When we look at a book or consider buying a book, the first thing that strikes us is the Title or the Author, not usually the Publisher, let alone the Editor, who is more often than not unknown except for a mention in the acknowledgements. But could it be different? Kate Eltham wonders.
… is the author the only brand? Isn’t it possible, however unlikely, that some publishers could create an identity so strong and a community so vibrant that audiences seek out their books because they trust and like the people producing them?
and David Henley looks at the possibilities and suggests what authors and editors can do to promote their books better.
I think the long tail of the internet makes branding more and more important than ever. But not just for publishers, for authors, editors, designers, contributors and reviewers. The internet never forgets... unless someone actively deletes their content but few people ever do this. This is something I've been thinking about for a while and this is the place to share it to test whether I'm crazy or not. My partner and I speculate that books will take on similar aspects to films. Not everyone chooses a film because of who directs it or who the screenwriter was, but some of us do, and now with databases like IMDB we can easily find lists of films containing the actors we like, or directors and discover more things we might like to watch. I think books can be the same. Currently I don't get to know who edits each book, or acquires the rights, but if I did I might start to follow their work. Authors need not be the only brands. Publishers can establish a brand identity the way imprints used to. Most will have to start over as they've diluted any meaning they ever had. Now to tie back up with the review sites, and the desire to have every book ever be reviewed, the reason people want this is because they're writing books and nobody is hearing about them. Getting something reviewed is nigh on impossible for the little guys, but to get the ball rolling just imagine that every author has a blog, every editor has a blog, every producer has a blog etc, so when they are working on a project they tell the public about it. Links are created, discussion is begun. Add to this a circle of blogging beta-readers (pre-reviewers if you will) and by the time the book is released into the wild there is four or five independent sources of information about the book, all hopefully tied to an author hub site. Remember aswell what Jamie said, external links are important, so lots of different blogs interlinking is better than one site with internal links. Its a small start but better than nothing. And the game changer for the industry is that the sales window for ebooks and POD books is limitless, so you can play a long-strategy game rather than the current one of timing your efforts for impact in a 90-day opening while the books are on shelves.