I’ve read lots of stuff about branding myself as an author to make myself instantly recognizeable to my readers. An author I met recently had branded herself through the font-type and uniqueness a certain letter in her name on the cover. She used the same “signature” on all her books. Other authos have used cover design. Still others have used the name of their books by doing a riff on the title.
It’s an important concept, both in the road to publication and in marketing after publication. Of course, we need to write a good book but it’s more than that. It’s a challenge to stand out on the book shelves today, especially since they are so few actual book shelves. So how do we catch the attention of a reader? And possibly catch the attention of an editor or agent if that’s the route we’re taking?
Forbes gave some good advice in an April 2018 article and the number one piece of advice was to know who you are and who you aren’t. This is one area I struggle with personally as an author. I write a little of everything. I’m published in contemporary and historical romance and YA. I also write erotica, romantic suspense, and have started a psychological thriller. At the moment I use two pen names. Am I supposed to create a different name for each genre? That’s a lot of people to manage. At the same time, I don’t want a reader looking for my contemporary romance to buy my psychological thriller if that’s not what they want to buy.
This last part rolls into several points the article makes about understanding your audience and how they perceive you. You never want to mislead a reader and while the reader should pay attention to the blurb, if your book titles are too generic, or if your titles and covers all look the same the reader is likely not to look too hard. We want our readers to buy “us” – we want them to recognize our names and trust that we right a good book. Once they’ve discovered me I want them rushing out to buy my entire backlist. But if they only want my romantic suspense, will they like my contemporary humor? It’s hard to say but I don’t want them disappointed regardless.
Like most things, publication and marketing are journeys. They aren’t meant to be straight lines necessarily so we have to adjust along the way as the map changes.