Friday, July 29, 2016

Who Knows About Your Book? Understanding Name Recognition

"Hey, I just finished this great book. You should read..."

How many times have you heard this comment and followed that advice? If you are an avid reader, there is a pretty good chance this is how you discovered a new book and possible a new and exciting author to add to your "to be read" pile. Because we are living in a world without those wonderful bookstores we loved to spend countless hours and who knows how much money in, getting an author's book out there to the reader becomes even harder. This is especially hard for new authors. But there are things that can be done.

No, I am not going to talk about marketing strategies or pricing adjustments. I simply want to talk about getting your name out there. What we know from countless studies is that name recognition is one of the biggest driving forces for people when making decisions. We see this right now in the US elections. The goal of many of the candidates is to get their names out there. The more we see of a candidate, the more likely we are going to choose that candidate. The same goes for all of those signs we see around the neighborhoods.

Examine those signs carefully. You will notice a lot of ways the graphic artist has crafted the sign to make you think of something you already know. I remember a sign for a candidate up here in Washington, who used a similar red and white image such as that of the Coke logo. So what does this do? When that voter gets ready to complete his or her ballot, it is often down to name recognition. "Oh, I remember that person!" You might even believe that there was something your read or heard that made you like that person. The odds are, however, it was probably about the name.

For authors, getting your name out there as much as possible is key. The more we see your name on a book in a bookstore increases your chances for later sales. This is part of the reason so many publishers believe in that back to back release of titles. You just finished book 1 and when you head into the store next, there is that name. "Wow! I loved that author," you exclaim and buy the book.

But what about the reviews we fight so hard to get? Don't those count? Well, sort of! Sure, having a great review is always amazing. To be able to say you title is a 5-star review is great. But the sales are coming not so much from your review, but the fact that you (and hopefully your publisher) are out there on social media, canvasing the world with your name. The goal is always the same. The more we see your name, the more we start to believe you must be doing amazing things as an author.

Think about those goody bags from conferences. Everything from book marks, to hand sanitizing liquid fills those bags. The odds are, for many of you, the content written on those items is not what you focus in on. You just see that name, over and over and over again. Again, the same effect is taking place. You will remember that person's name next time you have to buy a book. It might happen as soon as you go into the conference book store or you head into a book signing for that free book. You will gravitate to the name you are familiar with.

This is one of the things that makes professional writing difficult. A lot of the time you were spending on your writing now needs to be devoted to finding a lot of ways to get your name out there to the readers. It might seem a pain in the you know what. but we know it works.

So, who knows you as an author? If very few do, then maybe you need to get out there and spread the news today!

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