Monday, February 21, 2011

Promote Yourself, Not Your Book

Elizabeth Craig Promo Photos 008One of the best bits of advice I picked up last week was this gem from the Gatekeepers Post: author publicity makes better sense than book publicity.

It’s something I think I’ve tried to do—promote my name(s) as opposed to individual titles—but I’ve never really thought about the why behind what I was doing.

As the article mentioned, books do have a fairly short shelf life in bookstores (online, obviously, longer.)

Also, titles and series change. Just as I’ve got you remembering that I’ve got a book out that’s titled Delicious and Suspicious, Finger Lickin’ Dead gets ready to launch.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve only got so much room in my head for titles. Especially if an author is particularly productive. I’ll definitely remember an author’s name and I’ll be able to recognize a book’s cover art. A title? Probably not.

So I put my name out there. It’s on Facebook, it’s on Twitter. It’s on my blog. And I have my covers right up there with me—they’re splashed on my Twitter background, are uploaded on Facebook, and are in my sidebar. I visit blogs and my name and comment stays behind to show I was there. And I try very hard not to talk about my book. I mean—it’s obvious I've written a book or two. If someone is interested, they’ll check them out.

Promoting a book can get obnoxious. There are many, many books that I feel have been over-promoted and overexposed by publishers, authors and PR people. It really lessens my desire to read the books. It’s a shame, because what I was usually interested in was the author. And the author obviously didn’t get it and shoved the book’s title down our collective throats, instead.

Which will ultimately be around the longest—us or a particular title? Unless we’re as unfortunate as Stieg Larsson, we’re the ones who’ll be out there writing long after the books are gathering dust.

The nice thing about promoting our name is that it also gives our books exposure. I’ve gone into the bookstore many times and asked for “the latest Elizabeth George” or “the new M.C. Beaton” or “the last release from Deborah Crombie.” I don’t even remember the title of the book I'm looking for. But I sure remember the authors.

I'm definitely promoting my next the short term. But my long-term strategy is basically author branding (although I do hate that term.)

Do you find that authors' names are easier to remember than their titles (if the books are regular releases and not a really hyped title…e.g. Da Vinci Code, etc.)?