Tag Archives: name recognition

What’s in a Name?

Branding is a word bandied about by marketing experts today. New authors looking to make their mark in the literary world worry about the image that will be attached to their name. J.K. Rowling chose to use initials to disguise her gender when she first began publishing the Harry Potter series. I had considered doing this very thing myself. Every reader attaches Stephen King to the horror genre, Danielle Steele to romance, Isaac Asimov to science fiction. But establishing a brand name for yourself can be a chess move that you have to live with after letting go of the piece.

I was delighted to hear Deborah Harkness talk about her decision to publish under her real name when she was at Bookmarks this year. If you didn’t know, Deborah is a New York Times bestselling author of Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night. She’s also a university professor, historian, and author of nonfiction with a highly respected wine blog.

When her boss at the university heard that she was releasing a vampire and witch novel, he had hoped she would do it under a pen name. But Harkness had invested a huge amount of time in researching 16th century Europe and the practices of the period. She’d also uncovered a real person connected to the world she was recreating in fiction and took license to fill in the holes of his missing past. With the extensive research and powerful discoveries, she was not about to hide behind a pseudonym simply because she chose to tell the story with witches and vampires. She’d worked hard and was proud of the result.

Her name is now aligned with fantasy writing, as well as her academic accomplishments. She giggled when she told the audience that she often meets other genre authors who chose to disguise their identities to protect their academic reputations. Standing in line at the bank she’s heard a few hushed voices admit to her back, “I write historical romance (science fiction/westerns/bodice rippers) under a pseudonym.”

And these authors were scientists, doctors, educators, and a host of other professionals.

Deborah Harkness had a reputation to preserve, but she took a chance and flew her genre colors proudly, at the risk of alienating the academic world she’d served for decades.

If you are a new author and trying to decide whether or not to publish under your real name, you can ask yourself many questions. Is there another author with the same name or one that sounds too similar? Will my readership grow if my gender is disguised? Do I want to publish in more than one genre simultaneously?

I deliberated some before publishing my first paranormal suspense under my real name. And after hearing Deborah’s story, I think you need only ask yourself one question.
Are you proud of your work?

If so, why wouldn’t you want your name aligned with that?

Sheila Englehart is the author of Warning Signs, published by Second Wind Publishing, as well blogging on all things paranormal at http://www.sheilaenglehart.wordpress.com

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Naysayers and Online Promotion

There are a lot of Naysayers out there who negate the value of Online Promotion.  Particularly with using social networks to create name recognition to sell their products—books. They tout other methods, proven methods formerly used in promoting books and authors. What I say to the Naysayers, is this:  TIMES CHANGE.  The basic methods of publicity/marketing remain the same but the focus of the methods has changed. To be successful you must CHANGE with the times.  Or get left behind

These days, a great deal of shopping is done online, including books, music, movies, clothes, house wares and appliances—even cars and houses.  Online is a HUGE mall and that’s the way you have to look at it. No it hasn’t replaced concrete stores, but that doesn’t reduce the validity of online sales, or online promotion.  Why?

Face it, we’re a techie generation and the technology is there, in ever-increasing numbers, to facilitate online selling and buying. Studies track how much time the average person spends online for things other than working. While I don’t have the figures at my fingertips, it’s a huge block of time.  Computers can do about anything a TV can—provide you with the latest news, music, TV shows, movies, and books.  Cell phones can hook you to your computer and access the Internet.  C’mon.  The Internet isn’t going anywhere unless some catastrophe happens to eliminate it. Naysayers have to get with the times. Which is why e-Books, Print on Demand or digital technology, and traditional published books in e-book format, aren’t going to go away, no matter how many opinions there are on what constitutes a “real” book. 

 If online sales weren’t valid, why is every paper catalogue put out have an online store?  Why are even major manufacturers providing an online presence and a venue to sell their products?  Everyone from attorneys to roofers sell their services on line.  Manufacturers from Beer to Xanax use known personalities to sell their products. These personalities and stars are known because of their activity in sports and on the silver screen—and known on the Internet. Why? Name and face recognition. 

