My brand is building worlds

Last weekend, #romanceclass had a branding workshop, offered by Maloy Luakian, and hosted by Belle de Jour Power Planner at their new office/HQ in Shaw Boulevard.

You on Your Own Terms poster

Recaps written by the participating authors have called it “personal” and it was! In the past I’ve had conversations with authors about what kind of session we can do to unlock the kind of book we feel we should write…and I didn’t realize that it would come in the form of a “branding” exercise. Instead of digging deep to isolate the “book of our hearts,” I feel that the authors dug in and…possibly found not one book but many. We have so much to say!

I didn’t plan to participate as an author this time because I have to admit, my thoughts and plans are elsewhere right now. I feel like after 24 published books, a calmer writing and release schedule, and organizing community events for other authors and books, I’m starting to see what hits my satisfaction points more and more, and it’s not just the writing or the seeing the book itself. So as Maloy facilitated the workshop, I absorbed all of it, but it was resonating with my community manager self (who is also an author, but not just). And this is what I came up with: I want to build worlds.

When I write books, I build the world my characters live in. And I think my next step is to build worlds around those books now. Find their readers, their people, improve access and distribution, make them into the forms their people need them to be in (audio, video, a weekly series, a popcorn/slumber party/weekend movie). I’ve done partnerships and collaborations over the past ten years and I’ve learned from them, even when they don’t work out. I accept that some future collabs might turn out the same way, because so many things that I try to do are new, and new tends to be someone’s case study, before they decide to go back to their comfort zone. I’ll make an effort to find the people who understand why the worlds around these books matter. All this can and will apply to #romanceclass too, because that’s just how it is. It’s easy to do this for books and authors I adore.

What’s interesting by the way is that this isn’t something new I decided on just because I happened to be in a workshop — Maloy’s session clarified the theme behind little decisions I was making the past few months. For one, I became more critical of my “writer friendships” ie people who benefit from #romanceclass (or my) support but don’t use their platforms to support indie authors, romance genre, or their contemporaries who are women and queer. Friendship is fine, but my time and resources are limited, and re-allocating them to support someone else is easy.

There really is so much joy in seeing a book find its readers. My books, #romanceclass books. I definitely would like to help expand the world around all of them. Our books and authors deserve it. I’ll have that in mind, for now and going forward. (I’ve been having conversations with people about this, but if you want to help out too, just let me know!)

#romanceclass authors with Maloy Luakian at BDJ HQ, Shaw Plaza

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About Mina

Mina V. Esguerra writes and publishes romance novels. She founded #RomanceClass, a community of Filipino authors of romance in English.
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