Tuesday, February 21, 2012


            As the author of 29 novels, one of the things I, along with every other author, must do is promote my work.  Writers must define our “brand” and market it in every way, shape, and form we can come up with.

            This was a problem for me.  In addition to historical romance novels, which I write under the pen name Judith Stacy, I write the Haley Randolph mystery series, a cozy series about a young Los Angeles sales clerk who is obsessed with designer handbags and solves crimes using her knowledge of fashion. 

            The books are laugh-out-loud funny.  As you can imagine with the titles Handbags and Homicide, Purses and Poison, Shoulder Bags and Shootings, Clutches and Curses, Slay Bells and Satchels, and Tote Bags and Toe Tags, there is no graphic violence, no explicit sex scenes, just good, fun reading.

            The branding and marketing advice I got from PR professionals, writers, and friends alike was that I should focus on the fashion aspect of the books. They advised that I should blog, twitter, and Facebook about handbags, style, clothing, and the latest and hottest trends in fashion. 

            But, honestly, I didn’t feel it.  First of all, there are tons of people out there commenting on fashion who are much more qualified than me to address the subject.  Plus, in my heart I never felt this was the essence of my books. When all the layers of my writing were peeled back, I truly felt that what was at the core of my books was simply that reading them made you happy for a while. 

            Whenever I’m at a workshop, conference, panel, or a book club, I am always asked if my novels have social relevance, a moral issue, or a political statement, and I always tell my readers that no, this isn’t what my books are about.  I’m not trying to change the world; I just want to entertain it.

            So finally, after hearing myself talk about it for months, I realized what my brand was—happiness.

            Happiness is really what I want to bring to readers with my novels.  I’m a huge believer in being happy.  I also truly believe that no one else can make you happy.  You have to do that yourself.  Only then can you have a happy life to share with others. 

            So in this blog I’ll be exploring ways to find happiness, to recognize it when you see it, to bring it into your life, to indulge yourself, to pay it forward and share it with others. 

            I hope you’ll share this journey with me. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen! Well said!

    People seem to become so consumed in "life" (chores, work, schedules, etc) that they often forget the most important part of life- just being happy. When John Lennon was a kid, a teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he replied "Happy." She told him he didn't understand the question, and he told her that she didn't understand life.

    It's hard to find a brand and then promote it, but at least with the Internet the whole world is opened up like never before. It is so much easier to find and reach those who would be most interested in your work, whether they are down the street or on the other side of the planet, at any time of the day. It's quite powerful, and an amazing opportunity if it's harnessed correctly.

    But a lot of people in entertainment (writing, acting, etc) seem to become so focused on "brand" and "getting out there" that they forget the true reason they need a brand in the first place- the art and entertainment of it all.