 Hollywood sells their products online.  Their products are stars, producers, movies, and TV shows. The music industry is the same. Just about everyone who sells something has a website.  It’s real. It’s today, not yesterday. 

For instance, in Hollywood of old, anything that got the actors, producers, and the name of the movie or show, in the paper was publicity.  It was encouraged, it was “leaked”, it fabricated. Paparazzi are still everywhere with hopes of catching something to write about and sell on the citizens of the movie and TV industry.  But now, it’s not the papers that get it first, it’s the Internet and the publicity grinders make sure their people are on the internet. It’s the same method, different focus. Actors get known on the screen by the body of their work—if that was enough we wouldn’t see them in print or on the Internet.  Personalities sell products.  People want to get to know something about the actors not just the shows/movies they’re in. 

 If you’re an author and your product is good, you are going to sell it—if people know you have a product.  How are they going to know?  Today, it’s the Internet.  Authors have to have an Internet presence. Social networks (no doubt there will be other ways in the future) provide a way for the authors to become known and to build a readership base. If the author is a known presence, then readers will know who these authors are, may have even chatted with them online. Readers will know the books, the storylines, and release dates.  Consequently, authors will have better sales both online and where ever books are sold. 

 I’m not discounting the other avenues such as book signing events, speaking to book clubs, newspapers, radio, and TV, but, unless you have an existing platform for it, unless you already have name recognition, this may not increase your sales appreciably. Local, versus the World Wide Web. This is especially so given our present economic situation and the money spent to do this physically. The old ways vs. profits made? Getting known on the Internet can increase your sales. It’s free. Will it give you over night success?  Pfft, not usually, in fact rarely

 It takes time and work to garner success. It may not seem like you’re getting anywhere in the beginning, but this is a long-range goal. The amount of publicity also depends upon how you promote yourself as an author and it depends upon how soon you start with gaining name recognition on the Internet before your book is released. It takes a lot of focused time and work.  

 My thinking on it this is if you go to all the trouble and time to write a book what’s the point if you’re not going to take the time and work to sell it?  Or ignore the new ways to gain name and face recognition. 

 To the Naysayers, I again say, times change and either you change with the times or get left behind. 

Welcome to today.  

Sia McKye

 

I’m married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.

I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request.  I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry. 

Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee, http://siamckye.blogspot.com/  Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

 

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NAME RECOGNITION

Claire Collins is the author of  ‘Fate and Destiny’ and ‘Images of Betrayal’

 

The other day, I was a patient waiting patiently for the nurse to call my name. I grabbed the magazine closest to me on the waiting room table and perused the pages. The publication was an interior decorating magazine aimed at people who have six figures to spare. Each of the rooms was decorated with an abundance of top-dollar items designed by well-known names and firms in their circles.

 

I have no idea who they were. 

 

Obviously, I am not in that circle. On one cream colored wall was a framed drawing in a childlike scratch of x’s and o’s. My thought? How sweet, the wealthy homeowners framed artwork created by their child or grandchild.

 

Nope. The artwork, which looked exactly like something one of my kids would have rendered at the age of three, was some kind of a big deal by some famous artist.

 

I can’t remember his name and it really isn’t important to me, however it does make me want to give the kids a pack of crayons and some poster board and see if I can’t get rich selling their scribbles as art since that seems to be all the latest rage.

 

Books are similar. People will buy any book written by an author they have heard of, even if the book itself isn’t any good. There are forums across the internet devoted to authors who have created one good book, and a lot of mediocre books. Readers rave about how many they have read and the plot points of each, and if anyone disagrees with the fanatical ravings, then they are immediately quartered and drawn by the other members of the group.

 

Now, I am off to go find an artists page and let the fanatics there know that if they insist on adorning their walls with a particular style of impressionist artwork, I can get them quality originals for a fraction of the price. All I have to do is build the name recognition.

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