I've done a lot of posts about the craft of writing, but today I want to talk briefly about the business of writing. One element, in fact: branding.
Writers obsess about branding. People who write all kinds of different things worry about whether it is possible to brand themselves, or whether they should just pick one thing and stick to it so that branding will be easier. People who have only ever written one type of book but have that other far-out novel niggling at the back of their mind worry about whether they will ever be able to write that book about the 500-pound lobster that terrorized New Jersey, or whether they'll be stuck writing bubblegum and lollipops picture books forever because that's their "brand". It's something we talk about. A lot.
So, I'm curious about your opinions. Is it wise for an established writer to break from their "brand" and try to rebrand themselves? Is it better to "start over" by writing under a pen name? Or is that even harder - should writers stick to one brand, or rebrand half-way through?