Write up my Alley – Is this the End of the Ass?

I’ve been looking long and hard at author branding the past year. Sometimes it seems very easy – go forth and tweet. Get a like me page on FB. Oh, and if you have time get Linked In, Triberr yourself and don’t forget Google Plus. And sometimes, it’s very difficult.


Three years ago, I decided to become a writer. Literally out of the blue. I bought books, I took classes, I wrote horrifying drivel. In general, I did everything wrong. So what? you say, haven’t we all?


But, the one thing I always KNEW was right, was the day I came up with smartassromance.com. I giggled and danced and well, made an ass out of myself. When I found the domain name wasn’t taken, I ran for it. Zoom! How could no one else have thought of such a thing?

I found the world’s cutest icon to go with it and even a fun font…

I decorated the ass for Christmas, Easter, Spring and other holidays. I collected pictures of various donkeys, mules and assorted asses and even bought a stuffed donkey so I could have my authorial picture taken with him.

There were a few rumblings when I took a branding class or two, but I stuck to my guns – mostly. I changed my name on twitter from my beloved smartassromance to carriecspencer. I changed my blog URL to carriecspencer.com. I was being forced to “grow up!” No fair!

I’ve already been through puberty – I didn’t want to do it again! But I did, kicking and screaming, pouting and sprouting a zit. Okay, I lied about the zit.

And you’re probably still thinking – so what?

Well, this past week I was told the name was offensive. I generally get “oh, that’s cute” or “that suits you to a T!” but it’s my first “I won’t buy any of your books – even if you manage to get one published – because no one likes a smartass.”

Well. That certainly told me.

I set the email aside, and waited for another day to deal with it, as this past two weeks I’ve had plenty to deal with. But it’s sitting there, waiting like a canker sore. I need to either acknowledge it’s there and address the contents, or throw it in the trash bin.

I’m not here to garner your sympathy and storm down the castle of People Who Don’t Like Smartasses like the mob chasing Frankenstein. Or was it Dracula? Definitely Young Frankenstein. Abby- Abby Normal. *snort* I’m just pointing out that sometimes marketing yourself in a way that people will like you is hard. Branding is hard. Answering all the tweets in my twitter stream is hard. =) Unless we’re discussing hotties and brownies. Then it’s a breeze.

Growing up is definitely hard. Growing as a writer – well, so far it’s been three years and I’m still working on it. Plotting is getting minimally easier, GMC – well, okay, we won’t discuss GMC. So yes, as a writing I’m growing. I’m tossing around the idea of changing my brand – and dealing with the growing pains that must accompany it, although I admit it’s still going to be another week or two before I really take a hard look at it. =)

So my big question is – not should I change my name, my brand, my ass – but how necessary do you feel the marketing of yourself depends on getting that tag line juuuust right? Is there leeway? Have you had to change yours?

Just thinking out loud….



25 Responses to “Write up my Alley – Is this the End of the Ass?”

  • There are people who hover about, waiting to be offended, so they can pounce and denounce you. If this name suits what you want to convey, keep it, Carrie.

    • I’m thinking on it Gerri…=) I’m not sure if it’s growing pains or stubbornness…lol….or if it’s really a good name! something to think about in the wee hours….

  • I think you should stay Carrie Spencer –with the log line of Smartass Romance. I love that. Especially if that’s the kind of books you are working on! I think it’s a great name!!

  • Actually, I didn’t say, but I do like it. When I see it, Smartass Romance, I know that it’s you. So in that respect, it’s a keeper.

  • Arg, sorry to hear about the email Carrie. It’s always hard to take stuff like that – no matter how confident/secure one is. Sucks.
    I think the important question you need to ask yourself is this “what image/feeling do you want to give potential readers from your tag line?”
    I love Carrie Spencer – Smartass Romance. To me that says sassy, cute, sarcastic, funny, zany, extrovert, funny, witty, hilarious. When I come to your blog, I expect your writings to be funny, witty, with a bit of sarcasm. I can’t speak for everyone but that’s my take when I read your tag line.
    Is that the persona you want to put out there? What kind of readers (books or blog) are you trying to attract? What is the feeling you want people to get if they visit your blog for two minutes?
    I think answering those questions will help guide you better. And if in the end, you love smartass romance and everything it represents for you – then stick with it. It’s you. And maybe you aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but you know what, that’s not the point. The point is to always be YOUR OWN cup of tea!!!

