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, Lindsay Evans is talking about switching it up and starting afresh once more following the closing of Kimani...
Change happened to many of us in 2017. Harlequin, the publisher I'd been with for seven plus books, decided to phase out the Kimani line after 2018. To many of us Kimani writers, this move wasn’t a huge surprise, but it didn’t make the publishing company’s decision any less heartbreaking.
Many of our readers are now left wondering where they will go for their monthly dose of black romance while I (along with many of my colleagues) speculate about whether or not there is any room in the “color-blind” Harlequin series lines for a steady stream of black love stories written by black writers.
A big question for us all is, have the #WeNeedDiverseRomance and #WeNeedDiverseBooks movements made any sort of impression on the Harlequin higher ups? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, with this closing of Harlequin Kimani, I for one am exploring other avenues for getting my stories out into the world and before the eyes of people most hungry for them.
One of these avenues involves, of course, re-branding. This re-branding has been a way for me and other writers to “roll with the punches” that the changing industry has been launching at us for a few years now. Re-branding for me has been about starting from scratch with a new pen name and in a new genre with a whole new set of rules.
I had to do this switch-up a few years ago and must confess that it has been difficult. More difficult, I think, than it was starting out fresh and virginal in the business over ten years ago at another New York publisher. Author-reader connections and book visibility that were easily gained “back in the day” are now close to impossible.
With changing social media algorithms, platforms, and their varying degrees of success, it’s a new ballgame to reach and keep new readers, and it’s also one with a steep learning curve. Especially for someone whose marketing skill is nearly non-existent.
Years after launching the first book, I’m still trying to find the “sweet spot” writing sensual romance as Lindsay Evans—the struggle is SO real!
And so now, faced with the imminent closing of Kimani, I have to examine my options once again. None of these current options are any more certain than the ones I had four years ago, but I’ll continue pushing forward and shifting my strategies to see what works.
The most important thing for me has always been my writing. As long as I have that, (I hope!) everything else will fall neatly into place.
Lindsay's latest release, A Delicate Affair, is part of the Decades: A Journey of African-American Romance project and is out now. For more information about her and her writing check out her website and and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.