Name recognition. That’s what it’s really all about when you get right down to it. But when you ask a lot of authors what book promotion is about, many will answer “selling books.” Ok. That’s a fair answer, but not exactly accurate. Selling books is certainly the desired outcome, but the promotion itself should focus on gaining name recognition for the author. The more name recognition the author has, the more books that author will sell.
One of the most frequent recommendations is to hire a branding company, but not many authors are inclined to do that. But there are plenty of things you can do for yourself.
Here are a few tips for increasing name recognition:
- Think long-term when selecting a brand image and stick with your name or your company, not a particular title or series. There’ll be time enough for that later, but ideally it’s the author’s name that should be etched in readers’ memories so that any title or series associated with the author will be desirable.
- Develop all collateral and image materials (website, stationary, logo, taglines, business cards, postcards, newsletters, etc.) to coincide with your brand.
- Develop a memorable tagline that reflects who you are and what you write. Do not make it specific to one title or series.
- Make lists of different groups you’d like to reach in the coming year, then develop a timetable and calendar to systematically get your information to them.
- Regularly (quarterly is good) write and issue press releases to the media and to your website. Of course, you need to do something worth writing about and it should be something associated with your brand. For authors, it might be speaking to local writing group, hosting a contest to read and critique short stories, participating in local Citizen’s Police Academy events – anything related to writing and the brand the author is trying to establish.
- Regularly write articles for publication, including your brand information in your bio.
- Regularly write and pitch feature story ideas to media. Sometimes the best way to get your own foot in the door is by pitching others.
- Participate (attend, speak, host) in at least two national and local industry conferences a year.
- Create and issue an online or direct mail newsletter.
- Participate in and sponsor local charitable efforts. The local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start for a variety of opportunities. Post your calendar of appearances on your website – not just book signing events.
- Make sure your website includes informational materials formatted for strong results from search engines; and make sure there is in-depth material demonstrating your expertise, whatever it is, so that website browsers can easily find and read it.
- Update your website with informational content at least 2 – 4 times per month.
Building name recognition for an author is a slow and steady process, not something that can be done once every few months. Nor will a 2 week media blitz result in lasting recognition. To develop a career as an author takes consistent effort, but persistence, as in getting published, pays.