  • I like the Smartass Romance and if that suits you, please don’t take into a consideration mean remarks of someone who, apparently, has nothing better to do but to upset others. Not worth it. I also like Jillian’s idea of branding yourself as Carrie Spencer and keeping the Smartass Romance as your logline. And, btw, you rock, Carrie. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • Ditto everyone’s comments above. Anyone that knows you has a smile on their face when they see the smart ass romance email coming.

    Hemingway and Faulkner didn’t particularly like each other’s writing, so don’t think that you’ll ever please everyone.

    Faulkner on Hemingway: ‘He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.’

    Hemingway on Faulkner: ‘Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?’

    If you’re getting a lot of people that are offended, then maybe think about it. Otherwise, do whatever your smart ass romantic soul tells you to do. 😉


  • I remember you by name, and if I ever look for a book written by you, I will likely not recall the name of the book, and will ask for the book by “Carrie Spencer”. You helped me immeasurably with your instructions on WordPress. When I think of you I think, “Writer, Teacher, Friend, Clever, and funny.”

    However for those who remember you by your other handle, can you nclude for a while, after your name, something like “formerly _ _ _ _” so folks can find on Google. After a time, you can eliminate that guide.

    I am an amateur and cannot find my own brand, and if brand is manuscript related, I have three different manuscripts in progress. I am committed to connecting both with readers and writers, but (grin) if I don’t have time to write a blog it is not likely to attract many readers! I just had a flick of an idea … maybe I could be a “life coach” … do a lot of it in my private world.

  • I hope this doesn’t mean I have to give back my Smartass shirt.

    I think Smartass is fine for now. You can always have more than one persona. If you wrote regencies, then I’d say you should think about changing…or you could be Smartarse, I guess?

  • Carrie, I can’t add anything new to what has already been said. I’ve always thought your smartassromance was clever and fun … and the icon is so sweet. You constantly project an upbeat, smart image and are never offensive. One person’s negative opinion should not move the earth. There will always be naysayers so do what works for you and think about all of the positive feedback you have.

    • True Patricia….the naysayers always seem to be so much louder than the positives. =) or maybe that’s just years of working in the restaurant biz……=)

  • Hey Carrie, you smartass, you! I’m with the others ~ if the name fits YOU then run with it. Honestly, when I go to a blog, I might see the logline, but it doesn’t make or break whether or not I like the person. It’s the content of the blog (or book) that will draw me in, not your name or logling. Now, having said that, after Kristen’s class, I changed my domain name from nirvananotes to tamerietherton. Only because it made perfect sense to me that folks won’t know to search for nirvananotes. Mostly, I was hiding behind a cute moniker, but Kristen helped me see that I can’t hide. As for the log line, my husband and I thought of mine and I love it. It suits me perfectly and if someone was offended by it or hated me for it, then I would have to say that’s their issue, not mine. You won’t please everyone, so start with pleasing yourself and see who sticks around.

    • I agree with Kristen, but did keep both my domains of carriecspencer.com and smartassromance.com. It’s definite growing pains – and I’m trying not to be a MULE about it! =)

  • You can’t please everyone, Carrie….I say go with how YOU feel. There will always be someone out there to tell you you’re wrong, or who will be offended. Putting yourself out there means risking censure.

    Rock your Smartass!! (emphasis on ASS!) 😛

  • Linda:

    Actually, I don’t think you could’ve thought of a better term for your sassy writing style, Carrie!
    I’d never give up on your smartass moniker, it is too original to let go of. And for those who might feel offended—well, they probably have a fairly low tolerance for sarcasm and humor.

    • I won’t let it go Linda….=) there’s a part of me that’s smartass forever…..but I might have to go with 2 different versions of myself….a little schizophrenic assery…….=) still debating!

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