problem for one of my heroines, Kelly King (for those of you not familiar with the premise of Third-Rate Romance---although I’ve been hitting you on the head with it, blog after blog--- click on the link. Read the first two chapters, maybe laugh, then come back.). Kelly is a writer dabbling with Regency, inspirational western, chick-lit and vampire romances. Schizo, anyone? And probably doomed. Unless you’re Kasey Michaels or writing under a couple of pseudonyms, it’s hard to switch genres with impunity. You’re supposed to stick with one and get it done.

Kelly and I have quite a bit in common. Here’s a quiz for you all. There will be no prize for the correct answer. See if you can determine which of the following novels and novellas are secreted away in my files. Notice they’re all one-sentence distillations of the plot, but absolutely none of them are pitch-worthy.

1. Aspiring author writes trash, hits it big (c’mon, that’s a gimme).

2. T-shirt shop owner finds dead body, love.

3. Baronet must marry before midnight; gets drunk and lucky.

4. Viscount hires disgraced beauty and her niece for instant family to con his old aunt into making him her heir.

5. An uptight baron must heal the effects of BDSM, quasi-incest, and prostitution on the heroine.

6. Undercover spy with peculiar tattoo on his privates woos doctor’s daughter.

7. Scottish museum directress finds hidden treasure on impoverished laird’s property.

8. Tortured artist finds love with chubby teenager.

9. Teacher teaches her pupil’s father how to love.

10. Girl throws over fiancé for his wounded, drug-addicted uncle.

11. Snotty deb gets de-snotted by childhood friend.

12. Amnesiac Scottish bluestocking winds up in brothel and sold to soldier.

13. Shape-shifting hotel owner falls for shape-shifting guest.

14. Eternally young woman seeks love, eventual death.

15. Librarian loosens up with psychic time-traveler.

Laughing now? Yes, I have written them all. And there are even more, God help me. It’s no surprise that my companion blog, Begin As You Mean To Go On, is subtitled “Prologues and First Chapters from a Genre-Confused Writer.” What’s your favorite plot above? I’m thinking #6 is going to be the fave.


MsHellion said...

Probably #10. I love those addiction/recovery stories. I don't know why.

TiffinaC said...

well, I love #13 and hope it's pub'd as it ought to be.

and #5, for the record, is soooo much more than that!!! so much!

terrio said...

I'm partial to #5 but #6 I would definitely read. You get a piercing in there and you're golden! LOL!

#2 sounds interesting as long as the love is NOT with the dead body. Just can't go there...

Elyssa Papa said...

I think they're all yours. *g*

And #1 is going to happen!

I agree with Tiff... #5 is so much more but it's nice summary in a nutshell. But really, Hart is so sexy... even if he's slightly uptight.

Maggie Robinson said...

Hellion, me too. Which is odd, because the only thing I'm addicted to is Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia. And I don't want to recover.

Tiff, meow!! And thanks.

Terri,you must be psychic. There is actually a piercing, but I was too shy to admit it. Oops.

Ely,let's cross all our fingers, toes and eyes. ;)

Santa said...

#5 - Hands down because it's got the best first line - EVER!

#10 - I'd have to think about that one for a bit....even though I love that theme in historicals. Strange but true.

irisheyes said...

#5, then #12, then #10. What can I say, I love angst! And those sound pretty angsty!

Wow, Maggie, you've been busy!!!

terrio said...

Two words for you, Maggie. Prince. Albert.


And Tiff explained to me what that is so if you don't know, ask her.

Maggie Robinson said...

We are an angsty lot here, aren't we, Irish and Santa?

Not to mention the sadistic pain crowd.I actually did quite a bit of 'research' for that one, Terri. The guy is a spy and has to go undercover, so to speak. The bad guys are reeeally bad. Some day I'll tell you all about it, cuz it's one more thing that will never see the light of day.

Lenora Bell said...

Wow you've got the one line pitch thing down! I want to read all of these. #12 sounds particularly intriguing, though.

Maggie Robinson said...

Lenora, that was the first novella, from whence all insanity sprang. And lest anyone become alarmed, only 4 on the list are actually full-length. Which is not to say that those 4 are publishable, LOL.

Angela said...

Number three really intrigues me and it plain makes me laugh!
Number 11 I would like to read because I love friends to lover stories!

Maggie Robinson said...

#3 needs revision. #11 is a novella that also needs revision. Let's face it, Angela, they all need revision! But #11 was a lot of fun to do---I'll have to wiggle around with it. The hero is young but very dashing in a quiet way. :)

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