Do authors need a brand? Chris Hill chooses freedom

I ran into Chris Hill on Twitter and having read his intriguing literary novel Song of the Sea God (reviewed here) I was surprised to notice his second novel (see below) is lad-lit. Today he’s kicking off a series of guest posts on how writing can be unchained by an event, an idea, or in Chris’ case, his own frame of mind. 

Chris Hill

Chris Hill

I write for myself first and then look for a publisher who will take whatever I end up producing. As a result the first two books I’ve had published are quite unlike each other. Almost anyone in the know will tell you I’m doing this all wrong.

My first novel, Song of the Sea God, published by Skylight Press (ed’s note: brilliant writing!) is literary fiction and is a kind of creepy fairy tale about a man who washes up on a small island and convinces the locals he is a god. My second, The Pick-Up Artist, published earlier this year by Magic Oxygen, is a modern take on a rom com with some strong women and a weak man, bawdy jokes, elements of farce. It has a few points to make about the way men and women are these days but it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Publishing professionals will tell you it’s madness to write like this – that if you produce pretty much the same thing each time then you build a brand. You also give agents and publishers an idea what to do with you. I’ve ignored that advice not out of bloody mindedness or because I’m on some sort of crusade. It’s just that I find I write best if I’m writing something which interests me and which I am fully committed to. I have a day job which pays the mortgage and keeps the kids in trainers, as do many writers more successful than me, so I don’t need to become a production line worker turning out a series of interchangeable units of product. I can do as I please and, if I do it well enough, I will find a publisher happy to take it on.

There’s a great freedom in writing like this, I’m not sure what my next book will be, only that it will be unique – in this way I suppose I would say I’m unchained.

I certainly don’t have an axe to grind with authors who write similar genre books in a series, good luck to them – each to their own I say. I’m sure they will build up readers over time who know what to expect from them. My readers on the other hand are probably thinking ‘what on earth’s he going to do next?’ I will just have to hope I can find a readership of people who enjoy the unexpected.

Biog and links

chrishillbookChris Hill is an author from Gloucester in the UK whose new novel The Pick-Up Artist is published by Magic Oxygen Publishing. You can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pick-Up-Artist-about-Dating-Digital/dp/1910094161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424014293&sr=8-1&keywords=the+pick+up+artist+chris+hill.

Chris works as a PR officer for UK children’s charity WellChild and spent more than 20 years as a journalist on regional newspapers. He lives with his wife Claire, their two teenage sons and Murphy, a Cockapoo.

 

Chris is a social media addict with more than 20,000 followers on Twitter @ChilledCh  he is on Facebook here:https://www.facebook.com/chris.hill.3726 and has a popular blog where he talks about reading, writing and more at  http://www.chrishillauthor.co.uk/

Thanks to Chris for sharing his brand-free philosophy.

Our next guest will be historical novelist Margaret Skea on how she needed to free herself from one novel to move on with the next (and the one after that!)

If you’re a writer with a local connection and would like to blog here on the theme of Unchained, please contact us.

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