by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
The theme at GBC this cycle is reinvention.
My debut novel, The Thin Pink Line, came out a decade ago next month. Since it was published by Red Dress Ink, it was immediately categorized as Chick Lit, as were the next few books I had published.
In September of 2006, a different book was published by a different publisher, Vertigo, a dark Victorian suspense novel. It had only a few arch moments in it, nothing like the madcap comedies that I was in the process of completing five of for RDI, and the overall tone could best be characterized as one of impending doom.
Later in 2006, Simon and Scuster published an earnest novel of mine called Angel's Choice, about a teen who becomes pregnant in her final year of high school. I hadn't set out to write a YA novel when I first got the idea, but it turned out that's what I'd created, and so I broke into the YA market. More YA books would follow over the next several years, no two alike: a revisioning of a classic fairy tale, a comedic mystery, a slender comedy-drama about a Victorian girl who wants a decent education, a Victorian murder mystery and, oh yes, a time travel story.
In march of 2008, my first middle grade novel was published by S&S, Me In Between, about a generously endowed girl who's conflicted about her physical attributes. At the end of that year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published the first two of the nine books that comprise The Sisters 8, a series for young readers that I created with my husband and daughter.
Oh, and in 2011, I started going the ebook route with several new books for adults, no two of them sharing anything in common save for The Bro-Magnet and its sequel, Isn't it Bromantic?
Was there ever any intent, in all this industriousness, to reinvent myself? No, nor am I sure I ever have. I've only ever suceeded in following the ideas that have excited me, trying my hardest to produce the best individual book I can for readers. There's no one area I've ever stuck with to the exclusion of all else. I am something of a publishing nightmare, the opposite of a brandable author. In fact, the only brand I have is my improbable name.
I think, sometimes, that the only way I could truly revinvent myself would be if I were to change that name. More than a few author friends, tired of the tyranny of sales track records, have done that, some to great success.
So, what do you think? Do I need a reinvention? And if I ever change my name, what should it be to?
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults, teens and children. You can read more about her life and work at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL