So many of us reinvent ourselves in the New Year, so we're asking authors who are rebranding themselves - through choice or necessity - how they go about a writerly reinvention.
As part of our special PHS Rebranding Edition, Alex(is) Beecroft is talking about creating a new writerly alter ego as part of a rebrand...
Rebranding. As a result of a fairly profound change of heart, I'm in the middle of it right now.
When I started in publishing, it was a result of one of those lucky flukes. After a lifetime of being a SF/F fan I happened to have just discovered Patrick O'Brian and to have been swept away by the age of sail. I happened to have complimented Lee Rowan on her m/m historical Ransom, and she happened to have replied saying that her publisher was running a competition right now, where the prize for the winner was to be published by them.
I'm not normally an impulsive person but I happened to have a bunch of stories that could be worked into a novel in the amount of time given, so I did that and submitted them, and I won.
The result of which was that I was published as a historical romance author. In the grip of joy and still in the middle of my enthusiasm for the Age of Sail I then put out several more stories, one of which—False Colors—was published by a mainstream publisher, with that setting.
And that was great! I'm ever so grateful for that. But after a little while the fluke started wearing off and I found myself drifting back to more reliable old favourites like SF/F. I don't want to always be writing the same thing, I thought, and surely people who are my fans will want to read whatever I write? Surely I can find people out there who also enjoy a mixture of SF/F, historical, mystery and romance?
But recently I took a course by Derek Murphy of CreativIndie and this finally got through to me that I was expecting too much of my readers. Why should historical romance readers be expected to read a genre they didn't like just because I'd written it? Would I do that for an author? I probably wouldn't.
I'd been writing a cozy mystery without any romance at all (because I also love Poirot and Miss Marple, and had wanted to try my hand at that too.) And somehow it seemed too much to try to add that as yet another type of Alex Beecroft book. My 'brand' had more or less settled around “some combination of history with SF/F and m/m romance” and to now try to add contemporary cozy mystery with no romance seemed like it would break it entirely.
So I decided that it made most sense to release the cozy under a different pen name, and keep that pen name for nothing but mysteries.
Iain Banks wrote literary novels as 'Iain Banks' and SF novels as 'Iain M Banks.' That seemed like a good idea, so I have separated myself into Alex Beecroft, who writes m/m romance of various sorts, and Alexis Beecroft who writes cozy mysteries (without romance.) At some point there may even be an A.R Beecroft who writes SF/F (without romance.)
This should hopefully be able to allow readers to find the kind of books they like from me. And it will allow me to be able to market my books with a much better idea of who is reading them and why—and what they want from me.
Of course that means a new website and twitter, and probably a new Facebook and Amazon Author account for each name. But it still feels good. It feels tidy, and as though I'm finally ready to start giving people what they want instead of expecting them to cater to me.
So keep an eye out for a new Age of Sail m/m historical romance from Alex Beecroft next year, and the launch of Alexis Beecroft's first book, Murder of a Straw Man, round about the same time.
Alex(is)'s latest release, Foxglove Copse, is out now. For more information about writing as Alex, check out her Alex Beecroft website, and follow her on her Alex Twitter handle; and for more information about her writing as Alexis, check out her new Alexis Beecroft website, and follow her on her Alexis Twitter handle.